In this quality-obsessed world, it is hard to ignore the value of Software Testing. Yet, the time and cost constraints caused due to fast-paced software development environments make it difficult to thoroughly test an application prior to its release. If defects slip unobserved into the production environment, the results can be disastrous, right from customer dissatisfaction to increased maintenance costs. Test automation allows your team to execute more tests in less time, increasing coverage and freeing human testers to do more high-level, exploratory testing. Automation is especially beneficial for test cases that are executed repeatedly, such as those for cross-browser and cross-device compatibility, and those that are part of a full or partial regression suite.
But What Exactly is Automation Testing & What’s in it for Small Businesses?
Quite literally, Automation Testing means using an automated testing tool to execute your test case suite. The Automation Testing software can enter test data into the System Under Test, compare expected and actual results and generate detailed test reports.
Automated Testing is an integral part of the QA process for Web Applications. As automation increases the overall efficiency and quality of the software, it is becoming necessary for small and medium business to have test automation in place. Some benefits of Automation Testing are as follows:
- Automation provides accelerated results.
- It increases the efficiency and quality of the software.
- Automation provides overall test coverage.
- It provides the re-usability of the tests.
- It helps in early detection of bugs.
- Reduced business expenses even though initial investment is high
- Automation Testing saves time in functional testing and regression testing and contributes to a high quality of work
Why Automation is Needed for Small & Medium Businesses?
Small businesses are often not dominant in the field of operation. This can be attributed to the lack of adequate or specialized resources, time or funds. This makes it increasingly critical for small businesses to invest in aspects such as automation, that would not just save them time and resources but also accelerate the process of development for them.
In case of automation, once the automation test suite is created, it can be easily repeated and can be extended which is impossible for manual testing. Due to this, automation has become an essential key element and a reason why it is best to automate for successful development of projects.
Nowadays, a tester can implement Test Automation with many open source testing tools. These tests can be executed with just a click of a button with a proper CI/CD solution. Tests can also be run on different browsers, environments and platforms, so you no longer need to test every possibility manually at the time of each release cycle.
Automated software testing reduces the time significantly to run repetitive tests - from days to hours.
In this world of cut-throat competition, time savings directly translates to cost savings. Moreover, the growth of new technologies and faster release cycle demands are driving the standard for quality software through the roof. Trends like automation, continuous testing can cope with it by introducing speed and flexibility into the software development lifecycle.
Nevertheless, don’t be under the impression that Automation Testing is the silver bullet to all your woes, that is not always the case. If applied at an incorrect point in the SDLC, you may end up investing a huge amount without getting adequate returns for your efforts. To avoid this, you may want to take a look at our blog on frequently asked questions about Automation Testing.
Below are some of the best practices that will help you implement Test Automation to your projects successfully.
Best Practices for Test Automation that can Work for Your Business
Setup the right Test Automation strategy for your Business:
Test Automation will work for every software application in theory. However, there are lot of practical aspects one needs to account for while defining test automation strategy for your business applications
- Are you building a new product or you just want to maintain current product?
- Does your application play with large data sets?
- Are you making frequent changes in your product?
- Do you need faster time to market?
If you answered most of these questions with a ‘YES’, Test Automation is the right way to go. A well-defined test automation strategy will help your business keep pace with the market and also help you avoid any technology failures.
However, if you answered most questions as ‘No’, you don’t need to get into Test Automation for now and Manual Testing should suffice.
Plan testing ahead of SDLC:
New approaches in software testing such as Agile Testing suggest that software testing should be planned way ahead in the development process. This helps build a robust automated testing framework that goes hand in hand with development.
Choose the right tool as per your need:
Choosing the right tool depends on the objective and what you want to achieve from test automation. Ex- Functional testing may require a different tool than the performance testing. The tool has to be compatible with the project and even the team that would work with the tool.
Maintenance of the test cases:
Once the test automation has been setup it is very important that the test cases are centralized in a repository and are regularly reviewed at the end of each sprint. You should keep updating the existing test cases and eliminate the outdated ones at the end of each development cycle. By Using excellent level of Automation Testing, we can improve the testing process and the resulting quality of the application under test.
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Real-world Examples of Successful Test Automation Implementations:
Here are some of the examples where few small and medium businesses were able to take advantage of Automation Testing as a part of their product development:
1. A client from the Trading domain offers a cloud-based trading platform with unlimited, commission-free trading for a flat price. The client also offers multiple B2B solutions allowing firms to use the existing trading platform to grow and enhance their own business and brand.
They wanted us to automate the regression suite on multiple OS and browsers using cloud based tools and wanted it to run in CI/CD mode. The major challenge here was that their team had no prior test strategy defined and they had manual regression testing with insufficient test coverage.
Our team identified the test tools set and the scope of testing and then implemented a scalable automation framework that would run tests on Browserstack using CI/CD pipeline jobs in Jenkins.
With this, now the client is able to execute the automated test suite with 90% test coverage across product features and 100 % test coverage across targeted OS-Browser-Device platforms.
2. A client from the online Hotel and Resort booking domain offers a solution to create an extensible platform that allows travelers to rent vacant inventory, as well as inventory that will be defined and provided by partners and affiliates.
They wanted to automate the testing process of their application which was developed in Angular. The challenge here was that they had a large scope of manual functional and regression testing which would make it a very tedious job for the testers to execute all test cases at the end of each release cycle manually. Also, the technical challenge was that the test automation could not be done with selenium.
According to the requirement, our team identified the automation test tool set and implemented the automation suite in Protractor for end-to-end testing of the application.
This significantly reduced their manual testing efforts and also helped the team to achieve maximum test coverage during the end of each release.
3. One of our clients from the online health Insurance domain offers decision support, providing individuals and employees with the insights they need to select the optimal health insurance plan. They wanted to automate the testing process of its application which was developed in Angular.
The client wanted a headless multi-browser execution and gulp task integration of the automation test suite. The challenge here was that despite opting for a headless multi-browser execution, gulp task integration, they expected the tests to run in CI/CD mode.
Nevertheless, based their requirement our team identified the automation test tool set and implemented the Automation suite in CasperJS and PhantomJS for end-to-end testing of the application. With this they were able to achieve maximum coverage much faster.
The digital business continues to evolve, pressuring both established businesses and disruptive new entrants to deliver more value to customers, faster and more efficiently than their competitors. Naturally, software testing has become an ongoing process. Test Automation helps to make the process iterative and continuous. Additionally, a well-structured and comprehensive test automation strategy helps achieve results from investments in good test automation frameworks and tools.
Most importantly, it helps get your application/software faster to the market and ensure quality to make it market ready.