Qapitol QA

Maximising ROI with a Strategic Approach to Test Automation

Table of Contents

Ever noticed how a discussion about the return on test automation investment progresses? You would either experience an eerie silence, be told a narrative around tactical results achieved or qualitative benefits accrued. None of them answers the question. 

In the garb of technical benefits, the business value is often hush-hushed. Often technological advantage becomes the hero of the story and the audience is enamoured by the sheer scope of what can be achieved. All of this is great until it’s not. Without a clear link between the process level benefits and how they contribute to generating greater value, a committed buy-in from all the stakeholders gets harder to achieve. Additionally, because the benefits are primarily aligned to a specific team/department, the other departments don’t feel accountable for it. That’s when the slope gets slippery, and implementation becomes a challenge. Ultimately, what starts as a promising initiative ends as a lost opportunity.

Test automation‘s impact spreads across the entire SDLC. Unless its return is linked with the value it generates for business and customers, organisations would find it challenging to implement and sustain. ROI will only be justified and maximised when cross-functional teams get the answer of “what’s in it for my team/people” to ensure sustainable implementation. To do so, tie your test automation to the following strategic anchors.

1. Start with the end goal in mind

Companies that have successfully capitalised on test automation have gone beyond treating it as a tactical deployment to consider it as a key strategic initiative. Broadening of scope has the following effect:

  1. Accountability moves beyond QA/QE teams to cover multiple cross-functional teams.
  2. Return is no more measured only in terms of defects identified. Performance metrics are aligned closely with business goals, thereby giving quantitative proof of its contribution towards optimising processes and improving revenue.

The first step, however, is to start with an end goal in mind and then plan backwards!
Some of the end goal(s) could be:

  1. To shorten regression cycles
  2. To augment release readiness
  3. To accelerate data validation
  4. To enable specialised tests like localisation

Whatever your end goal, make sure it is comprehensible, measurable, time-bound and aligned with your business goals before you divide it into mini sub-goals to track the progress of your test automation initiative.

2. Onboard the right implementation partner

While a well-suited strategy sets you on the right path, well-executed implementation ensures that you

  1. Overcome hurdles,
  2. Preemptively gauge and prepare for upcoming resistance,
  3. Maintain a detailed implementation log for greater visibility and tracking consistent mini-wins,
  4. Build a support system for the long-term sustainability of test automation

This requires knowledge and experience that can only come with the right partner. People who have gotten their hands dirty implementing test automation successfully for years! So, you could

  1. Hire the required QE experts as permanent employees in your team
  2. Opt for a co-owned engagement with the right implementation partner
  3. Take the help of ready-to-deploy tactical teams with complete accountability for implementation

Every option has its merit. Hence, choosing the right one depends on your end goal and resource availability. But whatever you choose will impact the ROI you generate from test automation implementation.

3. Track the appropriate metrics

Once you have decided on the end goal, it’s critical to tie it to relevant and measurable metrics. It could be

  1. Reduction in manual testing time before and after test automation implementation
  2. % decline in technical debt
  3. % decrease in GTM delays and associated costs
  4. % increase in cost savings from reduced rework
  5. % decline in reporting of bugs from users post implementation of test automation
  6. % increase in positive reviews/feedback about the product
  7. % decrease in drop rate on the app
  8. % increase in customer retention rate

Each of these metrics is tactical, and hence they only determine the efficiency of test automation. However, to objectively measure the ROI of test automation, it’s critical to link every metric’s contribution (weightage) to revenue (profits).

A strategic initiative is only sustainable if it positively impacts your bottom line. Hence, as critical as it is to evaluate a new technology’s technical success, it is equally imperative to determine its ability to generate higher business value quantitatively.

4. Steer through black swan events

Cybersecurity attacks are experiencing an exponential rise in number, form, shape and extent of damages caused. According to the 2022 Official Cybercrime report by Cybersecurity ventures, the cost of cybercrime is expected to hit $8 trillion in 2023 and reach $10.5 trillion by 2025.

As hacker capabilities grow, more must be done to plug existing security loopholes and preemptively gauge and plan for upcoming cyber threats. This is where test automation’s real test would be – to leverage advanced AI/ML technologies to anticipate and prevent more complex and sophisticated forms of cyberattacks. Such prevention will result in returns on multiple accounts – secured customer and business data, strengthened customer trust and loyalty, reduced downtime from cyberattacks, prevention of loss of revenue in recovering lost data and enhanced brand image.

Change is hard and embracing a technological change is harder since it involves an additional technical layer – often difficult to understand and implement. Hence, it calls for wholesome support and dedication from all stakeholders. And for that to happen, everyone needs to have skin in the game.

The discussion around test automation ROI need not result in an awkward silence or a cacophony of tall subjective claims. The business value generated from test automation is real. You will just need to look at the right places.

Write to us for a free demo on how test automation can objectively bring you higher business value.

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