What is intelligent test automation?

By

Monique Swanepoel

,

Content Specialist

2021-11-25

Virtuoso regards intelligent test automation as a VIP - a Very Important Process. In fact, it’s one of our We believe statements: we believe the new standard in QA is not only test automation, but also intelligence automation - the ability to know exactly what to test, when, without being told. Ok, we’ve made it clear. Now let’s get into things! 

Test automation is relatively easy to understand. Tests are authored to verify that processes and/or workflows within a software application are working, and these tests are automated so that they can be run without supervision at any given time. It does what it says, right? Intelligent test automation is similar, and also does what it says - it’s just like test automation, but smarter. Here are some areas where intelligent test automation stands out from traditional test automation:

  • Has a lower error rate and fewer risks to disrupting operational processes 
  • Is more efficient, with faster response times in executing and maintaining test cases
  • Improves accuracy in testing with the ability to raise issues and maintain them automatically
  • Results in smarter processes through enhanced deep learning capabilities, including thorough root cause analysis and test environment regulation

Of course, the big question is how? How does intelligent test automation achieve all of this? Think of intelligent test automation as the automation of automation. Where test automation requires a human to decide what should be automated where and when, intelligent test automation replicates the decisions that humans would make - and through a series of algorithms and deep learning, makes even better decisions for future instances. Through the combination of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotic Process Automation, intelligent test automation reaches further.

To put it another way, test automation is often used to automate manual tasks that are repetitive in nature - tasks that follow the same process each time and assume that the outcome will be as expected. Intelligent test automation can automate beyond just the repetitive tasks, suggesting fixes and further paths for testing in places where humans might not be able to reach. When an unexpected outcome occurs, intelligent test automation capabilities will either heal test steps automatically or raise a flag for further inspection. Auto-scaling, visual regression testing with baseline snapshots, and intelligent exploratory testing are some more features ushered in by Virtuoso’s intelligent test automation.

Practical examples

Let’s take a look at authoring tests, an essential step of test case creation for any method of QA testing. Test automation processes that use frameworks will require a good amount of manual coding, implying that the QA team requires at least a basic knowledge of coding. In addition, test steps in automated test plans that are part of for example test automation frameworks are not always reusable across multiple tests, which implies a high demand for intensive use of resources at a higher cost to generate a small number of exclusive tests. On the other hand, intelligent test automation makes it easy to take requirements written in Gherkin syntax and generate a test plan automatically within seconds. With Virtuoso’s intelligent test automation, no knowledge of coding is required. Even a product manager can take BDD requirements and simply import it in the program - Virtuoso will take that information and turn it into a robust, reliable test plan that can be reused by anyone in the team. And that’s not all - any generated steps can be used across other journeys at any point in time.

Let’s take another example. Test automation doesn’t always come paired with the reporting and integration capabilities that you would need or expect on your way to achieving quality-first QA for your web application. Incompatibility and difficulty integrating with other tools in your tech stack is surprisingly commonplace with regular test automation processes, and reporting often lacks quality visuals to help the user understand where testing problems need to be ironed out. With intelligent test automation tools, smart AI bots are able to record vast amounts of information for better analysis and insight into testing patterns, results, and the overall state of an application - in mere minutes. For instance, Virtuoso has the ability to record the version history of users and system changes, displays understandable results the instant that a test run is complete, and provides several dashboards and reports for ease of use. It also integrates with any tools in your existing tech stack for a seamless transition to intelligent test automation, without having to worry about long ramp-up times.

Challenges

No one’s perfect - and like any other technological process out there, intelligent test automation does have its challenges. Here are just a few that pop up regularly:

  • Inertia - a lack of trust in intelligent test automation and its capabilities leads to a fallback on manual testing when pressure runs high
  • Overload of information - this may result in irrelevant feedback and reporting that frustrates users
  • Difficulty scaling -  intelligent test automation is not always easy to grow across applications, especially when dealing with complex software applications that require tests to be run in parallel
  • Cost concerns - investing in a quality intelligent test automation system is not always cheap, especially if it requires growing your team of QA testers.

Intelligent test automation with Virtuoso

Virtuoso leverages intelligent test automation by applying the latest advancements in AI, Machine Learning, and Robotic Process Automation to produce quality-first software that automates software testing in the smartest way possible. In fact, we’ve got some of the best engineers in the business working on our product.

Virtuoso tackles the challenges of intelligent test automation head-on, and demonstrates the value of intelligent test automation capabilities from the get-go. Even during a free demo of our product, users can immediately see how our sophisticated AI streamlines everything from authoring test plans to executing test cases across multiple browsers and Operating Systems in the cloud. Virtuoso helps users overcome inertia by providing full support during onboarding and beyond.

Virtuoso does provide an overload of information, but only in the sense that the supply of information available to you is almost inexhaustible. Through structured dashboards and reporting features, the information is segmented so that you can easily find what you are looking for without having to struggle through irrelevant feedback. Root cause analysis, page console logs, and a visual analysis of test executions are some of the intelligent features you can enjoy while using Virtuoso. The execution report can even be viewed while an execution is running - how’s that for multitasking?

What will it cost me to take on intelligent test automation?

Believe it or not, you don’t have to invest all of your money and resources to get started with Virtuoso. We’re not saying the adoption of an intelligent test automation software testing system is cheap - but using the right tool can help you save big in the long run (or with Virtuoso, the short run - with our intelligent test automation, you can see an ROI in mere weeks with virtually no ramp-up!). Some cost effective benefits of using Virtuoso for your quality-first software testing approach:

  • Our intelligent AI helps alleviate the skill shortage in tech by allowing anyone on your team to get involved in the QA process. Are your testers stretched thin? With Virtuoso, everyone from the product manager to the business analyst can jump in and help.
  • Virtuoso uses Machine Learning and RPA to ensure scalability and increased test coverage while reducing the amount of maintenance required for your regression test suite - to the extent that your cost per manual execution may even reduce by an astounding 99.2%, as validated in a case study with our valued customer iClicker (a subsidiary of MacMillan Learning). 
  • Virtuoso requires zero ramp-up, no upskilling for existing staff, no installs, and no extra resources. That means you can use what you have to get where you want.

Not convinced? Get in touch, one of our customer success experts will give you a step-by-step walkthrough of Virtuoso’s intelligent test automation.

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