La Trobe University

Test automation catalyzes Salesforce innovation at La Trobe University

Company overview

Melbourne’s La Trobe University prides itself on fostering “all kinds of clever.” That’s a key reason they’re in the top 1% of global universities, and 4th globally in terms of research impact. Innovative research is at the core of their mission, so they built an innovative application to help researchers and administrators identify, win, and track research opportunities.

This first-of-its-kind system was built through a strategic partnership with IBM & Salesforce. It unifies 9 separate systems using Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud (now called Experience Cloud), and custom APEX code…all leveraging the Lightning platform. Though new, it has already tremendously simplified processes for researchers and admins (for example, enabling them to complete what used to be a 6-hour process in less than 15 minutes)..

However, the system itself is complex and evolving fast in a CI/CD model. Each change introduces risk, but delaying releases impedes progress. They knew their approach to testing the system had to be as innovative as the researchers they serve. Relying on manual testing was not an option!

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    Industry: Other
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    Organization size: 1,001-5,000
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    Location: Australia
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  • Extensive regression testing is required to ensure that any adverse impacts from application changes—as well as regular updates to the underlying Salesforce platforms—are identified and addressed prior to release
  • The system evolved in 4-week Agile sprints, but manual test cycles took over a week
  • Manual testing was thorough, but time-consuming
  • Since testing was delayed, it was difficult to trace defects back to specific user stories or changes
  • Test automation had to support SalesforceSAP, ServiceNow, APIs, and other technologies
  • Testers were not scripting/programming experts and did not have the time to learn
  • The value of test automation was not yet accepted throughout the organization

  • Arrow Icon“If we’re doing this, we’re doing it properly. We really need to go through and make test automation a top priority.” — Chris Stewart, Lead Architect at La Trobe University

La Trobe University: “All kinds of clever”

After extensive research, La Trobe found a cutting-edge test automation solution to support their cutting-edge research: Tricentis Tosca. Before selecting a tool, they defined several core goals for automation:

  1. Reduce risk exposure by automating high priority tests
  2. Increase the speed and precision of defect detection
  3. Reduce the time required to build/set up manual test scenarios
  4. Reduce the time required to execute test scenarios
  5. Run tests across multiple sandboxes without modification

Tricentis Tosca quickly proved that it could satisfy them all—and truly fast track test automation from the start. Using the solution’s risk-based approach, the team rapidly zeroed in on the high-value test cases to automate first. They then automated 100% of their MVP processes using Tosca’s AI-powered Salesforce Scan technology, which creates a complete automation model of a Salesforce org in less than a minute. With this foundation, creating an automated test takes no more time than creating a manual one.

Testing now occurs at the same pace of development, with automated regression testing embedded in their CI/CD process. Stewart summed up: “This enables us to innovate at speed…without putting the product at risk.”


  • 100% of MVP processes (about 20% total) automated
  • 40% efficiency increases freed resource for other work
  • Test execution time reduced from 5 days to minutes
  • Test automation can be implemented in-sprint
  • Automated detection of critical defects that manual testing overlooked
  • Regression testing runs automatically across multiple Salesforce environments and sandboxes
  • Creating test automation takes no more time than creating a manual test
  • Manual testers now focus on exploratory testing, not routine checking
  • Tests reused across environments and profiles
  • Coverage of approval workflows, data security and profile-based tests
  • Upcoming test automation expansion into SAP SuccessFactors and ServiceNow