What's your ROI on test automation? Can you increase it?
Test Automation is a logical step towards taking your QA process to the next level. Right from choosing the correct automated testing tool to the people associated with this initiative will impact the overall ROI. You know that and you have taken well informed and wise decisions. You have calculated the ROI as well. But have you ever thought of changing some or all parameters in your testing ecosystem that can further increase or accelerate your ROI?
ROI is nothing but return on investment(s) done. Simply put it is:
ROI is directly proportional to the benefits derived (keeping cost as constant)
Here, let’s assume cost of automation remains unchanged. This means I can neither increase nor decrease the cost of automation. I have to spend a fixed amount. But if somehow I increase the benefits derived from automation, my ROI will proportionally increase. Agreed?
ROI is inversely proportional to cost (keeping benefits derived as constant)
Here, let’s assume I derive the same benefits from test automation. No matter how and what I do to make test automation successful. I am unable to increase the benefits - both in number and proportion. But, if I can reduce the cost of automation, my ROI will increase. Now, I am able to derive the same benefits from test automation at a lower cost. Agreed?
We all know the reason for testing. Improve quality. We need quality, so we perform testing. Improved quality is an obvious benefit from testing. If it is not being derived then the whole purpose of testing is lost. So for this article, we will not consider quality improvements as a benefit that will contribute towards calculating ROI. Now let’s revisit the other benefits of test automation.
Productivity gains and cost savings are test automation benefits. But, the reason for these benefits is the increase in speed of test execution. Also, the ability to execute additional test cycles within a given schedule is because of increase in speed of test execution. All this eventually leads to faster time-to-market - which is a derived as well as an indirect benefit.
For the purpose of this article, we will consider ‘increase in speed of test execution’ as the benefit. So if I can either bolster this benefit further, i.e. increase the speed of test execution from what I already get or else I reduce the cost of automation and get the same speed of test execution - my ROI will increase in both cases.
What if we would do both the things? Increase the speed of test execution and decrease the cost of automation? Ooooooooohhhhhhhhhh! sounds wizardly. Doesn’t it? But, let me tell you it is possible.