If you’ve requested any kind of tool or service to help your team out in the past, you’ve probably been asked to justify why the expense is necessary or worth the cost. When it comes to test automation, the situation is usually no different as the people responsible for finances will want to see you show your work when you say that it’s worth the cost.

A lot of us in the software world are starting to take test automation as a given. Many of our peers also inherently understand why it makes sense, so it’s easy for us to all move in the same direction without questioning the process. However, what if your team is actually making the wrong investments or missing out on business value based on the time and resources that you’re spending on test automation? Here are some tips for ensuring you get the best ROI from your test automation spend.

What is ROI and how to calculate it

ROI stands for Return on Investment. It is a metric that measures the efficiency of an investment, or in this case, the effectiveness of test automation. ROI is calculated by dividing the net benefit (benefit minus cost) of the investment by the cost of the investment, and then multiplying by 100 to express it as a percentage.

For test automation, the ROI calculation would look like this:

ROI = (Net Benefit / Cost of Test Automation) x 100

Net benefit is calculated by subtracting the total cost of test automation from the total benefits gained. The cost of test automation includes both direct and indirect costs, such as the cost of test automation tools, the cost of training, the cost of developing and maintaining test scripts, and the cost of any additional hardware or infrastructure required. The benefits of test automation include increased test coverage, faster test execution, improved test accuracy, and reduced test maintenance costs.

Once you have calculated the ROI of your test automation, you can use that number to determine whether the investment in test automation is worthwhile. A higher ROI indicates a better return on investment and suggests that the investment in test automation is more beneficial than the costs.

Why is it important to measure the ROI of test automation?

There are several reasons why it’s important that every team measure the ROI of their test automation efforts. Since ROI is often tied to efficiency, the reasons for measuring ROI become increasingly important with scale, as well.

Here are some of the key reasons why measuring test automation ROI is important:
  • You need to understand if your current test automation efforts are worth your time and resources
  • You need to understand if you’re missing out on better ROI
  • Your financial or accounting team may need to understand ROI at a detailed level for business reporting purposes
  • Demonstrating the value you get from test automation can help you demonstrate the value that you and your team bring to the organization, so everyone can understand the importance of your work

Thinking of it inversely, not measuring test automation is an easy trap to fall into, but puts you at risk of not getting as much return on investment as you should be, which in turn won’t reflect well upon your team.

If you need help calculating ROI, check out our other posts about calculating the ROI of test automation or reach out to our team for help.

How can a team maximize test automation ROI?

Since it’s crucially important for your organization to get the best return from your investment, you’ll need to regularly reassess your efforts to look for efficiencies. When it comes to testing automation, maximizing ROI is all about volume, quality, time, and effort.

When it comes to modern software development teams, this usually means implementing the next wave of test automation tools like those provided by testRigor. Here are some examples of ways we’re seeing testRigor customers realize stronger ROI by implementing newer test automation technology:
  • Introducing adaptive tests that are smart enough to target UI elements no matter where they move to on the page or what they look like can help you save time by avoiding constant tweaks and adjustments to tests. ROI area: lower test maintenance costs.
  • Tests that can be written in plain English by less technical team members can help save time and shift work to less costly labor resources. ROI area: lower labor costs.
  • Machine learning is based on actual user behavior with the live software in production, to help suggest and build new tests automatically. ROI area: lower test creation and coverage costs.
  • Going codeless with a modern test automation platform that doesn’t require deep technical knowledge for most common needs. ROI area: lower labor costs.
  • Use a comprehensive test automation solution that can be fully hosted so you can get up to speed immediately and avoid ongoing infrastructure upkeep costs. ROI area: lower infrastructure costs.

These examples are all common ways that our customers realize big gains in ROI with testRigor and ways your team can likewise find greater success from your investments.

Common mistakes with test automation resource allocation

On the flip side, many teams are missing out on vast ROI gains simply by failing to adapt and evolve. Here are some common mistakes that you should avoid to prevent ROI loss:
  • Continuing to fully rely on highly technical, open-source testing tools like Selenium, Cypress, and other similar platforms. ROI loss area: higher labor costs
  • Writing tests in technical code instead of using a tool that supports plain English test writing. ROI loss area: higher labor costs
  • Manually interviewing users and digging through utilization data to try to understand where test coverage might be needed or require improvements. ROI loss area: higher test creation and maintenance costs
  • Tests are written in fragile, inflexible code that breaks easily when the software project has changed in the UI. ROI loss area: higher test maintenance costs
  • Spending a ton of time maintaining the infrastructure of open-source tools installed on-prem or in the cloud, instead of using a fully hosted solution like testRigor. ROI loss area: infrastructure costs

As you can see, relying solely on older, so-called traditional tools may seem like a no-brainer, but that’s only if you haven’t been actively keeping up with the latest advances in the test automation space. For forward-thinking leaders, using the latest test automation technology with a platform like testRigor is a must for maximizing ROI in test automation efforts. Once you use testRigor, you’ll never go back, and you can save even more time and cost by ditching your older, less advanced software testing tools.