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How to Get The Best ROI in Test Automation

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?

ROI stands for Return on Investment. It is a financial metric that measures the efficiency of an investment. It is usually expressed as a percentage, and it is calculated by taking the net benefit of the investment (profit) and dividing it by the cost of the investment. The result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio. In general, the higher the ROI, the more efficient the investment.

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

The concept of quality

Before getting deep into the topic of ROI for test automation, we ought to understand the concept of quality. Let’s discuss how poor quality can impact business. This impact can be high, severe, and far-reaching. It can lead to reputation damage, or the company’s expenses can significantly increase and lead to a severe loss of business and revenue. Studies have shown that the end cost of high quality software is 22 ~ 50 times lower than the cost of poor quality software, and this is a comparative figure that is derived from real-life examples. High-quality, performance-oriented, and fast-paced deliverables are the need of the hour. Test automation is the key to achieving these needs and having the ability to return multiples of the amount of time, effort, and money invested. In the following section, let’s examine the reasons for poor software quality.

Testing-related factors that lead to poor software quality:

  • Improper test planning or an overall approach to testing
  • Lack of skills or sound technical knowledge
  • Ineffective automation feasibility study
  • Absence of a robust and effective test automation framework
  • Tight deadlines coupled with the effort focused on manual testing only
  • End-to-end testing scenarios not covered
  • Selection of incorrect test automation tool
  • Poorly maintainable code and complex framework
  • Inaccurate analysis of test failures and reporting

How to calculate the ROI?

To calculate the ROI of test automation, you need to determine the costs of test automation, including the cost of the tools, the cost of setting up and maintaining the test automation environment, the cost of training and hiring staff, and any other costs associated.

You also need to determine the benefits of test automation, including the time and money saved by automating manual testing, the reduction in the number of defects found in production, the increased speed and coverage of testing, and any other benefits.

To calculate the ROI, you can use the following formula:

ROI = (Gain from test automation – Cost of test automation)/Cost of test automation x 100

Here’s an explanation of the factors involved in this calculation:

  1. Benefits of Test Automation:
    • Time savings: Automation can significantly reduce the time spent on manual testing, allowing testers to focus on other tasks, such as exploratory testing or test case creation.
    • Improved test coverage: Automated testing can cover a larger number of test cases and scenarios, ensuring that more defects are caught early in the development process.
    • Faster time to market: With quicker testing cycles, the software can be released to market faster, potentially leading to increased revenue.
    • Reduced human error: Automated tests are less prone to human error, leading to more reliable testing results.
    • Test repeatability: Automated tests can be run numerous times with the same level of accuracy, ensuring consistent results.
  2. Cost of Test Automation:
    • Initial setup costs: This includes the cost of acquiring test automation tools, setting up the test environment, and creating initial test scripts.
    • Maintenance costs: Over time, test scripts and the test environment may need updates or modifications, incurring additional costs.
    • Training costs: Team members may require training to learn how to use the test automation tools effectively.
    • Infrastructure costs: Running automated tests may require additional hardware or software resources, such as servers or cloud services.
To summarize, the main investment benefits that we get from test automation are:
  • Speed -> How faster the STLC becomes
  • Quality -> Improved product quality
  • Cost saving -> How much costs are saved after implementing test automation

Cost savings are significantly reduced compared to manual testing efforts since the regression is driven by automation.

For example, if the cost of test automation is $100,000 and the benefits amount to $250,000, the ROI would be:

ROI = ($250,000 – $100,000) / $100,000 = 1.5 (or 150%)

This means that for every dollar invested in test automation, the return on investment is 1 dollar and 50 cents.

It’s important to note that ROI calculation is a simplified representation of investment and benefits, it is important to consider other factors such as the impact of automation on customer satisfaction, the quality of the product, and the ability to release the product faster.

Test phases with strong influence on the ROI:

There are 3 phases in the STLC that can influence ROI:
  • Test Case Development
  • Test Execution
  • Maintenance

Due to consecutive development cycles, more and more features get added, and test effort is increased significantly. With agile methodology, the number of iterations is high, and test automation becomes the only option to handle the already existing test suite from a maintenance perspective and the addition of new features into the existing test suite from an enhancement perspective.

Factors to be considered for successful test automation:

A few success factors need to be taken care of so that test automation does not become a liability. Here are the main ones:
  • Selection of an automation tool: ease of tool implementation and usage, amount of test maintenance required, supported built-in features, compatibility with other tools
  • Efficient test automation strategy
  • Setting test automation priorities from the get-go
  • Scalability
  • Minimal human intervention during test execution
  • Test data handling protocols and standards
  • Supported robust features for CI/CD pipelines
  • High-quality and self-explanatory test execution reports
  • Enabling collaboration among all project stakeholders
  • Good documentation support
  • Ease of debugging and failure analysis

Why traditional open-source test automation tools won’t yield a great ROI

There are several reasons why achieving a great ROI with legacy test automation tools such as Selenium can be difficult:
  1. Speed of framework setup and writing tests: initial setup is complex, tests are hard to write the right way and therefore end up being extremely costly once you factor in engineer salaries.
  2. High maintenance costs: a lot of maintenance and upkeep are needed, which can be time-consuming and costly. The scripts need to be updated and maintained regularly to keep up with changes in the application under test.
  3. Difficulty in scaling: scripts are often difficult to scale and can become unwieldy as the number of test cases increases. This can lead to increased costs and longer test execution times.
  4. Limited test coverage: scripts may not be able to cover all aspects of the application under test, which can lead to incomplete testing and potential bugs being missed.
  5. High-level of technical expertise required: A high level of technical expertise to be able to set up, write, and maintain test scripts. This can make it difficult for non-technical team members to get involved in the test automation process and can increase the cost of test automation.

Overall, legacy test automation tools like Selenium can be a great tool for automating basic test cases, but they are not always the best fit for more complex test cases and they may not be able to provide the same level of ROI as more advanced test automation tools that have been designed specifically to address these issues.

How testRigor helps in achieving the best ROI

All the test automation success factors discussed in the above section are supported by testRigor.

testRigor is a no-code test automation tool that helps customers overcome numerous manual and automation testing challenges:
  1. The initial setup is effortless and only takes a few minutes.
  2. Creating automated tests is significantly faster compared to other tools, enabling rapid expansion of testing coverage.
  3. The tests are written in plain English, resembling standard manual test cases, which means the entire team can participate and collaborate.
  4. Tests are very robust, and test maintenance barely takes any time (95% less than with Selenium, as measured by our customers).
  5. Seamless integration with tools like Jira, TestRail, Azure, and most CI/CD tools is possible, ensuring a smooth workflow.

testRigor’s approach to building an end-to-end test automation suite is unique. The tool uses AI in element detection, test creation, and test case execution. The reporting is self-explanatory and comprehensive, with screenshots for each step.

testRigor is like a one-stop solution for carrying out end-to-end testing activities, building robust regression end-to-end test suites, and delivering high quality to end users.

One thing we’ve heard multiple times from our clients is this: “When we shop for a new software tool, a lot of companies have great presentations – but don’t deliver post-sales. With testRigor, we feel that we’re getting the best value for the money daily.” You might be curious to check out some of our case studies here.

Click here to access a detailed ROI calculator

Key takeaways

Measuring the ROI of test automation is important because it allows organizations to determine the value and effectiveness of their test automation efforts. By measuring the ROI of test automation, organizations can identify areas where they are seeing a positive return on their investment and areas where they may need to make adjustments. This information can help organizations make informed decisions about how to allocate resources, prioritize testing efforts, and improve overall testing efficiency. Additionally, measuring test automation ROI can help companies justify the associated costs to stakeholders and decision-makers. Ultimately, measuring test automation ROI allows organizations to ensure that their test automation efforts are providing the desired benefits and achieving their intended goals.