Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography, worldwide pioneer in the medical sector, relies on strategically well-designed test automation, including coding guidelines for projects involving multiple technologies. Test automation with Ranorex is one of the testing methods that the Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography division relies on to ensure that its products – among the leading devices in the computed tomography market – operate according to the needs of healthcare professionals. Using Ranorex, new test cases can be implemented more effectively resulting in a reduction in test execution times.
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Customer Profile

Industry: Healthcare – Medical Imaging – Computed Tomography

Siemens Healthcare is a leader in medical imaging technologies like computed tomography, and is one of the world’s largest healthcare technology suppliers.

Siemens has been developing groundbreaking computed tomography products and services for decades; the company is known as the innovation leader: innovating to optimize clinical outcomes, and to contribute to patient’ wellbeing by minimizing radiation exposure and contrast media dosage. The aim is improving quality of life.

For more information, please visit the Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography website.
As the world’s population grows and ages, more and more people are struggling to lead a healthy, high-quality life far into old age. Siemens Healthcare is an industry leader in providing medical technologies that deliver better quality healthcare.

Relatedly, it is important that the software used is tested regularly. To ensure consistently high quality software, Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography makes use of development-driven tests with rapid feedback. They execute Ranorex tests in addition to unit testing hand in hand with their development activities. Efficient test automation is therefore essential.

A Test Software Development Lead and Test Architect have been given the responsibility for Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography’s most recent large test automation projects. The Test Software Development Lead is the product owner of the established test automation framework, which integrates Ranorex into the tool and process landscape (e.g. test management). The lead also defines how different artifacts must be used in the test solution (e.g. modules, utilities, etc.) and specifies the test design and the coding guidelines. The Test Architect is responsible for all of the testing architecture and strategy, and this person also defines the guidelines for automated and manual tests, identifying the critical areas where tests are most worthwhile.
In terms of test automation, factors like execution time and robustness are important for Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography. Expensive computer tomography devices as well as a large number of tests require an efficient use of time; this means manual tests in the daytime and automated tests at night and on the weekend. Tests thus have to be executed quickly due to the limited availability of the devices used. Tests with a high rate of repetition like regression tests and performance tests are likewise automated in order to achieve maximum test efficiency.

Moreover, the company emphasizes stability tests – as part of the test strategy – in order to avoid sporadic faults that could lead to downtime.

Technologies Used

Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography has made use of the following technologies for the company's various software product lines (SPL):

Challenges

Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography already has extensive experience in test automation – they've been using automated test frameworks since 2000.

There was one overriding reason that Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography decided to evaluate new desktop test automation tools: execution time has to be reduced for future test automation projects. They expected robust object recognition in their new tool along with an accelerated testing process. Additionally, their UI technology changed to WPF.

A favorable learning curve, robust test automation, reduction in maintenance effort, multi-technology support, updates and improvements in terms of usability and new extensions on a regular basis were factors influencing the investment into a new tool.

They started their evaluation with four tools and ended up implementing the same test cases with the two finalists: Ranorex and another option. The test focused on implementation, performance, adaptive changes (maintenance aspects), robustness and execution speed. Usability, open test automation APIs, technology support and the capability for integration with the Microsoft Team Foundation Server landscape were additional deciding factors in their long-term test automation strategy.

Solution

The computed tomography division selected Ranorex as the most suitable tool as it best meets the company’s needs. Ranorex is now being used in various Siemens Healthcare projects globally.

They found out about Ranorex as it was awarded best automation tool by ATI in the US – that's what initially peeked the company's interest. A good pricing model also played an important role when it came to deciding on a test automation tool.

Great support and cooperation, including collaboration on the development of individualized solutions for test design and architecture as well as review workshops have been very useful for Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography. Helping them to get started quickly with the test automation software was all in a days work for the Ranorex team. The scalability of Ranorex software, integration with Microsoft Visual Studio and RanoreXPath along with reliability and flexibility in addressing controls made Ranorex very attractive for the Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography testing team.

How Ranorex Helped

Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography executes tests using real CT scanners as well as suitable simulators. It is ideal that the SUT usually need not be changed for a test, or if so only minimally (copying some Ranorex DLLs into the appropriate bin directory). The set of tests adds up to total test duration of x weeks (sequential total value) and a reduction in test duration by 10% even means that a computed tomography scanner has been freed up in the test lab.

In one of the latest projects, automated UI tests are being implemented as part of the development process. With the help of Ranorex, tests are run automatically at night because the tomography equipment is needed for manual testing during the day. Ranorex tests are integrated into the build environment and act as a gate for check-ins on the integration branch. Smoke tests in build gates have to run fast in order to avoid unnecessary delays in the build. 

The company needed about three months to prepare a framework around Ranorex in one of their most recent larger projects, excluding business logic and test runs (see table below). About two months were needed to set up the repositories. The modern modularization approach followed by Ranorex makes it possible to work on test automation steps, create flexible Ranorex code modules and then share them globally among testing teams. For example, one test team is situated in Forchheim (Germany) and is supported by a test team in Shanghai (China). Many modules and test automation steps were put together from a library used for workflows, including workflows used in other departments.
Setting of rules and framework conditions as well as the implementation of custom controls and interfaces in the test management system is the most complex part of implementing the test automation framework.
 
The storing of Ranorex artifacts (test cases, test results) as .xml files simplifies the workflow. Test case creation guidelines defined by the Test Architect are used for the setup and creation of test solutions.

Those responsible for the test automation projects recommended Ranorex because the testing team already had such positive experience in working with Ranorex Studio. The main critical success factor was fulfilled: a large number of tests can be run quickly with the existing computed tomography devices in order to reduce the total number of the expensive SUTs.

For individual tests, the test team reports a more than 40% savings in execution times, in part achieved through better test design and in part through faster runtimes made possible with Ranorex.
"In total the test execution times of the test automation projects were significantly improved. In conjunction with a new test case design, ease of use, the functionality of the software and C# as the standard programming language, new test cases can now be implemented more effectively than with the old software. The results up to now indicate that only 60% of the time is needed for execution with Ranorex robust tests compared to the previously used automation tool."

Test Software Development Lead at Siemens Healthcare Computed Tomography

For companies that have to handle large test automation projects (see table below) the company suggests four important to-dos:

  • Take the time to ensure that a strategy is in place.
  • Set rules for the framework and define test case design guidelines so that every test developer as well as other professionals unfamiliar with test automation can easily understand the structure.
  • Emphasize quality in test development through reviews of the test solution code.
  • Run tests on the target system before releasing a new version of the software.

Test Automation Projects Overview
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