What happens when you have disparate systems? Those that don’t know how to talk to each other?
You need a translator. If you’re lucky, it’s an automaton. Sure, you need to build it, but it will do most of the work for you. But if your luck’s cup is not as full, then it’s a human translator.
We have two system – one for bug tacking, and the other for test management. Although they both reside on a Domino server, and both are custom built, they do not know how to communicate. So in order for the testers to create a test plan (i.e. which bugs to verify with which procedure they run), they have to do some Excel data crunching.
Today after going with the new process one of the test team leads proposed, I did some modification for the database, in order to save some of the output in there. But in order to remove the manual translation, it will take a lot more (changes to the new DBs, then more scripts).
Could this have been seen as a possible work flow years and years ago when we built the database? Maybe, but I doubt it. If and when we go forward with replacing the database with more current tools, we know there must be integration then.
But for now, we keep the human in the loop. The cost is not too big, but it still a cost. And less automation means more room for errors. One more opportunity for improvement.