Mercury Interactive has introduced Mercury Business Process Testing In an effort to reduce the cycle time between application design and production. The application will be part of the Mercury Quality Center suite of applications.

According to Mathew Morgan, director of products for Quality Center Automation at Mercury, the new component is the first to allow business users to be involved in the testing of automated business processes for new applications, as well as testing for quality assurance for upgrades and patches.

"This is the first time that business people are active participants in validating that the software will work as they want it to work," said Morgan.

The software works by letting the users of the software enter data in order to ensure the process is doing what it is supposed to be doing. Mercury said that it avoided the problem that such users had no CLI knowldge by introducing pre-packaged building blocks that can be exposed in terms of drag-and-drop elements to create screens.

"It has a natural language abstraction layer, so users can declare pretty much what they want," said Morgan.

Analyst Theresa Lanowitz, research director at Gartner, said it was important that business users no longer had to wait for a GUI to be put in before they can do thorough testing.

"That was always a problem because the GUI was the last thing to be done," she added.

Lanowitz also said the Business Processing Testing component would also allow users to create reusable assets to give off to other people who are involved in the life cycle testing.

Mercury Business Process Testing is shipping now.