The success of many companies increasingly depends on software. To ensure quality, it must be tested. However, the increasingly complex underlying systems and shorter release cycles make testing a time-consuming and sometimes tedious challenge. Automated testing and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) could provide a solution. However, a study conducted by Forrester now shows that companies are still reluctant to use automation and artificial intelligence, but that they are on the rise.
The study, commissioned by Keysight Technologies, surveyed 406 test operations decision makers at companies in North America, EMEA, and APAC about current test environments and challenges, future investments, and expected outcomes from test automation. In the survey, 84% of respondents said that complex testing is part of their daily routine. However, this has not only increased the number of tests but also their length. The effort required increases exponentially. According to the experts, this leads either to higher security risks (51% agree) or to higher costs (48%) and longer time-to-market (42%).
Automation and AI together ensure shorter test times as well as higher test coverage, test quality, and test reach
To counteract this, 75% of companies already use a combination of automated and manual tests. But only 11% rely on a fully automated strategy. The pressure on companies is increasing because manual or partially automated strategies no longer meet today's requirements. In fact, 45% of companies say they plan to use an automated testing approach in the next three years (an increase of over 400%). But automation is only as good as the analytics and insights it delivers. That's because respondents say that in more than half of the cases, more testing than needed is done. So, automation is part of the solution thanks to shortening test time, but it does not solve the problems of test reach, quality, and coverage. Implementing automated and intelligent testing systems, backed by analytics and insights, would improve both test speed and test coverage. 52% of companies plan to rely on artificial intelligence (AI) for this purpose, an increase of 325%.
Fig. 1 Test Smarter with Automation and AI implementation
With these implementations, companies are seeking significant operational improvements such as increased productivity (59%), the ability to simulate features and performance (54%), automation of bug fixing, and shorter time-to-market (50%). As a result, they see higher product quality, higher customer satisfaction (59%), and increased revenue and product sales.
Recommendations for companies looking to increase the level of automation and intelligence in testing systems
Reinforce the cost savings of moving towards more automation. Automating mindless tests not only reduces testing costs but also leverages resources to be used better elsewhere.
Use AI for integrated testing and to reduce unnecessary test cases. Intelligent, integrated testing provides both more optimized (not necessarily greater) test coverage and the ability to support agile product development and release.
Establish a tighter relationship to holistic business results. Forrester sees an opportunity for test teams to make a compelling business case for implementing the cultural and technological changes above.
Humans are still an important part of the testing process. Empower and augment them, don't replace them.