With digital transformation dominating the technology landscape, enterprises of today are facing aggressive competition and endless customer demands. To keep up with this, they need to give a seamless customer experience through faster releases and new product features. How can this be achieved without sacrificing the quality of the product? The answer is – through Shift Left testing that promotes testing to be done often and from the early stages of development. This is achieved through test automation.
A few years back realizing this, many enterprises jumped on the wagon to implement test automation through tools and frameworks. But these tools somehow stopped upgrading or were not designed to cope up with the digital transformation that we are seeing these days. Instead of helping organizations achieve their goals, legacy tools become a hindrance in providing better solutions. Here I will list down few problems of such legacy tools that need to be considered when businesses look for ROI from their test automation setup –
1. Old test automation tools are budget overkill
Legacy test automation tools such as HP UFT do not come cheap. On top of this, 80% of the budget goes just into the maintenance of these legacy test automation tools. Not only this, infrastructure setup along with the integration limitation, proves to be expensive. Every six months, enterprises must keep on increasing resources just to maintain the status quo of these legacy systems, which seems like an endless loop wherein they are trapped. Enterprises have a budget to invest more in technology and resources but simply putting the majority of the investments in maintaining the legacy tool or infrastructure is not going to give them the desired outcomes.
These tools do not provide a subscription-based or user licensing model. The legacy tools need to be setup in your company and whether anyone uses them or not, they are like an elephant in the room – occupying your precious space even when they are not needed.
Modern Tools: Test automation tools are meant to support automated processes and workflows. Contemporary agile methodology and DevOps practice promote end-to-end automation in CI/CD pipeline. For this to achieve, it is necessary for automation tools to smoothly integrate with DevOps enabled tools such as Jenkins, Maven, Bamboo, Jira, etc. Legacy automation tools either do not or are rather difficult to integrate with these DevOps tools. Other modern tools such as Netsuite implementation are available too, and it is great providing you have a strong project manager to complete the process.
2. Huge maintenance burden
Automation tool/framework stops upgrading:
Maintaining and customizing existing automation tools such as HP UFT, IBM Rational and open-source frameworks such as Selenium is a massive overhead for organizations. The technology requires the implementation of legacy languages and programming tools that are outdated. What compounds the challenge is that the developing company no longer supports older versions of your architecture, necessitating heavy investment in updates and licenses.
Tool is too fragile, rigid, and not scalable:
Legacy automation tools become fragile due to all the patchwork implemented on them. Further, they are built on an architecture that does not allow them to scale or change to meet your fast-paced business demands. Because of this rigidity, the only option available is to keep on making manual code fixtures here and there on top of your legacy systems, in the hope that one day these legacy systems will align to your business needs.
Too much of patchwork:
Maintenance on this frigid, patched automation tool is huge and they are the sunk costs whose value in the business contribution is hard to realize. When organizations start comparing the support and maintenance costs of legacy automation tool with that of replacing it with a modern solution, they find that maintaining these fixtures are proving costlier and pose a great risk to business than finally replacing it.
Modern tools: Contemporary automation tool provides practical solutions to the maintenance problems with the features like self-healing and integration with cloud device farms such as SauceLabs, LambdaTest, etc. Self-healing of scripts automatically detects altered elements to find out the locators without any manual intervention from testers, saving time and resources.
3. Hiring skills for these legacy automation tools
How many young resources will you find in the market today who are trained or experts working on HP UFT or COBOL or for that matter any other mainframe programming languages? I guarantee there will be none to zero. Most of these legacy tools are developed using old languages such as VBScript and “C” script. For example, HP UFT uses VB Scripting. Legacy automation tools were developed in such a way that you would need specially trained talents to work with them. Hence, hiring resources for such legacy tools is a challenge.
4. Drawbacks of open-source frameworks
Open-source frameworks are primarily built for the web and lack support for web services (API), mobile, Windows desktop, or any other IoT-enabled devices. This is an era of digital transformation and technological advances. Support for mobile devices is not a luxury anymore but a necessity.
There are endless drawbacks of these open-source frameworks. They cannot be easily setup in an existing test environment. If you want to integrate with other tools to extend the automation capabilities, then you need to code for each integration. This is a tedious task. You need to create reporting functionality on your own. Basically, to get the basic functionality your team will have to build an entire automation tool on top of open-source frameworks.
Modern tools: Instead, there are readily available test automation tools that use open-source automation frameworks like Selenium and Appium to get structure, efficiency, and reusability to your automated testing efforts. Such tools enable advanced automation with coded automation and manual testers to adopt automated testing easily.
5. Speedy go-to-market releases
The whole purpose of test automation is to perform testing frequently with maximum test coverage. However, legacy automation frameworks such as Selenium and UFT are close-knit with cumbersome and lengthy MANUAL steps. Many times, teams have to setup a lengthy manual process for creating test scripts and executing test automation. Your team devoting time and resources on such tasks is a big blow on your bottom line.
Modern tools: Test automation tools are meant to support automated processes and workflows. Contemporary agile methodology and DevOps practice promote end-to-end automation in CI/CD pipeline. For this to achieve, it is necessary for automation tools to smoothly integrate with DevOps enabled tools such as Jenkins, Maven, Bamboo, Jira, etc. Legacy automation tools either do not or are rather difficult to integrate with these DevOps tools.
This hugely impacts the faster releases that are required for enterprises.
What’s the solution? Measure ROI of test automation
Test automation brings immense benefits to the team and ultimately to the company’s bottom line. However, implementing test automation is a major investment that any organization should consider. Whether you are planning to start test automation or have already implemented it, it is important to calculate the ROI of test automation. However, calculating the ROI of test automation may not be a simple or straightforward calculation because automated testing improves profitability in three ways.
Calculate the ROI of test automation to know what you can expect with your investments in an Automated Testing tool.
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