Reducing testing costs is often the first thing organizations think about when they consider adopting test automation. After all, software testing is shockingly expensive; it accounts for an average of 23-35% of the overall IT spend, per the latest World Quality Report. Test automation frees us to focus on more interesting and value-added tasks while routine checks are performed faster, more frequently, and with increased precision.
Clearly, the value is there. However, even open-source testing tools require a resource investment, and that requires the buy-in of someone higher up. How do you convince the business that test automation is really worth the time, effort, and cost required?
The typical approach is to perform a simple ROI calculation: estimating how many manual testing hours you can free up, and then multiplying that by the testers’ hourly rates. That’s certainly a good starting point. But the elements of a strong business case for test automation consider time-to-market, quality/risk, as well as a much broader assessment of ROI. Let’s look at each in turn.