It’s hard to overstate how challenging software development is today. The market for web and mobile applications is more competitive than ever. Hiring and retaining high-quality software developers and engineers feels next to impossible given the low unemployment rate for IT professionals (just under 2% in the U.S. according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
The industry is turning to citizen developers to address the bottlenecks organizations face with digital transformation. Citizen developers are building products and workflows that drive business value using powerful low-code application platforms (LCAPs). These tools and workflows still need to be tested, though. Citizen developers don't have time to manually test and aren't going to build traditional automated testing suites.
This is where low-code test automation can help.
Gartner defines low-code as follows:
“Low-code both describes platforms that abstract away from code and offer an integrated set of tools to accelerate app delivery.”
In essence, low-code testing tools simplify application testing by removing most, if not all, manual coding from the process. This allows so-called “citizen testers”— typically product managers, product owners, business analysts, etc. without specialized technical skills—to participate in the testing process and ultimately get more involved in the software development lifecycle (SDLC).
According to Gartner’s IT Automation Predictions for 2021, improvements in automation capabilities will refocus 30% of IT operation efforts from support to continuous improvement. The citizen-code/no-code/low-code movement promises a new era of rapid and continuous application development whether teams are leveraging enterprise-packaged SaaS tools (like Oracle, Salesforce and WorkDay) or building their own custom web and mobile applications.
By essentially democratizing software development and lowering the barriers to testing through an intuitive and globally understood framework, low-code test automation offers a more agile alternative that can help companies scale their development organizations to keep up with today’s most pressing demands and expectations. In short, low-code test automation can bring enormous value to your business.
Low-code also helps to address one of the most pervasive problems faced by QA teams in today’s world of rapid, continuous development: test debt. Test debt is incurred when there is a failure in testing that is not fixed before the code is released to production. For example, if your test automation suite fails to identify the correct UI element in your application, then you have created some extra work for yourself: you will need to course correct that automation script as soon as possible and fix it before it causes trouble in production.
Test debt can be more insidious if it’s not constantly measured and kept in check. However, just knowing about it is not enough. QA teams need to be able to reduce test debt in a coordinated manner. Low-code testing enables this coordination by enabling collaboration between cross-functional teams without the barrier of needing a highly technical skillset.
Low-code testing represents a unique opportunity to drive out a major structural cost center—test debt–and replace it with an “always-on” infrastructure that is not only more efficient but also more powerful in terms of its scalability, coverage, awareness of change, and responsiveness to downstream factors. High-performing product teams receive the compound benefits of more frequent deployments, shorter lead times, and lower change fail rates.
Low-code test automation tools cut down on the time, cost, risk and general inefficiencies of standard practices today. With these tools, a disjointed collection of engineers and citizen testers can transform into more collaborative and efficient teams.
When companies transition to intelligent low-code test automation, they typically see cost savings of 25 percent to 75 percent. Not all core elements of your business can be completely automated, but identifying a few areas—generating automation scripts, managing and healing test scripts, cross-browser and cross-platform automated testing—can allow your team to focus on other aspects of the business. This helps reduce labor costs and improve employee productivity.
Low-code automation can take English-written test cases created by anyone and generate automation scripts within a few clicks. This means anyone can be a tester. The burden of writing automation code is removed from the process, meaning a new cohort of citizen testers are provided the autonomy to play a major role in delivering software quality at speed in a more efficient and effective way.
Intelligent testing provides a more efficient and effective way to manage test debt since the burden of tasks like maintaining scripts is removed from the already overwhelmed engineering team. AI-powered test automation also provides the possibility to drive out major cost centers across the software testing life cycle: the cost of outsourcing, the cost of recruiting, the cost of staffing up/onboarding, the cost of manual testing, the cost of managing change, and so on. This contributes to an intelligent infrastructure that rarely experiences downtime caused by a lack of human coordination.
Low-code testing is becoming an essential aspect of testing that should be included in every product team’s arsenal. It makes room for less technical users to get more involved with the software delivery lifecycle, allowing a culture of quality to be unlocked across the organization. While there is a lot of value from other forms of testing such as unit and integration testing, it can often be limited by the number of trained engineers on hand and time needed to complete end-to-end testing.
Invoking a shift-left culture in our testing process yields the ability for low-code testing to be successful and will enable everyone to take responsibility for software quality with minimal level of risk.
Learn more about the AutonomIQ Sauce Labs low-code platform and see how Sauce Labs can help your team with your low-code testing needs.
Low-code is not futuristic wishful thinking and AutonomIQ helps deliver this winning formula to cross-functional teams: remove bottlenecks to innovation and delivery by encouraging simplicity in an environment riddled with siloed activity and overwhelming complexity. Furthermore, it expedites the delivery of an elevated user experience and digital confidence that surpasses customer expectations, and drives community growth. Lastly, this allows teams to overcome the challenges with heightened test debt and seeding the positive outcomes of test automation from day one and into the future. It’s only a matter of time until we start to witness the citizen code breakthroughs that enterprises can leverage to exceed their digital transformation goals and pop that test debt bubble.