January 2021SHARE
January 2021


Riding on a push for extreme automation, organizations have invested in multiple tools and technologies to achieve end-to-end automation, creating a complex web of heterogenous toolsets. Even with this effort towards test automation, testing organizations struggle to achieve end-to-end automation and spend disproportionate time on script maintenance. Can this be rectified? This article explores how Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is taking center stage in enterprise test automation, addressing the challenges faced in traditional automation.

Challenges in traditional test automation

Mila was frustrated. Her company, a large investment bank in Singapore, was struggling to create test automation efficiencies. Running legacy modernization as a program using mainframe systems was a pain. The systems were notoriously difficult to automate using traditional automation tools and left her wondering what her next course of action should be.

This is not a one-off problem, and most companies struggle with test automation challenges. Typical 4th generation automation tools for testing are unable to overcome several challenges:

  • Building test scripts is still a massive effort.
    The team needs coding skills to develop automated scripts, frameworks, and generic reusable utilities and libraries.
  • Requires significant recurring investment.
    Companies need to pay for maintenance, subscription, licensing, training, and know-how for multiple tools.
  • Lack of support for advanced capabilities.
    Traditional tools offer no support or capability for cognitive automation, OCR, advanced image recognition, and in-built screen and data scraping wizards.
  • Low productivity.
    Most instances require custom coding and bring down automation development productivity. Even load distribution during execution requires additional effort.

With the need to be hyper-productive post the ravages of COVID-19, companies cannot afford to let these inefficiencies slide. Harnessing the power of cognitive technologies along with the use of RPA platforms will play a critical role in the success of Enterprise Test Automation in the near future.

5 ways RPA is better than your existing test automation infrastructure

RPA is a critical path-breaking technology trend that has created a paradigm shift in the way automation scripting is carried out. RPA has the potential to address all the typical challenges of 4th generation test automation tooling. Adopting RPA tools can help organizations make testing more productive, more efficient, and help get more features to the market faster. Here’s how RPA is a definite step up in the test automation game:

  • Supports hyperautomation
    RPA Platforms are low code platform with advanced OCI capabilities. Their ability to work with heterogeneous technologies and various environments that business processes navigate makes E2E testing possible. With RPA, you can recognize all complex embedded components, read images, orchestrate workflows, and integrate seamlessly with external applications. RPA also allows you to build more and more intelligence into the bots in use. All these capabilities directly support hyperautomation.
  • One platform that supports all test automation needs
    RPA platforms can replace several tools in solving multiple test life cycle challenges, including test data management, automated test execution, batch job monitoring in test environments, report generation, database validation, and many more. This eliminates the need for multiple automation tools and platforms. RPA platforms also have the capabilities to import or integrate custom scripts written in Python or any other scripting language. This is a powerful enhancement to carry out custom jobs and extend capabilities beyond its own, making E2E automation a possibility in a single platform. RPA helps expand enterprise test automation coverage while reducing the number of tools/frameworks.
  • Simplifies complexity of the testing environment
    Traditional automation strategies adopt various scripting languages depending on the technology landscape and build the necessary frameworks. This calls for orchestrators to make these heterogeneous frameworks to work together. The resulting setup is highly complex and requires specific skills. RPA, with its ability to navigate heterogeneous environments, addresses these challenges right away.
  • Significant reduction of test execution cycle time
    As a low code platform, RPA makes rapid scripting possible and allows enhancements and script changes. Even the UAT testers can easily adopt and use these scripts.
  • Existing talent pool
    RPA has been widely used by BPM users already. Hence the skilled resource pool is already available. Testing is a natural extension for RPA platforms.

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The one tool to rule them all

Whether it’s package-based applications that used multiple technologies to build different screens, creating synthetic test data, managing batch jobs, or creating test reports – RPA is the one platform that can help perform all these activities with ease. Automating the end-to-end workflow for each application using just one tool can significantly reduce the overall maintenance effort (upwards of 30%) and boost productivity.

Mila decided to adopt RPA based testing to solve the challenges of test automation her organization was facing. RPA, with its AI and OCR capabilities and the ability to traverse through and handle any technology, was quickly able to automate 800+ test cases in the mainframe — saving 60% of testing efforts!

Your organization can reap these benefits too. In fact, it is critical for test automation organizations to take advantage of this technological advancement. Adoption will increase awareness and knowledge, which will enable organizations to adopt cognitive capabilities more efficiently.