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Maximizing ROI through test automation

ROI

There are many considerations which business must take into account when looking at software test automation. Automation changes the entire test environment, from design to deployment. While by reputation of performance, test automation provides substantial benefit that earns a growing enthusiasm within industries, the decision to transition into automated performance substantially impacts the organization in several ways.

Test Automation has consistently been lauded for the increase in ROI it provides to enterprise. Upfront costs for installation and modifications is assuredly offset by the speed, ease, and accuracy of the automated process. The increased appreciation of risk-based approaches to industry requires heightened precision in regulating and monitoring executions within computer systems. By association automated testing heightens the executions of tests to evaluate and monitor the activities of computer systems.

Effective risk-based testing is automated. Automation provides practical guidance towards defining:

  • Testing strategies
  • The scope of testing
  • The test plan
  • Recorded results
  • The scope of reporting

From an enterprise perspective that filters throughout all organizational concerns, the purpose of QA testing is to mitigate risk for an increase in ROI, making the mitigation of risk the overriding goal of testing and test automation. Benchmarking, selection of process and tools, assessments, monitoring and control of processes, are QA concerns, the solutions to which test automation provides with augmented outcomes. Automated test management defines and delineates associated risks, provides solutions, and flexibly allows for test design modifications in respect to unique features or systems. Analytical instrumentation, Cloud computing packages, process controls, infrastructures, IT system configurations, and end user interfaces are all well-managed within the realm of automated test management.

The primary questions for business management and stakeholders who are considering test automation are, “How do we know whether test automation will cover our testing needs?”, and “How can we be certain that automating our test procedures will increase ROI?”

The answers to these questions come through researching the benefits and attributes of test automation, as well as by comparing manual testing to automated testing in respect to business needs, priorities, and strategic goals. Obtaining expert guidance in validating test automation tools, and implementing research models to calculate ROI, can provide and interpret information towards automated solutions. 

Suitability for Testing

Manual

Automated

Helping the development effort with smoke tests and unit tests

 

 

••

Functional testing

••

••

Structural testing

••

Automation of test input generation

o

••

Installation and configuration testing

••

Regression testing

••

••

Hardware testing (e.g., weigh balance interfaces)

••

o

Load and performance testing

o

••

Testing for race conditions

o

••

Endurance/longevity testing

o

••

Key:             •• suitable      • possibly suitable        o not suitable     

Manual vs. automated testing suitibility 

Image source: The Official Magazine of ISPE

 

Test management tools expedite the creation of test cases and test scripts. Enterprise requirements introduced into testing procedures can be managed through automated test management. Test execution is highly facilitated by test automation. Test automation tools also support the development, execution, and recording of test scripts.

How to calculate ROI

Image Source: Elisabeth Bitsch-Christensen

 

Calculating ROI for Test Automation

Committing to automated test management to expedite QA software testing is a significant decision. Business management that has been capably guided through the decision process find automation to be the way to release applications. The best way to determine the degree of ROI rendered through automated test management is to calculate the process and outcomes for cost efficiency. Calculations normally include:

  • Initial costs
  • Setup costs
  • Investment into building the structure
  • Training investment
  • Investment into talent acquisition
  • Gains in recording test results
  • Efficiency in risk management
  • Applied evaluation of regulatory compliance
  • Extent and degree of coverage

Estimating the composite anticipated gains or losses of automating testing encompasses many factors. One basis could be a comparison between the life cycle efforts and outcomes of installing, maintaining, implementing, and forecasting with automated testing and the life cycle efforts and outcomes of manual testing.

Of course, calculations would need to be accurate for a valid comparison. Hence ROI calculation models. The supporting factor of risk mitigation regarding ROI takes a deep dive into detailed analysis by calculating the stability of ROI efficiency and ROI risk reduction separately using ROI as the standard. Detailing the principles of ROI calculation is useful in assessing how well different models meet organizational and testing needs.

Principles of Efficiency ROI Calculation

ROI is formulated to pit investment against gain. The ROI formula consequently measures the amount of gain less the amount of investment, then divides results by the amount of investment. Continuously following the ROI standard allows for detailing the gain and investment. The composite of the details, tested by the ROI metric, yields a high percentage of accuracy as to the increase in ROI.

The continuous flow of test automation by speed, accuracy, and dynamics overtime, significantly increases ROI. Automation consistently and cumulatively offsets upfront cost with smooth testing operations that allow flexible filtering of testing needs.

The continuous 24-hour timeline for automated testing necessitates that the testing lifecycle be measured in terms of days, while manual testing recurs in 8 hours-per-day increments. The sustained execution of modulated testing daily over a 24-hour period greatly increases the rate at which test results are delivered. Continuous testing immediately catches application and system bugs, prohibiting the causal defects within software and system applications. Inaccuracies in testing reduce the value of the test procedure and the product.

As test cases become multiple the testing time/production ratio increases investment returns. Performing finite calculations based on the ROI formulates conclusions as to projected ROI increases through test automation.

Detailed factors related to accuracy and stability in testing performance substantiate a dynamically scalable test environment. Determining organizational needs is the key to best formatting test the environment and designing frameworks that comply and conform to business needs.

Principles of Risk Reduction ROI Calculation

Rather than adhere to a central standard, as in ROI efficiency calculations, risk reduction calculates each benefit of automation separately. Beyond the investment vs. gain basis of efficiency calculations, benefits in risk reduction contribute to:

  • Talent resources freed for analysis and production
  • Innovation and test design
  • Expanded test screening

Once designed, 24-hour test automation continuously functions as an automated evaluation, thereby freeing QA talent to expand and augment test coverage and design. Freeing of time from manual testing allows for concentration that furthers test solutions. The result is a scalable expanded test environment that delivers on efficiency and capacity.

Test automation in addition mitigates loss through accuracy. When the functionality of releases is compromised by inefficiencies in testing, consumer demand for the product is reduced. As a result, risk increases with the reduced consumer demand for the product. It is difficult for a company to pull its brand out of a decline in consumer confidence.

Well-calculated Efficiency ROI/Risk Reduction ROI, analyzed by strategic enterprise initiatives, projects the overall changes to ROI, in time and capacity, affected by automated testing. Variables such as resources, talent, and design, determine the how and when to implement desired change.

Accuracy, flexibility, scalability, and capacity, as well as reduced execution costs, are the fundamentals of automated test management. ROI calculations provide an upfront approximation of how automated change impacts:

  • Upfront costs/Reduced execution costs
  • Test designs to meet project needs
  • Requirements to determine testing tools
  • The need for advanced talent

Foregoing upfront ROI calculations can leave businesses with an incomplete assessment of costs, comparisons, and strategies for automation. Alternatives to projected methods, or add-ons, may be overlooked without beforehand calculated analysis.

Guidance and information are the pre-requisites to assessing enterprise needs for test automation. Questions derived and answered by analysis are key to determining the automated tools and design that best fit your organizational needs:

  • What are the costs of each tool in respect to business priorities?
  • What types of test requirements work well with test automation?
  • Which tool for which type of requirement?
  • What are available resources?
  • How well does staff knowhow match the skills necessary to perform automated testing?
  • What are the resources for necessary training?
  • How will automating impact deployment?

Understanding the degree to which automation will leverage testing efficiency within budgeted resources significantly smooths out the transition to automation. As ROI increases, the flexibly scalable automation platform accommodates needed expansion. Automated testing is built to enhance regulatory compliance, defect detection, support for development, and to stabilize software security needs. Environmental test design can be used as a basis to support additional automated testing and innovations.

Decision Making

In today’s competitive market where production agility adheres to market fluctuations for customer engagement, automated test management standardizes results. Attention to how automation tools interface and interact to produce test results can provide the basics for test expansion and creativity.

Realistic expectations and insight into what benefits automated testing can contribute to organizational needs as a prime step in determining a pathway towards automation. How to maximize gain to increasingly incorporate investment into ROI through test management in testing that best upholds returns is the challenge automated testing can provide solutions.

Intangible costs are difficult. Hence upfront calculations. Some intangible factors which may affect decision making on how to initiate automated testing are:

  • The cost of talented manpower is difficult to quantify
  • The effect of automation on improving test management
  • The degree to which test expansion improves ROI and decreases risk
  • Apart from testing efficiency, the changes in test quality
  • The value of changes in test coverage

Often the general awareness of automated test benefits is influenced by media, articles and books, conferences, and exhibitions. While much of the information is valid, and applies to testing needs, there are some tendencies towards minimizing considerations and circumstances that figure into the transition. Smooth transitions are rooted in application analysis

Test automation facilitates solutions. Test management administers the solutions. Automated testing creates a professional test environment that fosters improved staff performance. Standards within the testing platform strengthen the professional resolve of testers while it stabilizes adherence to goals and objectives.

Source data is one factor the validity and accuracy of which automated testing standards require for substantiated results. Insubstantial metrics, unexplored benefits, unknown influences, and inaccurate calculations will produce inaccurate results. As well the values to be addressed within the testing process must be detailed and specified.

Ultimately test automation is designed and purposed to maximize ROI. The effects of intangible factors and factors unique to organizational needs and requirements, must be applied to tailor an automation that meets enterprise needs.