Quality Assurance (QA) is an integral part of all types and scales of development. In the last decade, testing processes have become so popular that the global niche has grown significantly.
As per the analysts at Markets And Markets, the QA industry, specifically test automation, was valued at $24.7 billion as of 2022. According to the same source’s predictions, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) will be 16.4% through 2027, with the overall market value reaching $52.7 billion.
These figures demonstrate that the demand for software test automation services is increasing, indicating their effectiveness and the need to implement them in your development processes.
The experts at ZappleTech have prepared material for you that highlights critical aspects of automated QA. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- How aQA differs from manual testing.
- The advantages of outsourcing software test automation services.
- Challenges that may arise when working with external teams.
- How to overcome the difficulties of outsourcing and automation in general.
- Innovations and trends that are taking QA to new heights.
And, as always, let’s start with the basics.
Table of Contents
A Quick Overview of Software Test Automation Services
QA and testing processes, in particular, are a set of operations and actions aimed at achieving the highest quality of a digital product by identifying, localizing, analyzing, and resolving issues.
Depending on the scale of an IT solution, the number of its features, and iterations, this task can be quite extensive and routine if done manually.
Based on a survey conducted by QA experts at Micro Focus, over 61% of them utilize specialized tools for software test automation services. The key values of automation, according to experts, include:
- Continuous integration and delivery (51.1%).
- Increase test coverage (53.4%).
- Better quality / fewer defects (52.7%).
The ZappleTech team agrees with these advantages, emphasizing that they are realized when QA is tightly integrated into the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) of a digital product.
Importance of Modern Software Development Lifecycle
In fact, according to the survey by Micro Focus, more than 40% of testing experts incorporate cloud-based software test automation services into the SDLC from the early stages of working on a digital product. This means that QA processes are deployed from the project’s inception.
However, about 48% of respondents believe that aQA is most effective during the development stage, while roughly 47% think it’s best to introduce these processes even during the requirement formulation stage.
ZappleTech’s experts align with the latter perspective since they actively provide software test automation services and frequently engage in projects at various stages. Ultimately, where QA is integrated early on, development results are generally higher in quality.
However, the effectiveness of these practices also depends on the development team’s working model. Therefore, let’s compare the benefits of outsourcing versus having in-house QA.
Outsourcing vs. In-House Solutions: How to Choose the Best Approach?
Every development team has in-house QA professionals, but typically, they may be insufficient for comprehensive testing, let alone software test automation services. In such cases, a company faces the question of whether to hire more in-house staff or outsource some tasks (or even the entire project).
ZappleTech experts have created a comparative table where you’ll find key differences between hiring in-house QA and outsourcing:
Work with products in a specific segment
Work with all product types, technologies, and tools
Familiar with specific tech stacks and tools
Work with a wide range of tech stacks, using cutting-edge tools
Acquainted with methodologies and concepts relevant to a particular type of IT solution
Evolve by adopting innovative work methods, programs, and frameworks
Perform work according to the schedule, combining testing with daily responsibilities
Focus solely on your project, applying maximum testing skills
Challenging to quickly find and hire talent that understands current needs
Quickly onboard talents or complete teams to address project requirements
Must integrate QA processes into the daily routine
Fully integrate into the project and perform the entire scope of duties
Strive for the best possible results
Efficiently automate testing and resolve digital product issues
Difficult to switch tasks and adapt to changes
Instantly integrate into the project and foster seamless collaboration with in-house developers
Requires setting up workspaces, training, equipment, fixed salaries regardless of workload
Pay only for services provided by contractors
As you can see, the outsourcing model appears more advantageous than in-house testing. This is not without reason, as it offers several additional perspectives.
Advantages of Outsourcing Software Test Automation Services
The Micro Focus survey revealed that only 34% of respondents prefer developing internal talent, while 41% believe in the effectiveness of partnering with outsourced vendors. This isn’t without reason, as external software test automation services offer development and QA teams the opportunity to conduct comprehensive checks on digital products faster and with higher quality.
ZappleTech experts support this concept and also provide specialized software test automation services to clients worldwide. With over 10 years of experience, we have identified five key advantages of the outsourcing model, which we would like to share with you:
Optimal Price-to-Quality Ratio
When working with external contractors, you free your company from additional expenses, such as:
- Logistics services: No need for employee transportation to the office or equipment relocation when experts work remotely.
- Equipment: Additional computers, laptops, servers, software, frameworks, and licenses represent costs that can be avoided through outsourcing.
- Payroll: In the case of in-house employees, fixed monthly salaries are required, whereas outsourcing allows payment only for actual work performed.
These financial benefits are related to the advantages of external software test automation services.
Access to Top Talent
Sometimes, teams require specific skills or experience that are hard to obtain when working within a single segment. In such cases, you can leverage outsourced software test automation services to, for example:
- Hire a qualified engineer or project manager.
- Include a senior-level QA automation expert in your project.
- Entrust the entire project to an expert team like ZappleTech.
This approach allows you to compensate for talent gaps in your team and improve the overall quality of your digital product with minimal investment.
Flexibility and Scalability
Have you ever been in a situation where tight deadlines loom, and your IT solution is far from ideal? This issue usually arises because the team lacks the necessary hands and experience to complete the project on time. Software test automation services, such as those offered by ZappleTech, are almost a panacea, as they provide:
- Instant assistance from experts.
- Team expansion as needed, proportionate to the volume of tasks.
- The ability to offload some work and focus on core tasks.
This approach saves you money and ensures you pay only for the services provided rather than fixed monthly salaries.
Rapid Service Delivery
Are you tired of spending time and resources on HR or direct communication with potential QA contractors for onboarding purposes? Use external software test automation services to:
- Integrate workers into your team within hours or days.
- Quickly obtain assistance from middle-level and senior-level experts.
- Save on equipment, software, and other resources, as no additional investments are required.
Additionally, you gain access to individuals who require minimal training and adaptation to team dynamics, at least when partnering with ZappleTech.
While the perception of outsourced workers may have been associated with carelessness in the past, experts like ZappleTech have debunked this myth. External software test automation services are typically oriented toward delivering maximum results because they directly affect the following:
- Payment for a range of services provided by the team.
- Reputation within the professional community and among potential clients.
- Self-esteem, which forms the foundation of corporate ethics.
Therefore, there is no need to worry about the loyalty of hired teams or professionals. Instead, focus on common outsourcing risks.
Potential Challenges of Outsourcing Software Test Automation Services
No matter how ideal outsourcing may seem in terms of efficiency and cost-to-quality ratio, it also comes with certain issues. Primarily, these issues are related to team coordination, cooperation, and data security risks.
Let’s delve into these and other challenges of external software test automation services.
There are risks of corporate data leaks or low-quality digital product delivery. As seen with CD Projekt Red (CDPR), outsourcing software test automation services led to numerous issues in the release version of Cyberpunk 2077, almost turning into a fiasco for the studio. Similarly, GSC faced a situation where some development data of Stalker 2 was leaked due to negligence.
At ZappleTech, we mitigate such problems by entering into agreements and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), which we also recommend to others to safeguard against similar incidents.
Team Management Difficulties
When choosing external software test automation services, be prepared for challenges in team alignment. While this statement might have held true a decade ago, it’s not the case in 2023. Even today, some teams strictly adhere to their own work schedules and are reluctant to compromise with clients. Such an attitude negatively impacts the overall quality of work and productivity.
At ZappleTech, we follow a different strategy, adapting to our clients’ schedules and tools.
Another myth from the past revolved around language and time zone differences between software test automation service teams in Asia, the USA, and Europe. Difficult communication, task misinterpretations, and misaligned activity periods were common problems. However, in the IT industry, English has become the universal language of communication, and this issue is no longer relevant.
For instance, at ZappleTech, we have been using English for internal communication for quite some time. We are also flexible in accommodating clients’ time zones and making compromises to ensure seamless collaboration.Mykhailo PoliarushCEO, ZappleTech Inc.
Partly, this flexibility is a result of our internal efforts, and partly, it’s a response to QA market demands. However, such flexibility is impossible if the team is not selected correctly or lacks collaborative skills.
Building an Effective Software Test Automation Team
To assemble a qualified team that provides high-quality software test automation services, you need to understand the specific roles the team members will have, the types of work they will perform, and adhere to the strategies and recommendations of experts like ZappleTech, which has a well-established team and continues to expand actively.
Selecting Professionals with Specific Qualifications and Verifying Experience
First and foremost, determine the talents you need for your team, whether it’s QA engineers, project managers, analysts, or other specializations. Narrowing down your search will expedite the process. However, don’t forget that you need to verify their skills and experience, so prepare test tasks or a checklist of questions.
By the way, ZappleTech not only offers software test automation services but also provides the opportunity to expand your team by hiring our in-house experts. If you need professionals, contact our manager and submit your request.
Clear Role Definitions, Areas of Influence, and Responsibilities
During the team formation stage, it’s essential to divide roles and spheres of influence for each team member. For example, a project manager, in addition to their direct responsibilities, might act as a substitute team lead and partially oversee the QA processes. Or, an engineer might take on responsibilities and lead the team in practical matters. Responsibilities should be both collective and individual to ensure every team member is invested in the results and puts in their best effort.
This is part of the ZappleTech corporate culture, which enables the team to achieve maximum productivity and efficiency, even in the face of typical challenges of software test automation services.
Common Challenges in Software Test Automation Services
The issues related to QA automation are not exclusive to outsourced providers but are also prevalent within in-house teams.
While these challenges may often stem from competence gaps and are not permanent, it’s worth taking a closer look at some common difficulties.
Identifying Problems and Delegating to Specialists
Sometimes, a bug discovered through software test automation services is seemingly reported to developers but mysteriously gets overlooked. This is often due to poor communication between departments, weak issue tracking, and a general lack of coordination. This leads to bugs migrating across versions, accumulating dependencies, and becoming challenging to identify and rectify.
Considering Technology Specifics
There’s no one-size-fits-all tool that excels equally with software test automation services for all possible technologies. A specific framework or system must be selected for each unique case, QA type, or task. However, attempting to verify absolutely everything with a single tool, like Selenium, can lead to a loss of focus and the proliferation of bugs through the system or low productivity.
Bug Control Across Versions
This is predominantly a management and workflow algorithm issue. For instance, when a tester identifies a bug and places it on a dashboard without specifying class, type, and priority, it may go unnoticed by developers. The error then traverses from the early stages to the final ones, where the cost of fixing it is much higher.
How Can You Address These Challenges Through Software Test Automation Services and Solutions?
While the problems mentioned are not widespread, they do occur sporadically, typically in companies that haven’t optimized their QA processes. It’s still essential to know how to tackle these cases practically.
Use ZappleTech experts’ recommendations to prepare in advance and mitigate these challenges.
Integration of CI/CD Practices
Your development and QA teams offering software test automation services should work in sync, fully coordinating their efforts. To achieve this, using CI/CD methodology and tools ensures that each side is aware of the other’s progress and can respond promptly to challenges, fix errors, and prioritize tasks for one another.
Working According to Agile and DevOps Methodologies
It’s crucial to operate with the latest software test automation service methodologies, as modern projects require flexibility. For instance, if an issue cannot be resolved immediately, like a hypothetical bug, assigning it a specific priority and tracking it while focusing on other tasks ensures you won’t lose sight of the problem and still deliver your product on time.
Enhancing Specialists’ Skill Sets
Learning new methods, tools, and work principles expands your team’s horizons and stimulates their development. For example, QA performers can learn aspects of development to create better algorithms for software test automation services, while developers can gain insights from a QA perspective.
Establish Communication Channels
Tools like Slack, Jenkins, Jira, Microsoft Teams, and others facilitate efficient interaction between project teams. This is not a luxury but a necessity for proper task and process coordination, whether you’re outsourcing software test automation services or managing in-house work.
Utilizing Optimal Frameworks and Tools
You need a range of suitable tools to enhance your QA processes effectively. For example, Selenium for regression and end-to-end testing, Postgres for API testing, and JMeter for performance testing. In practice, the framework set may differ based on project requirements and the complexity of software test automation services.
For example, the ZappleTech team is diligent in selecting IT solutions for automation, as each QA expert understands the criticality of tools for specific tasks.
The recommendations mentioned here not only improve work team productivity but also apply to the specific technical aspects. The ZappleTech experts have prepared additional tips for optimizing team management processes (not just QA) and achieving even better progress.
How to Achieve Maximum Results in Outsourcing Software Test Automation Services?
Quality in software test automation services is not solely influenced by technical means. Strategy and process organization also play a significant role. Besides Agile, it’s essential to apply additional concepts to understand how processes are progressing, how well they’re configured, and their overall effectiveness.
ZappleTech experts have compiled three practical tips for providing software test automation services. Their effectiveness is confirmed through hundreds of hours of practice and successful projects.Mikhail BodnarchukCDO, ZappleTech Inc.
Constant Monitoring of Productivity and Efficiency Metrics
Begin tracking work productivity as soon as you integrate the team into the project. This will help you understand how efficiently the execution is happening and the quality of the software test automation services provided. With these current metrics in mind, you can better organize processes.
Setting Realistic KPIs
Avoid aiming for maximum performance and quality. While such concepts may look appealing in theory, they often lead to problems in practice. Ignoring risks in the pursuit of deadlines or results and unhealthy competition can cause your project to spiral out of control. Therefore, set realistic KPIs for your software test automation services that prioritize both high productivity and risk minimization.
Actively Improve Work Algorithms
Agile methodology includes a concept that allows teams to deviate from patterns when necessary. If your team takes an alternative path that yields better results, encourage them to modernize effective algorithms rather than restricting them. Ultimately, this approach will not only result in higher quality but also contribute to the expertise of your QA specialists.
Accept innovative techniques that can improve your software test automation services; they could significantly benefit your projects.
Trends and Innovations to Optimize Software Test Automation Services
At ZappleTech, we proactively follow the latest trends. For example, we implemented Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and other innovative solutions into our QA processes, including software test automation services. We are focusing on the most relevant technologies and concepts, and we’re excited to share them with you.
AI and ML as Key QA Market Trends
In the context of QA, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are essential components of modern testing and software test automation services. AI already allows for the verification of automation algorithms and even the creation of algorithms from textual descriptions of requirements. This is just the beginning of AI implementation in QA.
On a larger scale, these technologies will significantly speed up team workflows and reduce risks, particularly concerning human factors.
If you identify a potential issue in a feature, productivity problem, security concern, or API problem, test it when possible. Add new test cases, even if they aren’t included in the current sprint, and focus on them as needed. This approach lets you stay ahead by identifying and localizing issues earlier than traditional testing.
However, it’s essential not to get distracted from critical tasks, as doing so could harm your project.
Combine the previous two recommendations. Use AI’s potential for predicting potential problems and begin their identification at earlier stages of development. This can start as early as the requirements phase or even during conceptual planning. It saves you time and resources when you move into the technical side of software test automation services.
Alternatively, delegate your QA tasks to ZappleTech’s team, and we’ll ensure the project’s quality independently.
How Will ZappleTech’s Software Test Automation Services Benefit Your Business?
With over 10 years of experience in the QA segment, we have developed a concept and strategy that will ensure maximum quality for your digital product. With ZappleTech’s software test automation services, you can focus on your core business processes while our team of experts works on your project.
As a result of our collaboration, you will receive a high-quality, bug-free IT solution that satisfies your target audience, investors, and stakeholders and begins generating profits immediately upon release on relevant platforms.Sergey AlmyashevCOO, ZappleTech Inc.
Don’t hesitate; contact a ZappleTech manager now to receive a comprehensive project consultation.