While senior executives may not be familiar with the technical processes implemented by the developer teams as they release software, they will undoubtedly be familiar with the issues that can arise when things go wrong. 

You might have realised that your current approach to test automation doesn’t work, or you’re simply trying to convince people in your company to move past repetitive and error-prone manual testing. Whoever you are, you’ll need to know how to approach management, know what the alternatives are and make it a business issue that resonates through the organisation.  

In order to do so, we need to start where the biggest pain is, and where it hurts the most. Major software failures have continued to bring even the most powerful organisations to their knees. it’s easy to point to fairly recent examples such as the grocery chain Sainsbury’s, who experienced a software issue in April 2021 that caused customers to be unable to access its online grocery delivery service, or the global bank JP Morgan Chase whose customers in February 2021 couldn’t access their accounts through the bank’s mobile app and website. The bill often runs high when outages and bugs prevent customers from consuming or vendors from delivering.

The good news? Despite the worrying regularity with which these incidents occur, they are not inevitable. Instead, they underscore the critical need for businesses to test their software to identify problems before deployment. However, fundamental flaws with how businesses approach software testing mean that huge swathes of software don’t get tested at all – leaving it at risk of debilitating issues.

Solving the problem with automation 

Although most organisations recognise the importance of software testing, millions still rely on manual processes to check quality. A fully manual approach to testing, however, presents a litany of problems – namely that around 70-75% of outages are caused by human error. Fortunately, businesses have a way past this dilemma. Instead of relying on manual processes, they can harness automation to supercharge testing. 

By leveraging automation, companies can fuel efficiencies, enabling them to test greater volumes of software while simultaneously removing the risk of human error, reducing application errors by as much as 90%. But there is one issue: test automation as you know it often can’t scale to the challenge, putting brakes on your company’s progress and leaving organisations with a difficult dilemma. 

The automation dilemma 

There are typically two approaches that companies take when it comes to test automation, scripted automation or investing in a test automation tool. If you have been tasked with implementing any of these approaches to automation, you will know that they come with their own set of issues

Within companies, they’ll typically have created an internal hub tasked with automation, to make stuff work automatically. Everyone knows how it is in reality. You put in a request to IT and it’s going to take a year—that’s the way the world works. IT is constantly overburdened. But why this constant brake on progress? 

While manual testing is repetitive, time-consuming, and error-prone, scripted automation comes with its own drawbacks. When you get down to it, scripted test automation is about creating scripts that will interact with your application. It’s a stack of code that has the objective of interacting with another stack of code. When the code of your application changes, it becomes very likely that your test scripts will also need to change. Therefore, if you don’t maintain your test scripts, they will quickly become useless.

How about test automation tools, then? You’ve probably been lectured from the market on ‘no-code’, AI, self-healing, and other amazing features. What is often sold as an easy, no-code, scalable solution is usually just a thin layer of UI based on top of a complex machine. Seen as a tool to free up developer resources, these tools are built by developers, for developers – not for testers, ending up presenting the same issues of scale and maintenance as presented by scripted test automation. 

If you were to ask automation teams directly whether these automation processes are working, they would say, “it’s a huge success. We’re continually working around the clock to add new functionality.” However, in a bar late at night, they might give a more candid answer as to whether they’re struggling to keep up with the automation scripts they have written, being as powerless as ever to solve the underlying problem. 

The problem with the type of automation that’s being introduced is that it’s synonymous with programming. Given the need for developers to move beyond straightforward automation processes that still require significant coding ability, how can we push the conversation with management towards an entirely new approach that will ultimately equip organisations with the tools to drive digital growth?

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Removing the language barrier

In order to truly solve this problem, organisations need to adopt an entirely new mindset when it comes to test automation. By adopting a code-less visual test automation solution that doesn’t require any understanding of code, businesses can achieve a wider coverage of testing, without having to compromise any existing software or systems. As a result, they can ensure their applications are of the highest quality, minimising the risk of damaging outages while accelerating business growth. This approach is proven to increase time to market tenfold. 

What are those benefits? It accelerates the testing process. It reduces the amount of interaction between testers and code so that more members of a QA team can be brought into the testing process.  

But changing the way your organisation approaches software testing starts with framing the issue differently; by not being able to scale test automation and keeping up the speed and quality required, how is this impacting your ability as a business or organisation to achieve your goals? Are you able to reach your business targets? Are you able to obtain your strategic objectives? Rather than communicating how many bugs are in the software, you’re talking about how automation impacts larger business goals—like revenue. 

When people have yet to experience the efficiency gains of codeless test automation and haven’t felt the benefits or improvements coming out of a codeless approach, it’s about defining the value of what truly scalable and easily maintainable automation brings. 

Rather than communicating how many bugs are in the software, software and quality assurance teams must emphasise how automation impacts larger business goals. For example, by adopting a visual, AI-powered approach to automation testing, the business can drive efficiencies and improve productivity by augmenting manual testing with robotic processes that take over repetitive, mundane tasks. 

With software failures capable of destroying revenues and reputation, software quality must be treated not as a siloed technical issue but as a fundamental pillar of business success. When viewing it from this perspective, it becomes abundantly clear that to mitigate risk, supercharge innovation, support transformation objectives, and fuel productivity, companies need to be looking towards a more codeless approach to their automated software testing. After all, in today’s digital economy, digital solutions are critical to business success.

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