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Return on Investment for Automated Testing

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Test automation is often seen as a way to reduce the costs of testing, increase test coverage and effectiveness, and shorten testing cycles. In fact many software organizations consider automation as a vital step in establishing a mature QA program and it certainly has a lot of value if it can be effectively leveraged. However, it can never eliminate the manual testing, which is crucial for thorough testing of software applications, completely.

Automated testing involves higher upfront costs and should be looked at as a long-term investment where the pay-offs come anywhere between 2-4 years down the road. One has to keep in mind that there are various intangible benefits associated with automation. Performing a return on investment (ROI) for your planned automation can however help you understand right at the beginning the actual returns that you will get from your investments and you can weigh those against the benefits you will gain from automation.

To that end, Aspire Systems has developed a Test Automation ROI Calculator with which you can determine a high level approximation of effort and cost.  The test automation calculator comes up with an approximation of effort and savings if you choose to move towards test automation based on the following factors:

Product Details

  • Type of product                   

  • Age of your product           


  • Presentation layer                   

  • Middleware                   

  • Database                   

QA Team Size

  • Manual testing team size               

  • Automation team size (if any)               

Release Details

  • Number of releases planned for the year               

Test Execution Parameters

  • Number of existing regression test cases               

  • Number of configurations to be tested               

  • Required number of regression test cycles per release               

Cost Details

  • Hourly cost per QA resource               

  • QA environment cost               

Test Automation Tool

  • Test automation tool cost               

Test Automation Parameters

  • % of test cases that can be considered for test automation               

  • Estimated base time required to build test automation suite               

  •     Less: Usage of reusable components               

  •     Add: Time required to design the automation framework            

  •     Add: Time required to build batch scripts            

Cost Details

  • Hourly cost per test automation resource              

Automation is a strategic decision and an understanding on the potential ROI will help in the decision to invest in automation. This tool may be help you determine what works for you.  

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