Understanding COQ from the POV of test automation 

According to a recent report, about 44% of IT organizations worldwide have automated 50% of their testing between 2019-2020. Also, the global automation testing market size is expected to grow to USD 68 billion by 2025. And if you belong to any modernized testing team, you already know that AI-based test automation is becoming a bigger deal by the day. Its tendency to handle continuous delivery has made it a high-stakes differentiator for enterprises looking to rigorously expand while coping with changing market dynamics. Furthermore, it incubates a culture of continuous testing that helps discover bugs and defects during the software development stage.

Unfortunately, AI-driven automated testing is also beset with challenges – the most problematic being stakeholder buy-in, which can derail adoption – if it is half-hearted! One of the reasons for the continued hesitation is the lack of information about ROI. However, when proposed with a potential cost savings roadmap in place, stakeholders can see the financial impact of test automation’s full scope and coverage. So, understanding the Cost Of Quality (COQ) can play a crucial role.

What is COQ?

COQ comprise expenses borne by the enterprise while developing and releasing products or services at their desired level of quality. In that sense, leveraging test automation to prevent any failures or disruptions is highly influential in determining how much costs are incurred.

There are two types of COQs:
  • COGQ (Cost of Good Quality): These costs have a positive impact, such as vendor evaluation, employee training, etc.
  • COPQ (Cost of Poor Quality): These costs are attributed to internal or external failures like bugs, warranty failure, etc.

Now, let’s dig deeper into the different types of costs involved.

There are four primary costs, namely prevention costs, appraisal costs, internal failure costs, and external failure costs.

Prevention costs: As the name suggests, they help in minimizing the overall cost of failure. They are spent on the design, implementation, and maintenance of a quality management ecosystem for their cumulative testing process. Some of the activities involved are testing plan/architecture/estimation, test automation proposal/frameworks, etc.

Appraisal costs: These costs are incurred during testing and inspection so that defects can be identified before the shipment reaches the customer. They also ensure that the product or service’s processes and functionalities conform to the required specifications. Some of the activities are internal reviews on testing, internal/external audits, etc.

Internal failure costs: They are incurred when bugs or defects have gone undetected until right before the release. Internal failure costs arise due to a lack of proper testing in each phase, from design to production and release. Some of its factors include retesting, rework, and re-estimation.

External failure costs: These post-release costs are attributed to the inability of the product or service to meet customer requirements in end-user environments. External failure costs tend to be extremely high and can lead to a loss of reputation since the enterprise may have to remove its products from the market. Some of its factors are penalties and fixes to customer complaints.

Bridging COQ gaps with test automation

With AI-powered test automation, COQ can catch up to the pact expected in this era of DevOps and Agile methodologies. With more technology innovation on the radar, an incremental test automation approach can offer enterprises the ability to customize and scale on-demand with frequent testing cycles across all browsers, platforms, and devices. Hence, they no longer need a high COQ budget to manage expenses like audits, penalties, appraisal costs, and preventive costs. Instead, they can use their budgets to proactively ensure a superior product or service quality.

Through test automation, enterprises can accelerate the speed of testing while increasing the coverage, which can make sure their products are defect-free. The bottom line is that they do not have to spend time, effort, and money on fixing bugs. And whenever bugs are found in any particular stage of the lifecycle, they can be fixed in that stage itself.

“In a nutshell, automated testing empowers enterprises to lower their COPQ and increase their COPQ.” should be “In a nutshell, automated testing empowers enterprises to lower their COPQ and increase their COGQ”.

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Kripaa Krishnamurthi