Automated vs. Manual Testing: How Do They Stack Up?

When to use automated versus manual software testing

Depending on your organization’s current state and the unique needs of your company, either an automated or a manual testing strategy may be more appropriate for your software development plan. Fortunately, this comparison piece detailing the specific advantages and drawbacks of both automated and manual testing should give you an accurate picture of which testing method best suits your organization’s IT department. Software testing is a critical part of coding and creating software updates, and comprehensive testing prior to releasing new software and software updates is a necessary part of your product lifecycle.  

Automated Testing: 

With automated testing, you’ll benefit from consistency. Automated testing ensures that with each upgrade/update, your tests will run in the exact same manner. Automating tests will allow you to be able to address the repetitive yet necessary tasks with a formal testing process already in place or perform additional testing that would be too difficult to accomplish with manual tests.  

With automated scripts, you can loop over much larger data sets. You’re also able to test a component out with greater transactional variances than the few negative and positive tests that the manual testers usually do. Another key benefit of automation is that data can be auto sourced from environments to ensure current information is gathered quicker and with larger randomness. Beyond consistency and the ability to handle large data sets, an increase in the frequency of new ERP updates makes it difficult for companies to keep up with testing. Automation can help with this increased update frequency by saving time and valuable IT resources.  

Manual Testing:  

The instances in which manual testing might be preferred include cases with check print or PDF generation after a process is run, and when writing a script that inspects the graphical alignments, images, icons, logos, and other stylistic elements on a PDF, JPG, or other bitmap formats.  

Sometimes integrations are manual testing territory if the automation tool cannot bridge the gap between the systems. Since there are instances that a script bridges across multiple systems or physical files, there would need to be multiple stages which would take a longer time to automate than simply just having a person stage the data and complete the operations across those systems. For example, there are instances that an automated script program cannot access system X but works fine in system Y. Due to the variance in authentication across integrations ROI on some scripts is too low to warrant automation at this point. 

There may be instances in which your organization develops a hybrid strategy for testing – utilizing manual and automated testing to accomplish your testing needs. Regardless of the choice you make, having a comprehensive testing strategy is key. Learn more about developing a testing strategy at our upcoming Elire Strategy Summit, where testing expert Valentin Todorow will presenting, ”Testing Strategy: Using End-to-End Testing to Ensure Success.” Secure your free registration here before spots run out! 

There are also a variety of testing automation tools available in the marketplace. For additional information on automated software testing, including PeopleSoft Test Framework, check out Elire’s PTF services page.