Automation testing is the practice where you will be using dedicated software tools or scripts for automating the test executions. It is one of the most demanding quality assurance procedures in today’s industry. It consists of test scripts set to run automatically and complete the repetitive checks in a streamlined manner.
Manual efforts are reduced, and the efficiency in output is increased. The test coverage gets to improve, and human errors are reduced. Automation testing is considered faster than manual measures, allowing the QA teams to spend less time on the associated testing tasks.
Investing in automation testing directly impacts the overall ROI of the business. You save a lot on hiring a QA workforce when you automate the software testing aspects. Moreover, with testing automation scripts, the financial risks, such as running troubleshoots upon a faulty product release, will be eliminated.
Considering the amount spent on integrating automation testing parameters against the money saved on other aspects, the ROI is expected to be higher. And this is one of the biggest reasons why more companies are adopting automation testing in their development processes.
Companies are finding it easier to detect bugs or errors in software at the earliest stages of development possible. Thus, the cost is reduced, and your team will be spending fewer hours to fix any potential problems. The importance of testing automation in development is crucial as it increases the overall efficiency of the workforce.
Beyond the benefits, if ROI is the first point of consideration for you to implement automation testing, then let’s get detailed insight into it further in the article.
Automation Testing: An Overview
Automation testing is the development process that consists of specific tools for executing the pre-set test scripts against a select software. All of these tests handle operations that are usually too repetitive. There are multiple methods available for developers to test their code. Most of the time, these tests are often approached manually.
But, automation testing is now picking up the pace by promoting efficient output and increasing the ROI. Test automation differs in the process from that of the manual approach. It uses a tool with a specific system or process for conducting the tests by developers. As the tests are conducted in a completely autonomous or asynchronous fashion, the developers’ workflow is reduced.
To be clear, the developers use test automation for running a series of tasks against some pre-set assertions that are related to any possible trigger event, such as a change in source code. Using automation testing, the developers often intend to check the APIs and underlying framework of the software. And this is approached through unit tests.
Unit automation tests determine whether specific codes of the software are running as they are supposed to when isolated from the entire codebase. Similarly, there are a lot of other tests that can be automated, such as load testing, performance testing, regression testing, and others.
There are a lot of benefits associated with automation testing, but all of it might bring an added cost to the overall process. And there’s a strategic way to implement automation testing while looking after maintaining the ROI.
Understanding ROI in the Context of Automation Testing
ROI is a very crucial metric when it comes to calculating the investment efficiency in your organization. It applies to all aspects of running and managing an organization, and automation testing isn’t spared!
As the competitiveness in the market is very tight, companies are working on acquiring more by spending less money and time. And regarding software testing, you can attain this objective by adopting automation.
It is true that automation testing requires you to invest more in the initial stages, but the overall cost will reduce as the process advances. Test automation is mostly preferred for regression test cases, where huge data sets are to be handled.
While using automation testing, it becomes important for the developers or the company to calculate the focused ROI. The calculation of test automation ROI will help your business determine if your shift to a modern software testing approach is worth the value or not.
Think about the time it took to set up a test case using an automation tool and compare it with the manual measure. Now, compare the ROI obtained in both cases to see if things are profitable for you.
Companies consider automation testing as a one-time investment. Do you know why?
It is probably because test automation is 5x or faster than manual testing methods. So, if you are running automated test cases in your development cycle, be assured that it will take less effort and time to retest them in the following cycle.
Thus, automation testing is a one-time investment! But, the condition is, you must configure the process efficiently.
Evaluating the Impact of Automation Testing on ROI
For calculating the ROI of automation testing, you will first have to compare the costs and benefits of the process for your company over a specific period of time. Following that, you must express this calculation as a ratio or percentage. One of the easiest formulas to count your ROI is (Benefits-Costs)/Costs*100%.
Once you have added values to this formula, you will have your accurate ROI to see if test automation is benefitting you or not. Depending on the metrics and goals associated with your QA process, you can measure the costs and benefits of test automation in multiple ways.
Some of the things that you should take into consideration include the duration and number of test cases that one can execute or automate and the manual effort that is being saved. Apart from that, some of the metrics that you should take intoconsideration while calculating the test automation ROI are:
- The efficiency of testing the quality of a product.
- Proper cost analysis.
- Resource analysis.
Once you have your metrics in hand and have used the formula to calculate your ROI, you need to specify if it is the percentage that you expected. If your switch to test automation isn’t benefiting you as you expected, there are a few ways you can try to improve it. Below are a few recommended approaches you can implement to effectively boost the return on investment for test automation:
- Don’t get along with the mindset of automating all the tests. Few of the tests help you obtain the best results when they are handled manually. You should consider starting with some easy repetitive test cases rather than relying on complex or time-consuming ones.
- If you are handling an application that’s not stable yet, you prefer not to use test automation.
- If you are willing to test an application across multiple platforms or environments, then prefer using parallel testing. It will help save time in the completion of the process.
- Execute the smoke tests concurrently to complete the majority of the tests quickly, thus reducing the expenses associated with running them.
- The earlier you start your test automation process, the faster you uncover the results.
- Arrange the tasks in the right order of importance. For instance, you’re faced with five distinct test cases to automate.You should always run the one that’s of the highest priority. Picking any of the test cases at random might just affect the ROI.
Factors to Consider When Implementing Automation Testing
Once you have decided on the fact that automation testing is a successful and profitable strategy for your business, you can now finally decide on implementing it to its fullest potential. But, before stepping ahead and utilizing the full potential of automation testing, here are some of the factors that you should consider:
1. Test Cases You Need to Automate
If you have a lot of test cases that have huge data sets or prefer running across multiple environments, then automating them is a smarter decision. Following that, you should also look after identifying the important application features which might be interesting for the customers or are risky. With such specifications, the test automation concept can be more beneficial.
2. Pick the Best Automation Tool
One of the most tricky areas of test automation is to pick the best tool for the job. And this becomes a problem with the team because they lack the expertise to choose or use any specific automation tool. Moreover, most manual QA experts aren’t aware of efficient automation tools in the market. They often stick to the tool trending in the market without considering if it would go well with the company-specific tests.
To overcome this issue, you might have to host training sessions by professionals to educate your QA team to learn using automation tools. If not, you can suggest your team members reach out to the testing community and look for the best tools in the business. Even though almost all automation tools serve the purpose, some might not have the features you need.
So, when you are proficient in test automation and its tools, look out for options that have multi-tool features. While choosing the tool, you should also take note of your budget, but make sure you don’t compromise on quality for it.
3. Collaboration and Communication Among Team
Bring together your QA and developer team, and discuss your goal with test automation. The entire team should work in collaboration with the developers, automation testers, and other technical staff to demonstrate the ROI. It will help your team understand the importance of implementing test automation, which will eventually drive success for the project.
4. Finding the Right Testing Approach
One of the most important things for QA testers to consider while seeking automation testing is the specified approach. And for that, the testers need to know how they can reduce the overall cost of its implementation and maintenance. Following that, they should also specify if the automation tool can help them produce useful metrics and reports.
It becomes very important for you to plan out a test automation approach, especially when working in an Agile environment. When in an Agile environment, the application changes constantly, and the automation test scripts need to be implemented in a specific way such that the changes are recognized.
5. High Upfront Costs
Remember, adopting test automation will bring up some high upfront costs. The expenses involved in setting up test automation are a drawback for most small businesses. Therefore, ensure you have the right budget to integrate automation testing into your QA policies. Over time, your investment will yield greater profits, although the initial costs are obligatory.
Moreover, if you plan on using a paid tool for your test automation practices, you might also have to pay for the license. But, if you opt for an open-source tool, you will still have to bear the expenses associated with training and maintenance.
Risks and Challenges
So, if you have decided to adopt test automation with a strong ROI calculation in mind, get your team ready to embark on the approach. But before that, you should take note of some associated challenges or risks that you might come across:
- Network disconnection is a common challenge for the QA team with test automation, which deprives them of accessing third-party services or databases.
- The stability of the software or applications is difficult to attain, which might trigger issues in test automation processes.
- There are limitations to using simulators and emulators to run the automation tests. The testing should be done on real user conditions only.
- It takes undefined cost, effort, and time to introduce the test automation tool to your team members.
- Some of the test scripts or frameworks might be brittle or hard to maintain, which might reduce the overall ROI on test automation.
- Unorganized business processes might take a lot of time to generate positive ROI through test automation.
Automation testing is one of the leading procedures in the software world that almost all companies are adopting in this decade. But, there are a lot of things that go alongside implementing test automation, which adds impact upon the business investments. Therefore, the purpose of your team members should be to reduce the time, effort, and cost associated with implementing test automation. Hence, you will be able to secure a better ROI on it.
Collect the important business metrics, run the ROI calculation, and specify if your utilization of automation testing is on the right track. If not, follow the best practices to try and improve the same for saving money in the long run upon automation of the tests.
Mit Thakkar, Marketing Head at kiwiqa.io, offering Automation testing company. He drives the industry forward with his passion for excellence, crafting marketing strategies that effectively communicate the value of reliable software testing to businesses worldwide.