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How to Measure the Business Value of Test Automation

March 21, 2022
   /   
by 
Sohaib Zaidi

Why test automation is so important in 2022

To stay agile in a hyper-competitive business environment, many enterprises are striving to implement processes like DevOps and continuous testing. Since manual testing is typically the biggest bottleneck to achieving true agility, enterprises are embracing test automation. However, enterprises often struggle to justify and measure the value of test automation.

In this blog, we’ll cover how you should measure the value of test automation to generate support from key budget holders. Let’s jump in.

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Test Automation Enables DevOps

DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations, and its aim is to shorten the software development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high quality software. Said another way, DevOps helps enterprises deliver software faster. However, outdated and manual approaches to software testing can derail a DevOps process by posing a major bottleneck that causes cost overruns and deadline delays.

In fact, according to the Gitlab DevSecOps 2021 Survey, manual testing was considered the largest hurdle to achieving successful DevOps processes.

Test automation solves for this: it makes instant feedback loops possible, so that developers can move code from development to build quicker.  When tests are automated, it becomes possible to run tests more often, at higher speed, enabling the quicker delivery of software. This, of course, makes enterprises more agile and competitive.

Metric to consider: software development lifecycle time

Automation enables organizations to keep pace with ERP vendors

Enterprises that rely on manual testing approaches often struggle to keep pace with the frequency and depth of software updates. Most ERP vendors work on the principle of continuous innovation--Oracle rolls out updates on a quarterly basis, Salesforce thrice a year, Microsoft Dynamics 365 twice a year, and SAP two to three times a year. With each of these updates, organizations typically only have a two-week testing window to test their software. As a result of this time crunch, they either test too much—wasting precious resources—or test too little, which exposes them to application downtime risk.

Test automation enables organizations to test all their processes in a shorter period of time, which means they’re able to keep pace with these frequent updates. Because organizations invest so much money in their ERPs, it’s logical to say that test automation enables companies to get the most out of their ERP investment.

Metric to consider: Percent of ERP updates complete on time

Automation reduces risk: After working with more than 250 enterprises, an Opkey survey found that QA teams that test manually only achieve 40% risk coverage, and end up with test libraries that have a high degree of redundancy. Opkey’s survey further found that on an average, 70% of test cases don’t contribute to risk coverage, at all, but only make testing slow to execute and difficult to maintain.

And downtime risk is expensive—according to Gartner, one hour of application downtime can cost a business $300K an hour.

A robust test automation framework ensures your organization achieves proper test coverage by prioritizing testing on high-risk business processes.

Metric to consider: Test coverage achieved

Automation saves organizations 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 them to create a tighter feedback loop between the development of code and testing, which significantly reduces the time it takes to resolve bugs.

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

Metric to consider: man-hours of testing saved

Conclusion

IT leaders and business owners need to understand that test automation is a long term investment. There is a possibility that you may not always see the benefits of it instantly. However, there are some simple metrics that help you understand the real-value in test automation, such as the software development lifecycle time, percent of ERP updates completed on time, test coverage achieved, and, and man-hours of testing saved.

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