Companies are releasing much more frequent application updates due to evolving business requirements, constant competitive pressures, and a rapidly changing regulatory landscape. To ensure these near-constant releases are successful, testing teams are embracing Agile and DevOps methods of software development. But according to the Gitlab DevSecOps 2021 Survey, manual testing was considered the biggest hurdle to achieving a successful DevOps process. And as the traditional QA delivery approach has failed to meet the complexities of current testing requirements, enterprises are starting to embrace test automation.
Of course, establishing and maintaining a robust test automation program is an investment, both in terms of time and money. Without a compelling business case that clearly highlights ROI, getting funding for this type of project can be challenging.
Here are some things to consider when building a business case for test automation.
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Understanding the true costs of testing
Regression testing time & costs: If you’re an Oracle Cloud ERP customer, you must perform regression testing at least 8X a year, twice with each quarterly release. Similarly, major ERP vendors like SAP, Workday, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Veeva are rolling out 2-3 major releases per year. Whenever a release is rolled out, you need to regression test it before deploying it to production.
Test automation greatly increases regression testing speed. On average, automated tests are executed 5X faster than manual tests, so if it takes 100 hours to execute 20 cases manually, an automation platform will take roughly 20 hours to execute the 20 tests. That’s 80 hours of labor saved. And as a wise person once said, time saved is money saved.
Application downtime costs: According to ITIC’s 2021 Hourly Cost of Downtime Survey, 91% of organizations said a single hour of downtime that takes mission-critical applications offline results in over $300,000 in lost business, productivity disruptions and remediation efforts. Some 44% of firms indicated that hourly downtime costs exceed $1 million, exclusive of any legal fees, fines or penalties.
Causes of application downtime include:
- Manual errors: Repetitive testing for mission critical applications can be very frustrating for business users. This often overshadows the testing initiative, leading to bugs making it into the production environment and causing business disruption due to software failure. Test automation eliminates much of the repetitive, monotonous testing work associated with manual testing, empowering end users to shift their focus on critical areas that need more attention.
- Inadequate coverage: Simply put, enterprises that manually test end up testing too much, wasting valuable time and money, or testing too little, which exposes their applications to downtime risk. And most organizations end up testing too little, meaning that critical processes and workflows aren’t adequately tested.
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Production debugging costs: IBM found that the cost of fixing bugs in production is 15X greater than it is earlier in the development cycle. Test automation enables organizations to test earlier and more often in the software lifecycle, and as a result, bugs are found earlier, and are thus less expensive to fix.
Reduction in performance costs: Let’s say you invest a large amount of money in an ERP in order to keep pace with rapidly changing market scenarios. If you fail to take advantage of regular updates and new features that are rolled out monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually, you’re not maximizing your ROI.
Test automation helps you keep up with all the frequent ERP updates and helps you get the most out of your ERP investment.
How test automation can save you time and money
Now that you know the downsides of manual testing approaches, let’s talk about how test automation can save you time and money.
1. Test automation enables DevOps.
DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations. Its aim is to shorten the development life cycle and provide continuous delivery resulting in higher quality applications. Incorporating test automation provides instant feedback loops for dev teams, allowing them to build faster. When tests are automated, they can run more often and at higher speed, making enterprises more agile and competitive.
2. Test automation helps organizations keep pace with ERP updates.
Most ERP vendors practice continuous innovation and roll out major releases two, three, or four times a year. However, the window to test these updates is usually just two weeks. Test automation enables organizations to test in a shorter period of time, which means they’re able to keep pace with these frequent updates and get the most out of their ERPs.
3. Test automation helps organizations avoid worst-case scenarios.
Test automation enables organizations to test more in a shorter amount of time. Additionally, test automation platforms that leverage AI, like Opkey, can help organizations understand which business processes require the most testing, enabling them to prioritize tests on their most at-risk areas. By adequately testing their most at-risk areas, organizations can largely de-risk their business and ensure worst case scenarios don’t happen, such as application downtime or reputation-damaging outages.