From 3 weeks to 3 hours of non-regression tests at AB Cube


Founded in 2006 in France, AB Cube has been one of the pioneers of SaaS in providing the international healthcare industry with SafetyEasy® Suite , a vigilance software solution for management of adverse events.

AB Cube fulfills vigilance requirements of every scale and scope, from research centers to prominent pharmaceutical leaders and emerging biotechnology firms. AB Cube provides multivigilance solutions tailored to the Healthcare actors involved in patient safety management.

To address the challenges of international safety regulations including combination product reporting, SafetyEasy® Suite offers a wide range of dedicated solutions like pharmacovigilance, medical device safety, biovigilance, nutrivigilance and cosmetovigilance.

With over 400 databases installed worldwide and more than 3000 unique users, our clients include a diverse range of organizations from academia to CROs to pharmaceutical companies, from France to US to India. AB Cube designed a client-oriented application to be adaptative to regulatory evolutions or the clients’ needs.

AB CUBE differentiates itself by offering its customers a pre-validated solution to reduce their validation effort. Validation documentation is updated with the deployment of each release.

Key figures

  • 3-month project
  • 3 weeks to 3 hours of validation
  • 0 to 210 automated tests

The need to move away from manual execution of non-regression tests

The Validation Department, under the responsibility of Ms Atika MAHFOUDI , is in charge of carrying out the Verification and Validation activities for each new release deployed, at the rate of two or three releases per year.

These validation activities are composed, firstly, of tests designed for the changes brought with the release and, Secondly, of non-regression tests covering the entire application: new or existing functionalities.

In such a highly regulated environment, these validation activities need to be robust and based on consolidated documentation. This brings a considerable burden to each release, especially as there are 2 to 3 per year.

The initial manual approach directly impacted the process of releasing new enhancements to the customers:

  • The execution cycle for the non-regression tests required 2 to 3 weeks.
  • The process was time-consuming, resource-intensive and subject to possible errors.

In addition, AB CUBE wanted to follow the recommendations of GAMP ®5-Edition 2 by introducing automated testing to improve its validation process as a software vendor.

All these factors were decisive in AB CUBE’s decision to invest in an automated approach to non-regression testing.

Requirements definition and solution selection

The team in place, led by Atika MAHFOUDI, was essentially made up of manual testers with functional skills. They were hence  unfamiliar with the technical aspects of test automation.

AB CUBE therefore searched the market for solutions that would  :

  • Enable Test automation by functional profiles
  • Provide support for the automation process
  • Enable replicability and extension of the model to other applications or other environments.

Cerberus Testing was one of the shortlisted solutions in the initial selection thanks to its web interface facilitating collaboration and automation, its support for different types of testing (web, mobile, APIs, etc.) and its focus on functional and integration testing.

The evaluation phase resulted in the selection of Cerberus Testing as the non-regression test automation solution to be deployed in AB CUBE’s  validation team.

The non-regression automation approach for NRT campaigns

The team began the test automation process in mid-July, in the middle of the summer, focusing on an application with a non-regression test execution cycle of 2 to 3 weeks, and around ten comprehensive test scripts.

The first steps with the solution were rapid, with the use of a dedicated SaaS instance and initial training adapted to the audience and its first use cases, and followed by regular check-ups during the first few weeks.

This initial support facilitated the manual testers’ transition to automation by developing their new skills on real-life cases and in a real software development environment.

Figure 1: First iterations improve robustness

This adoption phase enabled to reach a first level of maturity, with a stable campaign of 140 automated tests running every day, which the team could trust to detect potential non-regressions.

The team then rapidly extended the test campaign thanks to Cerberus Testing’s strengths such as its modular approach to test blocks, decoupling of data into properties, and good organization by use-cases via tags.

Reaching the next milestone boosted the campaign to over 210 tests, also run every day, thanks to a sound investment in test design and the use of Cerberus Testing’s native alerting mechanisms.

A controlled application and smooth delivery

AB CUBE achieved concrete results in less than 3 months, with a process that began in mid-July in the middle of the vacation period and ended at the end of September with significant gains in its delivery process.

The once slow and tedious solution delivery cycles have now given way to a smooth non-regression testing  process executed in less than 3 hours, which can be carried out on demand upon patch delivery.

Figure 2: The 2 stages of automation with 1) stability and 2) growth

The contributions are also tangible at the level of the validation team:

  • can now focus on more value-added tasks than repetitive manual testing
  • was able to develop long-term automation skills.

The company is also more efficient through automation, and is considering extending the benefits of its investment by replicating these automated tests:

  • on the Test environment (hosting Test instances of the target application’s customers). AB CUBE’s long-term objective is to offer its customers a service for executing automated tests on their own instances.
  • on other applications, while increasing customer satisfaction.

More than just a tool, value-added collaboration

Between several options, AB CUBE first considered Cerberus Testing for its open model with an affordable offering and extensibility to other use cases than the web for mobile, APIs, streaming, data or fat client testing.

The team, initially reluctant to start automating, quickly adopted Cerberus Testing via training sessions targeted to their needs and facilitated by the web interface and visual test management aids.

It was then the support and responsiveness of the Cerberus Testing team that made the difference, sharing methodology and processes, and enabling rapid deployment of use cases, and motivated AB CUBE to formalize a collaboration.

“The responsiveness of the Cerberus Testing teams for support, questions and additional features made all the difference, I give it a 10/10.”

—Atika MAHFOUDI, Head of Quality & Validation at AB CUBE

The Cerberus Testing platform also enabled seamless integration into the AB CUBE working ecosystem via standard CI/CD connectors, alerts via chat or email channels, and a shareable web interface.

With the help of Cerberus, AB CUBE has also set up a specific function for generating reports on the execution of an automatic test campaign.

More than just a tool, AB CUBE now has a replicable methodology for accelerating software delivery cycles and better allocation of team time through automation, with little maintenance effort.

With clear objectives, an iterative approach, and a structured investment in its automation process, AB CUBE shows us that it is possible to make test automation a real ally for the whole team and for customers.

Start your own non-regression testing journey.  

From 3 weeks to 3 hours of non-regression tests at AB Cube
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