In the realm of agile software development, test automation has gone from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” for delivering quality software at velocity.
Despite most business leaders agreeing that automation expedites the testing process, minimizes risks, and expands the coverage, some are hesitant to allocate sufficient resources to test automation. This is partly because test automation is thought to be expensive to implement, and because business leaders often lack access to skilled and experienced test automation resources.
Even though test automation provides considerable advantages, persuading budget holders that the upfront investment in time, effort, and cost is worth it can be a daunting task.
In this blog, we’ll show how to effectively communicate the value of test automation to financially minded decision makers.
#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. Though they have embraced DevOps, software testing still continues to be one of the most manual-driven processes.
With high dependency on manual testing, QA teams are not only struggling to keep up with development pace but also struggling to address challenges like poor visibility, a lack of innovation, duplication of efforts and inability to scale on demand.
Learn more: Manual vs. Automated Testing
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 an organization takes to release new features, the less competitive it is in the global marketplace.
Time to market is highly dependent on testing efficiency. In traditional testing processes, testing is carried out as an end of development activity. Critical bugs that are found late in the development stage require an immense amount of rework, redesign, and rethinking of strategy. This adversely impacts the time to market.
Thus, 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.
Learn more: Why Test Automation is Critical to DevOps
#2 Business Case for Test Automation: Risk Coverage
Another business case for test automation is inadequate risk coverage. In manual testing approaches, there is no scientific way to identify risks. For example, in the case of regression testing, test engineers write smoke/regression test cases based purely on their experience, and as a result, they miss critical tests, resulting in unnecessary risk. This often leads to test coverage gaps. Inadequate testing can cause irreparable 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 wired to the wrong institution, resulting in 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 the 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.
Test automation addresses this challenge by recommending test cases that are more likely 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 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 as they say, time is money.
Learn more: Opkey's Test Automation Playbook
#3 Business Case for Test Automation: Return on Investment
ROI is the biggest business case for test automation.
How much time and cost can you save with automation?
This is the most pertinent question for budget holders. Automation helps your organization execute more critical tests 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.
Learn more: How to Save Money with Test Automation
Time saved is a simple metric to justify investment in automation because time is money. Automation testing 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.
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.