Top 5 Benefits of QA Automation for Your Business

From the first mobile arcade games to today’s mission-critical high-load systems, the complexity of software solutions is growing at a rapid pace as new technologies keep emerging. Couple it with the rising competition and the ever increasing consumers’ appetite, and companies are under pressure to accelerate their development cycles and deliver new products and services faster, but not at the cost of quality.

Since quality at speed becomes a strategic imperative for enterprises that want to achieve true agility, test automation comes to the front line. According to a survey conducted by TechWell Corporation and Tricentis, almost half of all respondents expect 50% or more of their testing activities to be automated in the next year.

Source: Tricentis

With this level of investment, the global automation testing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18% and reach USD 28.8 bln by 2024. But first things first, and before we move to the benefits that automated QA and software testing can bring, let’s properly define it.

What is QA automation

In essence, QA automation refers to the use of automated testing tools and frameworks to test the software being developed. As opposed to manual testing where human testers carry out test cases one by one, AQA engineers write test scripts that effectively automate tests’ execution, which allows them to do more testing in less time. These tests can vary — from checking a single method in a class to ensuring that performing a sequence of actions leads to the same results.

That said, not all tests can or need to be automated. Exploratory and usability testing as well as tests that are performed ad-hoc or tests with changing requirements require a hands-on, manual approach. The graphics below shows the most common types of automated tests:

Source: Techtarget

Why do you need automated QA testing services

Reason #1. Faster release cycles

In the above mentioned survey, the majority of respondents cited faster testing cycles as the main benefit of embracing test automation within their organizations.

Source: Tricentis

It takes some time to write scripts and set up the environment, but automated tests can then run 5 times (or more) faster than manual tests, reducing the testing time from weeks to hours. And since automated tests can run round-the-clock, with little to no human supervision, you can execute automated tests in parallel, on different platforms, or schedule to test the newest builds overnight.

Faster test execution further translates into accelerated release cycles as QA teams can benefit from continuous feedback and improve their bug fixing activities to release frequently and with confidence.

How to maximize the benefit:

  • Leverage headless browsers that do not have GUI and therefore do not have to download CSS, Javascript or render HTML.
  • Use caching to prevent calling the same database or API query and reduce waiting time.

Reason #2. Reduced business expenses

While the upfront investments in QA automation are higher, it can bring significant ROI in the long term. Instead of wasting resources on running repetitive but time-consuming tests, you can automate them and drive cost savings. Once written, these test scripts can be further reused as many times as needed with minimum maintenance.

Worldplay, a global payment processor, has calculated that achieving the same level of test coverage with manual testing that it has with QA automation would have cost around $500,000 a month.

How to maximize the benefit:

  • Avoid overspending trying to reach complete test coverage — instead, minimize tests that look for things that rarely go wrong and focus on what matters.
  • Leverage the power of AI to pinpoint the specific areas of a solution affected by any given release and identify the test cases needed to test those areas.

Reason #3. Improved accuracy and reliability

To make mistakes is in human nature, and even the best QA engineers can err when testing complex use cases. In addition, continuous repetition of the same tests can be mind-numbing and cause the loss of concentration.

Automated tests, however, can be conducted with 100% accuracy. No matter how many times they run, test scripts do not get tired and perform the same steps every time, precisely and reliably.

How to maximize the benefit:

  • To improve reliability, re-execute the same tests at different servers to verify they run as expected and rule out the server configuration issues.
  • Synchronize your test code with the application state to avoid flaky, unreliable tests.

Reason #4. Deeper insights

An important component of a test automation framework, comprehensive test reporting provides you with deep, actionable insights into the state of your product as well as testing activities. These in-depth report logs offer real-time information on passed/failed tests, test coverage, detected bugs and their severity level, and more. With this level of visibility, it’s easier to identify the areas that need more attention to ensure the overall quality of your product.

There is no shortage of automated test reporting tools — Jira, Confluence, Perfecto, Calliope, Allure, to name a few. When choosing a reporting tool, make sure it integrates well with your test management and bug tracking solutions.

Source: Adaptivist

How to maximize the benefit:

  • Include only relevant metrics in your reports (e.g. total test duration doesn’t say much about the quality of tests or product).
  • Make sure that your reporting tool offers customizable dashboards to provide each stakeholder with the right information.

Reason #5. Higher product quality

As logically follows from the benefits we’ve discussed above, automated QA leads to better software quality. Faster testing cycles as well as wider test coverage allow QA engineers and developers to find and fix bugs and defects before they ruin the end-user experience.

Moreover, by embracing test automation as a part of your QA and software testing strategy, you remove monotonous tasks from your team’s day-to-day activities. QA engineers can then use this time to do more creative and value-added work like exploratory testing, while developers can work on new features instead of fixing bugs that leaked into production. Have a look at our recent case study on leveraging automated mobile testing to deliver top-notch mobile app quality within the tight time frame.

How to maximize the benefit:

  • Leverage the shift-left approach, i.e. start test automation as early as possible to spot defects early in the development cycle.
  • Make QA automation a part of your CI/CD pipeline to ensure a quick and responsive feedback loop.

Is QA automation a silver bullet?

Although QA automation brings a lot of benefits, it’s not a cure-all as it comes with its own set of challenges. In addition to higher upfront costs, other risks include:

  • Incorrect selection of test automation tools
  • Automating the wrong tests and neglecting the right ones
  • Lack of test stabilization before automation
  • Version control and maintenance of test scripts
  • Incompatibility of test environment and test automation tools
  • Test data of poor quality

Depending on the project, this list can be enhanced with project-specific risks — testing a fintech application differs from testing a healthcare solution. Solving these challenges requires a tailored QA automation strategy and skilled AQA talent on board. Therefore, when looking for an automation testing services provider, go through a vendor’s portfolio to see how a company coped with test automation challenges in each particular case.

The bottom line

According to the World Quality Report, QA automation is gaining momentum across the entire QA lifecycle. Companies are investing in automated QA testing services to accelerate time to market and achieve quality at speed. With faster release cycles, wider test coverage, early bug detection, and comprehensive reporting, QA automation offers a wealth of benefits to help enterprises gain a competitive advantage.

If you want to leverage the power of QA automation to boost your product quality and beat competitors to the market, Elinext can help. Have a look at how companies have leveraged our QA testing services to deliver software of superior quality, even within tight deadlines.

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