BLOG

Why not use AI to test Salesforce?

2021 is the year that AI test automation hits the mainstream. One of the drivers is the way it transforms Salesforce testing. Modern advances in AI and machine learning have made it much easier to automate Salesforce tests. Say goodbye to endlessly repeating the same manual tests with each release. It’s time to seriously consider adopting AI-powered testing. Read on to learn why.

Why is Salesforce testing such a challenge?

Salesforce testing is tough. It takes technical skill and is resource-heavy. Tests are best written and performed by the subject matter experts who understand the business needs and can check for relevant testing scenarios. This can create a resourcing problem for Salesforce testing, since the end users of the software are not QA professionals. Rather, they are experts in Sales, Marketing, Finance, or Customer Success. These business experts  have full time jobs outside of testing. They have neither the time nor coding skills needed for traditional scripted testing tools like Selenium.

From a technical standpoint, Salesforce’s dynamic elements and iframes are tricky to test. 

  • Not every element on the page is loaded at once, so tests may fail while waiting for pages to load. 
  • Depending on the particular Salesforce object, each record may have different elements. For example, some accounts may have leads associated with them while some may not.

Scripted testing tools like Selenium rely on element selectors like ID, which can be inconsistent and unreliable for Salesforce elements. So it’s not uncommon for companies to give up on the idea of automating Salesforce tests altogether, and rely on 100% manual testing instead.

Salesforce also allows for infinite customizations to fit very specific business use cases. For example, each company will have their own specific use case for user permissions such as defining which users can view or modify certain records and conditional fields. Moreover, Salesforce’s AppExchange gives customers access to thousands of 3rd party integrations. Testing Salesforce integrations is a key part of Salesforce release readiness, and every company will need to use test data that mimics real-world use cases to ensure that integrated functionality works end-to-end. Testing a system with so many different potential breaking points is a nightmare, especially for the many companies that rely on manually testing Salesforce.

Why is regression testing so important for Salesforce?

Regression testing is validating that existing features don’t break when a new version of software is released. It’s imperative that any potential Salesforce issues are found during testing because companies rely on the system for business-critical functions. As the name suggests, Salesforce is used by a large portion of each company’s revenue-generating workforce. Not only is it the world’s #1 CRM, businesses intricately link their Salesforce to thousands of other tools that power the entire customer journey. These include eSignature, ERP, customer support, marketing, financial accounting, and analytics. 

Let’s imagine what happens if your global sales team is unable to send out customer contracts in time before the end of the quarter. Or, the chaos if your consultants are unable to log their billable hours. Or if your accounting team doesn’t have accurate order information to renew customer subscriptions. Issues like these will bring any company to a screeching halt and lead to thousands, or even millions of dollars, of missed revenue. To avoid these costly mishaps, it’s vital to find issues during the testing process. But Salesforce isn’t like other tools you can use straight out of the box. The very flexibility that makes it so powerful also means these malfunctions are far more likely. And you can’t blame Salesforce, any more than blaming your cloud provider when your code fails.

No matter how much testing is done by Salesforce before they deploy a new release, it’s simply impossible to catch all issues because no two customer instances are alike. As a packaged solution, Salesforce just provides the scaffold for a company to build their system. Each customer will have a completely different setup: different configurations, customizations, integrations, and data. All Salesforce can do before the release is make sure that the scaffolding is safe, but it’s up to each customer to perform adequate testing to ensure that their system doesn’t break.

What are the drivers for automated Salesforce testing?

Salesforce deploys new features on a regular cadence, with 3 aptly-named releases per year: Spring, Summer, and Winter. To help customers prepare, Salesforce announces key release dates ahead of time. This includes a date for the sandbox preview, as well as the production release dates for each datacenter region. This gives customers about one month to test the new release in their sandbox instance before it is automatically pushed into their production environment. 

One month may seem like a fair amount of time. But consider these challenges with manual testing:

  • You need to involve subject matter experts from every relevant department in testing That could include sales, marketing, finance, customer support, operations, supply chain, human resources, and IT
  • Your testers may be on vacation or simply swamped with their normal day jobs
  • Your test strategy needs to be planned in advance to incorporate different user permissions, realistic test data, and flows that meet real business processes
  • When issues are found, debugging will require back-and-forth communication with the end users, developers, to reproduce, troubleshoot, and diagnose the root cause. You may even need to involve Salesforce support agents
  • Fixing issues will likely require development effort, meaning the quicker you find the issue, the better
  • Once issues are fixed, you will need to retest to confirm the issues are fixed

The upshot is, each tester may need to commit several hours into each manual testing cycle. Each release may require hundreds of person-hours of combined effort, which can lead to thousands of person-hours annually. Once complete, this process is repeated all again every four months — so manual testing kills company productivity. The need to automate Salesforce tests is a no-brainer if you consider the productivity gains from eliminating repetitive tasks, not to mention the financial implications of avoiding costly issues.

How is AI powered test automation different from other tools?

So, test automation is a no-brainer, and yet most Salesforce testing is still done manually., Even when companies do adopt automated testing, their level of automation remains low. This is because traditional test automation tools like Selenium are unreliable and require a lot of wasteful maintenance effort. Selenium is an open source tool that first came out nearly two decades ago. It might seem like a natural first choice for a Salesforce developer since they know how to code and it’s free. 

Selenium tests rely on specific implementation details in the Document Object Model (DOM) structure, which makes the tests prone to breaking. In order for the tests to be reliable, they require constant updates from release to release. Over the course of multiple Salesforce releases, you may end up spending just as much time fixing broken Selenium scripts as you would spend testing your Salesforce system manually. The cost of maintaining Selenium tests can be a nightmare.

Compared to traditional scripted tools like Selenium, next gen test automation tools are powered by AI and machine learning. Functionize’s intelligent testing platform uses a big data approach, so tests are not dependent on specific selectors to identify elements. Instead, tests are dynamic and keep up with changes. When tests are run, the results are compared against every historical execution, and machine learning allows them to self heal. Fewer broken tests means your test results are more reliable, so it’s easier and faster to find any Salesforce issues. 

Why are test scripts hard to create?

Scripted tools like Selenium make it difficult for business experts to build automated tests, since they’re unable to write code. This poses a technical language barrier between the subject matter experts who are familiar with the business flows and the developers who are able to write the code necessary to create automated tests. Functionize’s low-code test automation means your business experts can become automation experts and build an automated test in minutes. Even better, once these tests are automated, your business users are now freed from the burden of spending hundreds of hours each year executing tests manually. This is a true example of the phrase “set-it-and-forget-it.” Once the test is automated, it can be executed whenever and wherever you want, across different geographies, browsers, and OS’s using the Functionize Test Cloud.

Whether you are looking to reduce the burden of manual testing for your business experts or you’re trying to find a replacement for tools like Selenium, using AI to automate your Salesforce tests will help accelerate Salesforce release readiness and increase company productivity.

So, why not use the testing tool that Salesforce uses?

If you’re considering taking the plunge and would like to try an AI powered test automation tool, consider taking a cue from Salesforce. We all know Salesforce as one of the most successful enterprise Saas companies in the world. It has ranked among the world’s most innovative companies for nearly a decade, which is why Salesforce is taking the culture of innovation to the next level. Not only are they building AI-based features inside their platform, Salesforce is implementing AI-powered tools inside their company to drive their own internal digital transformation. This is why Salesforce uses Functionize to automate their own tests. Functionize has helped Salesforce reduce the burden of manual testing for their business users. AI powered testing has helped Salesforce rapidly increase their level of automation due to time saved from test maintenance.

How do I get started?

Getting started with AI-powered Salesforce testing couldn’t be easier. Sign up for a 14-day Free Trial. And see for yourself how Functionize’s intelligent test automation platform can accelerate your Salesforce releases.