Despite the evident evolution of the software industry, many enterprises continue deploying testing practices that require intensive time and effort, while also facing increased pressure to do more and work faster. I like to call this phenomenon “scattered islands,” as it describes the disconnect in maturity and capability across the testing landscape. The key differentiator here is automation, the impact of which can be found throughout all the phases of software testing, from test planning to defect analysis repair and feedback loop. Even so, the industry has just begun unlocking the true potential of automation in testing.
AI-driven automation holds the potential to completely transform software testing from an end-to-end testing lifecycle perspective.
Gap Between Knowledge and Action
The shortage of test automation is one of the biggest barriers when it comes to releasing new software to the market. In fact, most software testing is still done manually. Enterprises are embracing Agile and DevOps approaches for faster software release cycles to meet customer expectations. However, the bulk of the testing life cycle—especially the planning and design stages—continue to be manual and inefficient. Undetected software quality issues translate into production. The reduced speed-to-market is costing businesses trillions of dollars.
Strangely, the software industry has yet to embrace automation applications. According to a study by Kobiton, more than half (55%) of respondents believe automating testing would be an asset to software quality. And yet, most aren’t doing it. In that same study, 76% of respondents say they manually conduct most of their testing; 73% are running at least 100 tests prior to each software release manually—not automatically.
How Software Testing Is Adopting Automation
Organizations are starting to deeply consider how to adopt assisted and automated practices across the testing life cycle. That spans from test creation to data management and beyond. Automation is quickly becoming critical for effectively meeting customer requirements, because it offers important benefits: faster time-to-market, increased efficiency and improved quality.
Now, most organizations are applying automation little by little to improve productivity and stay at par with the demands of development and release cycles. For instance, they may apply automation to test execution or defect management. However, this stilted approach is inadequate for today’s scale.
Some have speculated that organizations may be leery of full-scale automation due to the looming fear that it would cost the testers their jobs. This is a misconception. Automation isn’t taking jobs, but it is changing them. Testing will become more about predictive rather than preventive methods. With the agile development environment, these methods are being implemented starting with the planning phase.
By conducting testing through automation tools, organizations can address issues faster. And that means testers will be able to upgrade their skills. With their deep domain expertise, they’ll be eligible for other business roles and not just IT roles.
Start Small and Expand
Ultimately, the goal with automation is to become autonomous. Therefore, it’s important to understand that not all tools are created equal. Many startups have entered the market with test automation tools, some of which make lofty promises about improved speed. But there is no tool that automates test scenario creation or provides intelligent test selection. What organizations can do is identify areas where it makes the most sense to start introducing automation and begin to implement it gradually.
It’s key to remember that organizational support is imperative to successful deployment. Without it, projects aren’t likely to succeed. It’s easy to get stuck in the status quo because “that’s always how we’ve done it.” To move to automation there must be a desire for change. Being the change agent in the organization and finding support before embarking on this journey is crucial.
Jumping Into the Automation Pool
AI is rapidly becoming core to every industry and function, including the software industry. AI-based automation enables enterprises to take their software to market faster and reap unparalleled business benefits that come with agility, speed and reliability in their software release cycles. Software testing is only one application of this type of automation. Test automation not only relieves testers of the burden of repetitive tasks but can also perform additional testing that might not otherwise get done because it is difficult to do manually.
Although the numbers clearly indicate that bugs and rework incur higher costs for organizations to maintain the status quo, many still hesitate to embrace the innovation. Most organizations agree that automated testing would be of tremendous benefit, and the hesitation indicates that early adopters will have a competitive advantage. With well-informed strategy and integration, test automation can enable you to deliver better software, faster and transform your business exponentially.