Rethinking Test Automation to Address Business Challenges

To be a leader in any industry is to be a leader in technology. In the whirlwind of digital transformation, innovation happens every day with software and software quality at the forefront. To not be left behind, now more than ever, CEOs, team leaders, and decision-makers should rethink software quality - the single most important element that determines their success. In this article, we discuss how automated testing can help alleviate the business challenges in the digital age and test automation ROI. 

Rethinking test automation to address business challengesChallenges faced by businesses as the technology paradigm shifts

Technology's ever-changing and innovative nature brings as many opportunities as challenges. The prevalence of software in every aspect of life shows that business leaders should keep a close eye on the state of quality engineering to prevent stagnation in continuous improvement. 

The software industry and software quality assurance found themselves in front of the unprecedented evolving macrocosm of technology. Advancements in quantum computing, IoT, big data, 5G, edge computing, etc, are bringing software to an unparalleled level of complexity. Businesses utilizing these innovations as core technologies have to adopt the most cutting-edge, state-of-the-art testing solutions. Adaptable, AI-powered, intelligent testing tools must be leveraged instead of traditional testing methods that are obsolete in supporting quality improvement for such disruptive engineering.

Software is customer-facing, therefore it holds a crucial role in ensuring competitive advantages, customer digital experience, and retention rate. To fulfill customers' and businesses' expectations, software architecture must intertwine with the end-to-end business process, customer service practices, and operational activities. This requires software to be adaptive and updated frequently to ensure security, and compatibility with operating system updates. Regular updates impact software testing immensely in terms of regression, end-to-end, API, and UI testing. Once again, the fragmented and outdated software quality assurance approaches cannot accommodate the current high-speed, competitive, and demanding market.

Manual-only and conventional quality engineering approaches are no longer sufficient to support agile software development, continuous deployment, and rapid feedback loop. Without the correct mindset on testing, quality assurance will be an afterthought, a disorganized process that fails to accomplish its ultimate mission - quality improvement. The consequence of inadequate testing is poor-quality software with weaknesses that can jeopardize a business's reputation, competitive advantage, and customer satisfaction. 

Test automation benefits are closely tied to increased business value

It is estimated that poor-quality software costs 2.08 trillion dollars * in the US, UK, and Australia. Appropriate and timely investment in test automation as part of your delivery lifecycle can save your organization from the consequences of insufficient software testing. 

The ROI gained from applying test automation is magnified when organizations undergo digital transformations. The examples below show how an effective test automation strategy ensures success for companies in three key industries: telecommunications, energy and utilities, and BFSI (Banking, financial services, and insurance). 

Test automation in Telecommunication

In the Telecommunication sector, companies are in the race to adopt 5G (and beyond) technology, converting from communications service providers to digital service providers. As the infrastructure becomes more cloud-based and relies on IoT, ensuring quality for additional dimensions of security and privacy becomes increasingly challenging. Furthermore, the plethora of users’ device types (screen sizes, OS versions, manufacturer modifications, etc.) exponentially scales the testing effort. M2M communication involving sensors, gateways, and CLIs in IoT systems requires efficient API testing tools while its complexity makes it difficult to detect errors. To deal with such challenges in quality engineering, comprehensive test automation solutions can streamline the testing workload while reducing manual effort, and provide appropriate test environments/configurations to validate the software's behavior/reliability, thereby confidence in test coverage, compliance, and expected outcomes. 

Test automation in Energy and Utilities

Energy and Utilities (E&U) is an industry that is exceptionally susceptible to vulnerabilities and oversight and cannot afford poor software quality. AI/ML, IoT, cloud infrastructure, and Big Data are the core technologies that enable renewable energy, distributed energy resources, smart grids, and smart meters. To ensure quality in such a complex system, the software testing solution applied must be robust, provide end-to-end coverage, be API-centric, and support data-driven strategies. Furthermore, E&U companies need a fit-for-purpose testing solution that they can scale and customize. To assure quality through such complex infrastructure and demanding business needs, a comprehensive automated platform that can support all facets of test coverage necessary is a must. 

Software quality - the nucleus of energy and utility digitalization

Test automation in BFSI

Digital transformation is happening at a rapid pace within the BFSI sector globally. AI/ML, RPA (Robotic Process Automation), blockchain, and Big Data are some of the most adopted technologies of the key players and emerging BFSI companies. This is being done to not only improve customer experiences and retention but also the efficiency of services and transaction transparency. 

The sector is overflowing with customer-facing applications that differentiate each BFSI's business capabilities, services, and success criteria. Therefore, updates and enhanced features are rolled out constantly. Quality validation strategies applied need to be sufficient in verifying large-scale BFSI systems with ever-changing, complex functionalities and security standards. 

An extensive automated software testing strategy is the only approach to satisfy both short (aka ‘quick’) release dates and the increased workload involved in maintaining the capabilities (with quality) of the applications. Fintech apps are never stand-alone apps. They connect with many others (supplemental, 3rd party, etc.) to create an ecosystem that best serves the users. With such a level of integrations, the software quality testing solution must be able to support API-specific, complex data-driven, and intensive business-process-driven testing with highly actionable and visible insights on test coverage applied. 

Businesses are continuing to increase their digital footprint, rapidly expanding/upgrading their infrastructure and the overall scale of their software capabilities. Software and applications for business ought to work seamlessly on every device, OS, and manufacturer platform, and must provide a smooth, uninterrupted experience under all circumstances. In conjunction with the ever-increasing competition and ever-shifting demand from the market, CEOs must adopt the best software quality management platform available to ensure quality at speed.

The sooner you adopt automation testing within your delivery workflow, the higher the ROI (Return on Investment)

The sooner you adopt test automation, the better the return on investment. A survey by Axon shows that almost 24% ** of respondents cite late adoption of test automation as one of the reasons they cannot achieve the desired level of automated QA. 

The agility of test automation can help ease the difficulty in dealing with the constant shifting requirements, and help your business deal with uncertainty from the market easier. An end-to-end test automation platform is the way to ensure the quality of your software by enabling frequent, early testing and cross-team visibility, errors catching early in the development process. 

Reduction in environment setup, test case creation, test execution, and test maintenance time are some of the most significant quantifiable benefits of automation. 

Reduction in environment setup time

A test environment is a structure in which quality engineers execute test cases that were written to address the requirements of the application. To accurately verify the behavior of a software application in real-life scenarios, the test environment needs to be well-design and maintained. 

Building and maintaining test environments take significant effort from the engineers. With test automation, this process is simplified and more optimal. 

  • Deployment is automated by integration with CI/CD tools 
  • Reproduce the same test environment every time by reusable test profiles 
  • Cloud-based environment reduces the cost of the physical infrastructure of multiple devices

Reduction in test case creation time

The more complex an application is, the more time it takes to write test cases. While manually creating test case requires time and human effort, open-source testing frameworks also introduces setback in this area. 

Only skilled quality engineers with solid programming backgrounds can create test cases with open-source frameworks. This limits the collaboration between team members with different levels of expertise. A low-code test automation platform can eliminate this bottleneck by allowing team members of all technical backgrounds to create tests. 

Not only low-code and no-code, but the Katalon Platform also provides a full-code scripting mode where more advanced test cases can be created. Tunaiku, one of our customers, reduced 60% of the time creating automated test scripts for GUI and API testing soon after they adopted the Katalon Platform. 

Reduction in test execution time

Two manual testers can execute two test cases at the same time. But the same two testers can execute multiple tests simultaneously using test automation with parallel execution. 

Cross-browser, cross-platform testing is another way to reduce execution time as well as expand test coverage. While testers working hours are limited, automated tests can be scheduled to run overnight or on the weekend. The results and insights can be automatically generated with built-in reporting tools, ready to be reviewed as the work day starts. 

Care Logistic was able to cut regression testing time by half with the Katalon Platform. The company saw a significant increase in productivity and effectiveness. 

Reduction in test maintenance effort  

Before its launch, an application needs to go through end-to-end testing, a type of testing that is notoriously hard to maintain. To stimulate an end-user experience, end-to-end testing needs to cover all workflows from start to finish. With any changes in the workflow, your end-to-end test scripts are impacted immensely. 

Another type of test that is extremely important for the user experience is UI testing. Just like end-to-end tests, UI tests are hard to maintain due to their flakiness. Flaky tests are tests that fail not because the application did not perform as expected, but mostly because small, and uncritical changes happen to the UI elements. These flaky tests cause unnecessary stress to the developers and testers, not to mention the time it takes to go back and inspect these “errors” just to see that it was a 1-pixel difference in an image. 

Katalon’s AI-infused features like Self-healing and Smart Wait address end-to-end and UI tests flakiness effectively. Self-healing automatically adjusts your script according to any CSS or UI changes. Smart Wait eliminates the timing issue with Selenium test scripts. 

These benefits are practical and certainly bring business benefits in terms of revenue. Head over to our ROI calculator to see how we quantify these values for you.

ROI Calculator

Conclusion

To speed up the development time, reducing the overall testing time is a must. Manual-only testing is incapable of delivering software with confidence while facing short time-to-market and frequent releases. With test automation helping with functional testing, and repetitive tasks, skilled testers can use their skills for more complex, out-of-the-box test cases and thoroughly test the product inside-out, ensuring the best experience for users. 

The benefits of test automation are manifold and bring high returns in the long run. Especially in the age of digital transformation, where either speed or quality can be compromised, the most sufficient and pragmatic way for businesses to ensure software quality is a highly sophisticated, state-of-the-art software quality management platform. 

The value brought from a quality management platform is entirely quantifiable with our test automation ROI calculator. Let us help you run through the numbers on how you can save with Katalon. 

Calculate Test automation ROI


* https://www.it-cisq.org/the-cost-of-poor-software-quality-in-the-us-a-2020-report.htm

** https://www.apexon.com/resources/white-papers/the-role-of-testing-qa-in-digital-engineering/

The Selenium alternative
that makes a difference.