Steps to Automation Success: How Automation Tools Work

The return on investment in automation testing is bigger than you think, but first, let’s explore how automation tools work.

When we talk about automation, we picture improvements and robots, while others might think of an expensive affair.

The truth is that automation makes our lives easier. Instead of stacking up costs, it actually reduces operational expenses in the long run. No matter what size your business is, you can benefit from automation and significantly enhance your company’s performance.

But, that’s only possible if you can successfully process your automation journey. First, you need test automation to make sure every aspect of your tool works.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this blog post: Is automation testing easy? How automation tools work? What are automation methods? The main challenges of automation, the benefits, and more.

What’s Automation?

Basically, automation is a software engineering methodology that produces outcomes with minimal human intervention.

What Are the 4 Types of Automation?

Within the context of automated processes, we have four key types.

  • Fixed Automation

    Fixed automation, which is also called hard automation, is an automated production system built for a single purpose. This design is highly efficient, simple and perfect for mass-producing a specific type of product.

    Flow production is one example of this, where products go through continuous mass-scale production lines.

    What separates fixed automation from the other automation types is its internal programming. Rather than the software, it’s being controlled by the hardware, making it difficult for this system to accommodate product changes.

    Nonetheless, fixed automation is extremely valuable to increase productivity while reducing labor costs.

  • Programmable Automation

    The next type of automation is programmable automation. As the name suggests, this system runs using commands from a computer program. In other words, the resulting processes vary depending on the directions given to the computer.

    This type is typical in a mass production setting that engineers the same type of product in different ways. So, unlike fixed automation, programmable automation requires production reprogramming to cater to new product styles.

  • Flexible Automation

    Also referred to as soft automation, flexible automation is capable of handling a variety of tasks, so long as the code given to the computer program allows it.

    As the name implies, flexible automation exhibits extreme flexibility and can adapt rapidly. This automation type gives you the power to make different products in succession. You can alter the product produced using the process without slowing down, so you won’t lose significant time.

  • Integrated Automation

    Integrated automation is an end-to-end automated process that operates independently. Simply put, robots will be responsible for every step in the process—no human supervision is required.

    Like flexible automation, integrated automation can work for both continuous and batch-process manufacturing. This technology infrastructure allows systems to integrate. This means it can combine different automated systems to organize processes in a larger system.

What Are the 4 Steps of Automation?

So, how do we do automation? We just follow these four steps… and then repeat.

  • Discover and Assess

    Before you implement any type of automation, understand first what you’re working with. What is the continuous task that needs to be done? Who is involved? What system are you using?

    Gather all the information you can and then identify what’s going right or wrong and what impactful changes you can incorporate.

  • Design and Develop

    Once you have the information, you can design and develop a plan. This step represents the flow and interdependencies of the workflow, which is not easy. Business processes cover a span of people from different systems and departments and a diversity of technology, making this process a bit more complex and harder to visualize.

  • Implement and Automate

    How do you implement an automation tool? Process orchestration coordinates every variable of all business processes, such as the people and the systems. This stage will bring clarity to every process detail, be it complex or simple—from communication to handling fatal mistakes.

  • Optimize

    Wait, the job is not done yet. After the process is automated, you have to seek continuous improvement and learn how to perform a certain process better. Speaking of which, you need to gather more data.

What Problem Does Automation Solve?

Not exactly a problem, but problems, plural. Automation has plenty of answers to your daily operations struggles. Here are some of the glitches they can fix for you:

Streamline Business Operations

With the help of automation, you can integrate all your applications. However, if you have lots of processes, you will need more time to make them work seamlessly together.

Manual Errors

The higher the volume of data and applications, the higher the likelihood of manual human errors.

Humans make mistakes, and most of the time, the cost of correcting these miscalculations can be very heavy. Automation solves this problem, resulting in no manual errors whatsoever and higher productivity.

Time-Consuming Tasks

Let’s be honest, gathering data and creating reports manually is tedious as hell, and sometimes, no matter how much attention you give, errors are still there, looming.

But by implementing automation, you can collect information and make accurate reports that can be updated, when necessary, within seconds. Once you get rid of your time-consuming tasks, you and your team will have more time for higher-level missions.

What Is the Biggest Challenge in Automation?

Automation plays a big role in shortening the time required to achieve a result. But despite these automation wonders, there are several challenges associated with automation.

So, what is the main problem with automation? Worker displacement. In most cases, human workers will be replaced by machines. Worst case scenario, they will not only lose their jobs but their skills will also be devalued.

Other problems also include high capital expenditures, workers possibly becoming slaves to machines and privacy issues.

As you know, building an automation system requires money to develop, implement and maintain. And since it’s developed in the computer, data breaches by vast networks are very possible and might compromise business processes. It’s also likely that we will become too dependent on automation for economic stability.

What is Automation Testing?

Automation testing is a testing tactic that validates the functionality of the software and whether or not it meets the requirements before you use it for production.

How Do Automated Testing Tools Work?

Automated testing tools use scripted sequences implemented by testing tools. It examines, compares and reports results. This automated test script can be made once and used constantly.

  • Which Tool Is Mostly Used for Automation Testing?

    Still undisputed, Selenium is perhaps the most popular AI-powered tool for automation testing. It has a powerful drive that can be used for many test types, like integration and compatibility.

How Do We Do Automation Testing?

  • Decide on what sort of approach you need for your automation testing project.
  • Conduct exploratory testing, so you can get a better grasp of the features of your automation tools and what and where to test. There is no strict rule when it comes to exploratory testing. This can be done differently, depending on your experience and knowledge.
  • Once you have an in-depth understanding of the system, start to establish where to automate.
  • Set up a suitable test environment to run on and test the cases you have defined. The purpose of this step is to identify possible errors and check system components.
  • Write the test scripts, and you can even do it in the language of your choice.
  • Execute your automation test and gather results.

Why Automation Fails

With the help of automation, you can save time and money and remove the grunt of your repetitive tasks.

But without automation testing, this initiative will likely fail. It’s hard to expand the scope of your software quality and improve it. You need to have a clear strategy and a test plan, or else the process can become disorganized, which might lead to more problems down the line.

That said, it’s crucial to do the test. But apart from all that, you also need to address the question of who will be responsible for crafting and handling the automation.

Test automation is hard to understand. The learning curve is pretty steep, and the maintenance will also be very high, especially with the constant changes that can affect your test cases.

If you do not have the time or experience in the field, it’s way better to entrust them to a remote assistant. We promise you, they are just the kind of support you need, so you can get on to the right process automation and enhance business efficiency.

So, before you get bogged down by radical interventions later on, outsource your testing to a VA now, right here at VAV Remote.

Start chasing your dreams with AI for small business.