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Building a Business Case for Test Automation

July 12, 2022
   /   
by 
Sohaib Zaidi

Although some budget holders are hesitant to spend money on software testing, IT and application leaders agree that testing is vital to ensuring enterprise software works as intended, and that employees are making the most of their packaged applications.  According to a 2019 survey of CIOs about QA and testing, more than half of respondents listed software testing costs as the biggest challenge they face.

The survey further highlighted that overall testing costs are between 25% to 35% of typical IT project costs, indicating the need for a solution to help reduce testing costs without compromising software quality.  

Test automation has been proven to help reduce testing costs, while also reducing the risk of software failure. But while test automation offers significant benefits, convincing budget holders that test automation is worth the upfront time, effort, and cost, it can be challenging.  

In this blog, we’ll build a business case for test automation that will help generate support from your key budget holders.

#1 Business case for test automation: time to market

A growing number of enterprises have been utilizing Agile and DevOps methods of software development to keep pace with constantly evolving business requirements, brought about by changing market dynamics, competitive pressures, and business turbulence. 

However, a recent Gitlab DevSecOps 2021 Survey found that testing is the biggest bottleneck to achieving these Agile goals, as slow, manual testing processes cause missed deadlines and cost overruns. This is problematic because the longer your organization takes to release new features, the less competitive you are in the global marketplace.  

Time to market is highly dependent on testing efficiency. With traditional testing processes, testing is carried out as an end of development activity. But critical bugs found late in the development stage require an immense amount of rework, redesign, and rethinking of strategy. This adversely impacts the time to market.

Enterprises need to incorporate continuous testing to enable DevOps, and to do so, they must utilize automated testing. Therefore, enterprises using DevOps & Agile methodologies of software development are ideal business cases for test automation.

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How to measure the business value of test automation

#2 Business case for test automation: risk coverage

Another business case for test automation is inadequate risk coverage. There is no denying that inadequate testing can lead to software failures that can cause irrecoverable damage to your business. 

One of the most well-known software failures was Citibank’s $900 million mistake, which happened during their migration from Oracle's Flexcube system to Finastra's Loan IQ. The failure resulted in funds incorrectly being wired to the wrong institution, causing Citibank spending millions on litigation fees.  

Aside from well-known software failures, fixing common defects after a release is exponentially more costly than catching them earlier on. According to IBM System Science Institute, it is 15x costlier to fix defects in the later stage of the software development cycle than in the design phase. One of the biggest drawbacks of manual testing is that QA teams are not sure about the minimum number of test scripts needed to be run in regression testing. Often, test engineers write smoke/regression test cases based purely on their experience, and as a result, they miss critical tests, resulting in unnecessary risk.

Test automation addresses this challenge by recommending test cases that are more prone to fail. Test automation tools like Opkey leverage model-based testing and machine learning algorithms that consider a greater number of parameters than are humanly possible with manual testing and recommend tests with great precision. This helps project teams to optimize test execution by focusing on tests that matter, rather than the entire regression test suite. This saves teams an immense amount of time, and they say, time is money. 

#3 Business case for test automation: return on investment

ROI is the biggest business case for test automation. Ask yourself: how much time and cost can you save with automation? This is the most pertinent question for budget holders. Simply put, automation helps your organization execute more critical tests, and in less time. As enterprises have embraced Agile and DevOps to deploy new software releases—often multiple times a day–they must execute regression tests more and more frequently. Test automation helps create a tighter feedback loop between the development of code and testing, significantly reducing the time it takes to resolve bugs.

Read more: DevOps and Test Automation

Time saved is a simple metric to justify investment in automation because, once again, time is money. Test automation eliminates labor-intensive, time-consuming, repetitive tasks that are needed for regression testing. When organizations spend less time testing, they can move on to higher-value tasks. 

Conclusion

Enterprises that want to keep pace with digital transformation initiatives need to understand the importance of test automation. Speed, risk coverage, and cost are the most pertinent business cases for test automation. IT leaders and business owners should consider test automation a long-term investment that saves money, and time, while reducing business risk.   

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