RPA as an automated software testing tool
Testing and test automation
Software testing is an essential part of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Skipping this crucial step in the development process can result in significant financial and reputational damage to the product and the company. That's why we will look more closely at the following key points and pinpoint why software testing is so important in the development process:
- It helps you save money: If the bug is found later in the process, more money has to be spend to fix it. IBM  reports that repairing a bug during the implementation phase costs 6.5 times more than fixing it during the design phase. Moreover, if the bug is discovered during maintenance, IBM says that the cost of repair is up to 100 times higher than if the bug were discovered in the design phase. Moral of the story: the sooner a bug is found, the cheaper it is to fix it.
- Security: In an era in which we can read about security and data breaches on a daily basis, organizations want to give their users some peace of mind that their software is safe to use. The only way to ensure this promise to their customers is by extensively and continuously testing the security of their applications.
- Product quality & customer satisfaction: Developers have to confirm that their application meets the requirements and that it adheres to the organization's quality standards. This ensures that the application works properly and provides an excellent user experience.
The points above describe why software testing is essential in any development process and why it is an advantage for both developers and business if it is carried out properly. However, there is a challenge you'll face when trying to implement proper testing practices: there are many tests you have to perform. If you're just working on an application, it's certainly not that difficult to write and run your own test. But it's no longer that simple if we scale up this one developer application to a business application, with a whole team of dedicated developers constantly changing code and features.
Running all tests will take a considerable amount of time and resources. This is where automation testing comes into play, making it possible to create scripts that can run automatically and will report the results. Automation testing (1) saves time, (2) increases test coverage, (3) improves testing accuracy and (4) can do things that manual testers can't. Considering these benefits, it is not a surprise that the test automation market is estimated to grow from $8,5 billion in 2018 to $19,2 in 2023.
Test automation with RPA
Before we get into the knowhow of utilizing an RPA tool to perform automated testing, we need to clear up a common myth first. Just because test automation tools and RPA tools both involve automation and have the same goal of reducing manual labour/error and delivering quality, does not mean that they are the same. Test automation tools are applied to a product, such as an e-commerce store where its features and requirements are tested. Although RPA tools can be used for this purpose, they can also be applied in other business processes other than testing e.g. data entry, HR onboarding, finance processes, etc. What really makes RPA stand out in an automated testing process, is the fact that it can be used to perform end-to-end testing between a wide variety of applications (web, desktop, mainframe, etc.). In the past, we had to develop APIs to integrate systems and complex ETL processes, while now, we can develop an RPA robot that can extract raw data from a single application via an API call, transform this data and go to multiple application user interfaces to enter and extract data. RPA tools excel in testing automation because we don't need to make any changes to the existing infrastructure; the robot can use each application's available APIs and user interfaces to perform the testing.
So how do we start with automated testing by using RPA?
The first step, as in a regular testing process, is to set up a test plan. This test plan should contain the test strategy, test objectives and criteria, resource planning and the deliverables. The next step is to write the test cases in the form of a Process Design Document (PDD); this will allow RPA developers to build the robot according to the specifications of the test case. Furthermore, this will indicate the steps that the robot must take to complete the test case and the causes of a test case's failure. When these test cases have been developed, we can merge relevant test cases into a regression test suite.
If you are interested in applying RPA in your automation testing, feel free to contact us! g>?? At RoboRana, we have successfully implemented more than 220 test cases at one of our customers to provide them with a full regression testing suite. This suite can run every time they deploy a new release.