Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. ("Tokio Marine & Nichido” hereafter) a leading insurance company with the longest history in Japan, and has taken on the challenge of delivering many innovations to provide safety and security to their customers. In recent years, in particular, they have been making extensive use of digital technology to take on the challenge of evolving into a presence that can “always support customers” through solutions such as risk reduction in advance, rather than just “supporting customers in times of need” through insurance.
Tokio Marine & Nichido Systems Co., Ltd. (“Tokio Marine & Nichido Systems'' hereafter) is a main player of the Tokio Marine Group’s IT and digital strategies, being responsible for system planning, design, development, operation and utilization support for Tokio Marine & Nichido and other group companies. Their Digital Innovation Dept, in particular, plays an important part as the leader of implementing the digital strategies for the entire group. Their main role is to develop and manage applications for individuals and business customers.
Mr. Naoya Matsuo, Senior Engineer of Tokio Marine & Nichido Systems’ Digital Innovation Dept, is responsible for supporting product owners, improving development and operation processes, and researching new technologies, among other functions. This dept was established in 2019 with mostly young members who were well-versed in advanced digital technologies and modern developments. However, as the number of applications for operation increased, the demand for enhancing the cross-functional DevOps operations soared, resulting in the start of the SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) team in 2020.
In 2021, when the improvement process started after setting up the new team structures, Mr. Matsuo began considering a process improvement of Agile development.
"At the Digital Innovation Dept, we have been implementing Agile to our application development process, and now develop new features in biweekly sprints. On the last day of each sprint, the product owner shares a review with all stakeholders, and the application will be released after 6 to 12 sprints, where improvements and functional expansions are made based on the earlier feedback. As a result of visualizing the entire process of application development to release with VSM (Value Stream Mapping), we found that the testing process was taking significant time and labor, resulting in a bottleneck to our ability to quickly offer value to our customers. At that time, test-driven development (TDD) was common practice with unit testing. However, no other testing, such as integration testing, had not yet been automated. I thought that by performing tests at the UI level during development, we could speed up the Inspect & Adapt cycle in Agile, shorten the update period in the development process, and thereby improve the speed of delivery to our customers."
In order to deliver the value to users as quickly as possible, Mr. Matsuo began considering a platform for automating tests that had been manually performed, such as integration tests and comprehensive tests.
Mr. Matsuo set three key criteria in his selection process for a scalable test automation solution. First, it needed to have an intuitive UI/UX that was easy for developers and QA people. Second, it had to be a scalable SaaS solution, so using the test automation platform wouldn’t become a burden to the team. Then, he considered long-term test maintainability, so that maintenance would not become an extra burden to developers in the long run.
"Among 3 criteria, an intuitive UI/UX and maintainability were the most important. In the Digital Innovation Dept, more than 10 teams are working on Agile development of functions. We are planning to add more teams in the future with the support of our partner companies. Above all else, we needed a testing solution that makes test-automation SaaS users (developers and QA teams) want to keep using it. After experimenting with multiple testing tools that met my 3 criteria, our developers and testers decided on mabl, which was rated as the easiest to use by our developers and testers."
At first, we asked the PoC implementation members to become the mabl evangelists in our dept. They conducted hands-on mabl workshops and acted as advisors on test creation. We also referred to GA technologies Case Study for test creation, and we started by automating simple UI tests while getting used to the tool itself. As of 2022, multiple teams are using mabl to develop web applications that would require continuous improvement for strengthening the point of customer contact such as B2B and B2C. Developers who actually use mabl have positive comments: “We can create tests intuitively", "the dashboard function is excellent", and "we can create mail continuity tests and tests with variable definitions, which is very convenient."
“In terms of project management, we used to manage test cases and test results in Excel, but mabl has a dashboard where you can quickly find results of the tests you made on mabl. The logs and screenshots of test runs are also stored, making it easy and very convenient to refer to past results. As projects become larger and we scale automated testing across the organization, these features will be even more useful. The time spent on QA and quality improvement will be reduced, allowing developers to focus on tasks that are more directly linked to creating value for our customers, such as delivering new features.”
Mr. Tsubasa Ayabe, who is in charge of Scrum Master and the QA initiatives at the company, is using the following approach to expand mabl use across the team:
“Through hands-on learning led by early mabl adopters, the number of mabl fans in the company is gradually increasing. It's easy to justify time spent building new features, but justifying those same hours on test automation is a difficult task, so we end up going through our normal PBI as the priority. In order to change the situation and make a better use of mabl for various development projects, advocacy within the organization is very important. We’re working on this with QA as a cross-functional team, who puts together how mabl should be used and gives advice to different development teams.”
How do you describe mabl in a short paragraph?
"Mabl acts as a compass in application development. As we add new features or modify codes for changes, the platform identifies issues when we go off the road (or the quality goes down) and puts us back on the right path earlier in the journey, helping us restart the journey in the right direction. "
It’s the only SaaS solution that tightly integrates automated end-to-end testing into the entire development lifecycle.