Cost Benefits of Test Automation

Why automate testing and how much will automation cost? This is a question many organizations find themselves asking and it’s certainly a question asked by upper management when evaluating the investment of time and expense required when implementing an automated testing process. Having a realistic goal and end state, understanding what automation can and can’t do, and setting realistic expectations are key elements to justifying an automation project. The first step to understanding the cost benefit of test automation is to understand what automation can and can’t do for your organization and when to leverage automated testing versus manual testing.

Setting Realistic Expectations

What most organizations considering Test Automation don’t understand is that it does not completely eliminate the need for resources or manual testing, specifically in the area of Functional Testing. Knowing what Test Automation can and can’t do and calibrating expectations accordingly is critical for evaluating the scope and timing of an automation implementation and then determining the cost benefits.

Automaton won’t:

  • Eliminate the need for resources – A common misunderstanding is that Test Automation completely eliminates the need for people in the testing process. While this may be true for the actual execution of a test, people are still required to review results and troubleshoot issues raised during an automated run. The result is a reduced need for people, but still resources will be needed. Additionally, a core team of skilled automation experts will be needed to script the initial automated tests and then update and maintain them on an ongoing basis.
  • Provide complete test coverage across all areas of the organization – Not all processes are automatable, especially fully end-to-end processes involving batch cycles. A good automation engineer can string a fairly large process area together to run without intervention; however there is still some validation that would require human intervention.
  • Offer immediate payback – Good automation does not happen in the click of a button. It takes time for an automation engineer to work with testers and subject matter experts to fully develop a suite of test cases. As well, it isn’t until after a product goes live and is relatively stable that the automation suite can be leveraged.
  • Remove ramp up time –There is a great deal of preparation required to develop solid reusable test scripts. Once done, scripts can be re-used over and over again until system changes or upgrades occur making them obsolete or in need of updating.

Automation will:

  • Allow for after hours and 24/7 testing – Automated scripts can run while your resources are off duty and if any of your resources are hourly, this means that you do not have to pay overtime when in a time crunch.
  • Speed up the test execution process – Automation can enhance your project timeline in a few ways; one is that while your resources are working on one thing, automation is running simultaneously. Another way is that an automation tool runs much faster than a human can!
  • Provide reusable test scripts – Once scripted, a test case can be used over and over again.
  • Give reliable and predictable results – Without the element of human error, test results are more consistent and fewer issues that end up being user error arise.
  • Reduce the need for large test teams – Manual testing takes a lot of hands and automation removes the need for so many just to do the execution.  Additionally, you can leverage automation to regression test existing systems while resources are working manually on new projects and testing meaning you can cover more with fewer people.
  • Guarantee better quality software – Because you can run automated scripts quickly and repeatedly, you can test your software more often and more consistently giving you reliable software.

Understanding Cost Benefits

After considering what automation will and won’t do, an organization can realistically look at where the cost advantages will be found and when they are likely to start reaping the benefits. Payback from automation is usually in the next project or thereafter, so the cost benefits of test automation are for the long-term.

To read more about how SQA Solution can help implement automation in your organization or perform and a Test Automation ROI analysis, read more about our automation services or Request a quote from us today!

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