Although test automation has great potential for reducing test costs and improving test quality, it will not happen without a proper strategy. Only through thorough planning will you be able to achieve consistent, reliable, and efficient automated testing that will in turn bring you the highest ROI. This article will give you recommendations on how to build a successful test automation strategy for modern ERP and CRM systems like Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Define Clear Objectives for Your Test Automation Project
The goals of implementing test automation can vary. Some companies want to improve resource utilization, test efficiency, and test coverage, while others focus on early defect detection. Whatever your organization’s goal, it should be clearly defined and have a specific timeframe. In addition, it is better if the goal is associated with a countable metric, as only by evaluating this parameter will you be able to understand the exact progress.
For example, you can set a goal to automate 80% of the total test coverage within one year, reduce the time spent on testing by 50% within six months, or detect 30% more bugs eight months after the implementation of your solution.
Your organization’s goal should be measurable, and cannot be vague and abstract, otherwise, you will not understand whether automation is working as intended.
Analyze the Tested Software
To get the most out of automated testing, it is necessary to understand the application you are planning to test well. Review the areas that can potentially be automated, and remember that any customizations and integrations you have added to your software will make it differ from the original product. This means that the testing requirements of two organizations relying on the same ERP or CRM system can differ a lot.
Remember that automated testing works most effectively for repetitive, time-consuming tasks that are prone to human error.
Choose an Appropriate Tool
If you want to achieve maximum automation of software products like Microsoft Dynamics 365, it makes sense to invest in no-code solutions, such as Executive Automats. Although this is a proprietary tool that comes with licensing costs, it can be used without any programming knowledge, which significantly minimizes the expenses of getting regular assistance from testing specialists. In addition, Executive Automats can be used not only for regression testing but also for performance testing, while it can also automate more tasks such as scheduling, results collection, and reporting.
However, if you want to use the same software for testing different types of applications and your budget allows you to employ a team of developers, you can consider other solutions that require technical skills. The popular open-source Selenium tool is one of these solutions. To use such a testing product, you will need to build a comprehensive infrastructure and set up a test automation framework, as Selenium is not available as an off-the-shelf solution and is rather used as a foundation for building your own testing tool. This requires a lot of extra work but allows organizations to create flexible testing applications.
Create Effective Test Cases
First of all, prioritize test cases to automate testing of the most critical areas. Even though automation allows organizations to increase test coverage, you still need time to create accurate test scripts, so it is better to start with the most urgent cases.
While creating your test scripts, make sure they are reusable, scalable, and easily maintainable. Your tests should be understandable to anyone who will be working with them and should be able to provide valuable insights for troubleshooting and debugging. This is possible if you keep them minimalistic and do not pack too much logic into them.
Furthermore, for efficient automated testing, you need appropriate error handling and reporting mechanisms which will help you detect and consequently fix problems faster.
Additionally, it is highly recommended to improve collaboration and communication between experts from different departments who can contribute to the testing process and software maintenance. Ensure that specialists from different areas of the company can participate in the discussion, creation, and evaluation of the tests. This is essential to make your tests more effective for real-world scenarios.
Some testing applications such as Executive Automats automatically update certain tests when the software is changed, but it is still highly recommended to check your tests regularly. You should not only check if they are up-to-date but also if they are effective.
Of course, you should focus on the parameters that you have previously set in your test objectives, but do not neglect other essential measurable points, for instance, test coverage, error detection rate, and test execution time. Also, track test stability and results, and consider employee feedback to evaluate software quality improvements.
Last but not least, monitor the cost and time savings your organization has achieved through automation. This is necessary to properly assess the value that test automation brings to your organization.
Avoid Test Automation Don’ts
When developing an effective test automation strategy, you should also be aware of common mistakes and pitfalls.
The first serious mistake many companies make is deploying test automation without planning a strategy. In such cases, only incredible luck can save organizations from failure. None of the above points should be left out.
Secondly, do not try to automate everything, which can lead to wasting resources on maintaining unstable tests with unreliable results.
Moreover, it is highly recommended not to depend solely on the record and playback functionality, although it can be useful as a starting point for automation. If you use exclusively this approach, you may eventually generate brittle and hard-to-maintain tests. Finally, do not ignore effective automation methodologies like data and keyword-driven frameworks.