As a CIO, each of you are facing a unique set of challenges in 2015, whether you are integrating COTS products, moving to the cloud, focusing on data security, going mobile, or maybe even something totally unique to your company. What if I told you that there was a feasible solution that cuts through company specific challenges and will fuel your success as a CIO?
When considering how to achieve success, CIOs rarely think about QA. As a CIO, you know how to implement technology in a robust and scalable way. However, if you do not demonstrate that you can move quickly and add sufficient value, you may marginalize your IT organization and hold back from driving your business. The one solution that is the key to moving fast and driving value is test automation.
If implemented correctly, test automation will result in your CEO and Board thanking you throughout the year for being responsible for improving productivity, increasing quality, and pushing the business forward.
Why Test Automation
Test automation is a great way to combine repetitive tests, increase test coverage, and enhance the IT organization. Manually testing repetitive scenarios can take a toll on your resources, taking away from budget that can be spent on innovation. Automated testing reduces the need for error-prone, non-documented, non-repeatable manual testing. With test automation, applications can be updated at a moments notice to meet strategic direction changes, enhanced business or product needs, regulatory changes, or just to improve time to market. Once a proper automation infrastructure is put in place, additional resources can be allocated to other areas. This often allows CIOs to apply budget in other types of QA that were not supported previous such as security, performance and integration testing.
The benefits of automation, especially when backed by a defined test automation strategy and robust, maintainable automation framework, are high-quality applications, deployed quickly as needed, enabling the ability to focus on other important IT innovations.
How to Implement Successful Test Automation
In order for test automation to be effective, robust, portable, and maintainable, a clear strategy must be in place. While this strategy may vary by organization, products, current technology, and project requirements, there are some basic guidelines to follow. These guidelines include evaluating and identifying:
• Reasons for automation
• Which tests should be automated
• Which test should not be automated
• Parameters required
• How and when to automate
• Resources required
• Metrics to measure your automation effort
• Metrics to measure automation success
As your strategy gets built, you will begin to answer many questions including: Is it worth it to automate? Is automation feasible? How much can be automated? What should my budget be? What is the automation scope? What types of tools does my team need to invest in?
As your team begins the automation process, keep in mind that they may need to make changes and refine their approach. Refining the testing procedures can ensure maximum productivity out of test automation.
It is essential to measure various aspects of your automation process to determine if you are on a path to success. For example, you may decide to measure the velocity or throughput of automation and the quality of the suite or code. Measuring velocity can help you determine the time to market for your product or application. You can also measure coverage, which can help you determine the right amount of investment. Another point to consider is the maintenance of automation over time. Will your team be able to have a robust framework that can be put in place over the course of various iterations? The last thing that any CIO wants is to invest in automation that does not get used.
Automation success extends beyond just one automation suite and just measuring the implementation of just one automation project. In order to accurately demonstrate success, you want to measure the outcomes of automation. By measuring automation outcomes, you can effectively communicate the automation value versus the spend. We have seen customers who won more business because test automation enabled sales to access new systems more quickly. We have also seen customers who reduced costs by using test automation to release more features that made business processes more effective. Each outcome gives dollar values to the benefits of test automation.
Measuring how test automation has enabled innovations across the business magnifies ROI. Your return from automation may take the form of increased number of projects completed or increased number of features released. You may consider demonstrating to your CEO and Board the success you had in integrating COTS products, moving to the cloud, focusing on data security, or going mobile, all enabled by test automation.
As a CIO you have several options when it comes to how you will organize your testing, but automation can save you time and free up additional resources. Furthermore, you need to be able to deploy applications at a moment’s notice based on risks, threats, and policy decisions that take place between budgeting cycles. Test automation can help drive business, fueling your success.