It is not hard to see why automation has become a major focus in the IT investment landscape as businesses look to accelerate software innovation and sharpen their competitive edge. Whether it is to enhance the customer experience or introduce more sophisticated layers of security, cycles and modification timeframes are reducing, yet so are budgets and headcount. The pressure on corporate IT teams has never been greater and the logical solution that is proving successful for many organisations is automation.
In areas that are notoriously manually intensive such as testing, automation offers significant improvements in both the quantity and quality of output. As the digital world rapidly evolves, it will play an important role in helping businesses to bring new or upgraded digital services to market faster. In addition, more and more ‘smarter’ applications are emerging and this is further increasing demand for intelligent and automated testing of the constantly changing software.
The forecast statistics speak for themselves – with the automation testing market predicted to grow to USD 19.7 billion by 2023, according to a report published on marketsandmarkets.com. Between 2018 and 2023, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is forecast at 17.7% – so the expectations for adoption by global businesses in the next few years are high.
There are clear reasons why automation works so well in testing environments. It removes the need for manual testing and makes it more repeatable, more robust and significantly faster. In other words, it simplifies and improves every stage of the test cycle, from unit and functional, to integration and regression testing. The only requirement for human intervention is during the set-up, the rest of the manual effort is replaced by creating automated scripts to do the same job. This allows in-house IT resources to focus on higher-value tasks and businesses can deliver new experiences to customers and end-users with increasing regularity.
Automation is by no means a new concept for software development teams and many forward-thinking businesses have already introduced some level of test automation, or at least explored it as an option. However, one of the biggest challenges is introducing the right type of automation to ensure it is reducing (rather than adding to) the development team’s burden.
For example, a common pain point is that the level of maintenance and script changing is so frequent that the company might as well be manually testing. This is often a result of linear automation where multiple (sometimes hundreds) of scripts are created. Even the most minor changes to a button or field, for instance, will still require an engineer to update the automation script and test various scenarios to ensure it doesn’t negatively impact the availability, performance or functionality of their existing services. Subsequently, continual maintenance on all of the different scripts is immensely time consuming.
However, much of this complexity would be removed through the creation of a modular framework. Automation testing experts like Accelerate QA help clients create frameworks that require minimal maintenance. Without going into a deep technical explanation, scripts can be parameterised and objects and functions stored in ‘modules’ so script maintenance can be achieved in one place rather than many. A modular framework approach allows test updates to be changed quickly and simply.
Knowing precisely how it works is perhaps not as important as knowing how it would improve the laborious testing processes for many businesses. The type of automation that Accelerate introduces can do a job in hours, if not minutes, as opposed to weeks or even months of manual testing. Automating in this way also removes the potential for human error. With any change, it runs off all of the different scenarios extremely quickly and is very repeatable, accurately doing the same thing each and every time. This is particularly valuable in areas such as regression testing.
Automation has become a critical part of the testing cycle and, according to the latest forecasts, adoption will continue to grow alongside customers’ expectations in online services. Any business with a strong digital presence recognises the value of reducing manual efforts and rolling out changes in the shortest possible timeframe. However, for the most effective outcomes they need to ensure that their investments in automation do not fall short of the anticipated returns. External software QA experts can support organisations on their automation journey, with tailored solutions that accelerate delivery and provide the most robust, repeatable and reliable testing performance.
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