You Make the Call

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Navigating the Tool Selection Process

in your selection process. Occasionally you will have at least two vendors that can do the job very well. However, you must decide which is best for you and your company.

Validate all that you will need to purchase. In other words, if Pie In the Sky Test Company completed the POC with several add-ons (web-testing, Oracle, SAP, etc.) Make sure this is noted with the price so you get exactly what you need to do your job. There have been times where a customer thinks he can test every platform known to man based on the "entry-level" price, but then realizes he is not licensed for the particular components needed to complete the task. This will also allow you to objectively compare prices from competing vendors.

Negotiate. If a vendor quotes you a price that you don't like, negotiate. If a vendor can get you to pay the original sticker price, he will. As the old saying goes: you get what you negotiate. Do not let price hinder your selection process. The ultimate goal is to purchase a software package that meets your testing needs and budget. Try to negotiate from a win-win perspective. Make sure your quote includes price ranges for the software selection process. This will be based on your allocated testing budget as well.

Communicate your service needs. Communication is the key to building a working relationship with your test automation vendor. They must be responsive to your needs, whether it is through technical support or sales. The service you receive should be the same whether you purchase a single copy or a hundred copies of their software. Don't settle for anything less.

There are many ways to evaluate and implement a test automation strategy. The six Ps still apply (I added a new one): Proper prior planning prevents poor performance. As testers, we sometimes forget that we must establish our requirements, just as we request it from our organizations. Remember, if you do not establish your selection criteria, the other vendors will do it for you.

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