Opportunity Knocks: Test Environment Management Delivers Cost Savings and Long-Term ROI
October 15, 2018

Bob Davis

Test Environment Management (TEM) can save organizations close to $10,000 for each release, yet only four percent of large enterprises have fully integrated TEM processes into organizational DNA, according to the 2018 Test Environment Management Survey released by leading industry analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) in partnership with Plutora.

One of the most telling findings in the study is the scale of test environments in enterprises. There is an average of 188 test environments per enterprise, with the highest total count at 685, and the average spend to support test environments is $682,000 per year. Test environments of this number sprawl and become complex, which directly impacts the ability to manage them.

However, despite the scale at which enterprises are standing up and utilizing test environments, the adoption of tools to manage and maintain them is strikingly low. Nearly a quarter of respondents in the survey are not using a commercial TEM tool with two-thirds employing their own ad hoc TEM process. This has a significant impact because the study shows that when the maturity of commercial TEM tools is compared to that of in-house, non-commercial tools, the difference is unmistakable: commercial TEM tools are more advanced and in-house tool users lag in all the measurements of TEM maturity.

The study also shows that organizations already embracing TEM tools, and looking to mature, recognize the need to develop an even more automated and scalable approach to TEM. They also have a need to integrate the process with existing tools for development, testing and deployment in order to implement a more effective way to manage TEM activities. While those currently using in-house TEM tools are looking for automation, scalability and to transition away from the ad hoc TEM processes they are currently using.

Payback on TEM investment occurs immediately and across the entire application lifecycle

Whatever stage of maturity TEM tool integration is at in an organization, one of the key metrics to understand is the cost savings that can come from optimizing management and embracing the capabilities of commercial tools.

Through faster provisioning, reduced number and cost of test environments, and improved quality, organizations can save between $600 and $4,000 per test environment

Through faster provisioning, reduced number and cost of test environments, and improved quality, organizations can save between $600 and $4,000 per test environment and ultimately reduce the development and test time, saving close to $10,000 for each release.

No matter what the total of overall production releases is, the payback on TEM investment will occur almost immediately. Also, if these savings are viewed as cost avoidance, ROI will be realized in one or two months.

Additionally, the analysis finds that TEM technology users have not fully embraced the full range of capabilities that robust TEM tools provide. While users are seeing the benefits from many of the capabilities like the deployment of test environments and capacity planning, there is still opportunity for growth in adoption of other capabilities like verifying and maintaining the health of test environments and integrating with CI/CD tools.

"TEM is a technology that every enterprise should be using to the fullest,” said Stephen Hendrick, Research Director, EMA. "At the core of TEM there is no inefficiency. Environments are spun up exactly as they need to be. Developers and testers can be productive immediately. And ultimately, there is less developer time wasted making for less ambiguity and inconsistency when it comes to what is actually being developed and released. This is reinforced when we totaled up the cost savings, and confirmed our suspicions – using TEM tools can save the average enterprise over a million dollars a year. Organizations, and developers, would jump at the chance to reallocate this budget to projects that move the business forward and it is within their reach through the advancements of TEM tools.”

The research makes clear that if an organization isn't making the effort to embrace the advantages of commercial TEM tools, it's missing out. In today's software-driven environment, enterprises that address any existing inefficiency in its application lifecycle can gain competitive ground, but if it can realize the series of time-saving, effort-reducing and quality-enhancing elements that TEM tools provide, enormous benefits can be achieved. It's an easy lift with a huge payoff.

Bob Davis is CMO at Plutora
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