Why Test Automation is Key to Speed to Market in the App Economy

Image source: App Annie

It is estimated that the global app economy will double in size and exceed $101 billion in revenue by 2020. The total time US users spent in apps grew by a staggering 63% on Android phones between 2014–2015, and as noted by App Annie, “apps are eating the web.” In order to facilitate speed to market, enterprises have moved quickly to adopt agile and DevOps practices in order to accelerate mobile app development cycles.

According to WQR, “shorter time frames demanded in an agile and DevOps- driven environment can only be met by increasing levels of automation.” Test automation allows DevOps teams to drastically recover the amount of time and resources lost with manual testing practices, cited by 49% of organizations as a “bottleneck in speeding up the development cycle time.”

IT leaders successfully leading their organisations through digital transformation initiatives fundamentally understand that apps have become an extension of your brand, irrespective of the industry you’re in. Interestingly, in the World Quality Report (2015–2016), data showed enterprise IT leaders driving early digital initiatives “appear to be spending the most on QA and Testing, indicating that they have made a direct connection between quality and achieving business outcomes.”

Manual Testing continues to be a bottleneck to speed

Image source: World Quality Report 2015–2016

Although enterprise level test automation investment has seen a remarkable jump from 28% to 45% in the past year, 39% of executives surveyed continued to cite a reliance on manual testing as one of their top five challenges in app development.

This is generally due to the initial higher cost required to implement test automation for DevOps teams, which senior management can find prohibitive. Yet the ability to automate tests continuously is critical for agile practice, which demands continuous and rapid changes to be made during product development cycles. It is critical that defects caused by continuous changes to the code are caught early in the app development cycle to minimize quality risk.

Test automation and regression testing

Test automation allows for extensive regression testing, which enables your team to verify app compatibility with newly released OSs. Regression testing ensures product stability while changes are continually made to the software; essentially you need to be certain that the newest changes to the code won’t break the existing functionality of the app.

It’s important to note regression testing is necessary even when a minor change is made to the code, which can potentially introduce new bugs to the software or reintroduce old bugs that had previously been resolved. Attempting to perform all your regression testing manually would be a huge drain on your team’s time and resources. Furthermore, the repetitive nature of the testing would also make it error prone if done manually by testers.

By utilizing test automation testers can free up to 70% of their time. Image source: TestObject

By the end of 2017, apps are predicted to reach 270 billion in downloads worldwide, and within the last two years, we’ve seen the percentage of organizations employing mobile testing solutions jump from 55% to 92%. Speed to market has become a critical focus for IT leaders as software development cycles shorten and businesses race to shrink time from product inception to deployment.

With the continued reliance on manual testing slowing down app development cycles, IT leaders must recognize the macro benefits of investing in quality test automation software for their DevOps team, to ensure speed to market is achieved without compromising product quality.

Hannes Lenke is the CEO of TestObject, a leading mobile testing provider that offers a comprehensive cloud based platform for automated and manual testing. Hannes is a co-founder of Berlin Mobile Quality Crew, a Berlin-based startup network that aims to bring people together who want to share their knowledge and experiences in mobile testing. You can follow Hannes on Twitter here @hlenke.