Our top management is interested to explore the use of WinRunner to run some reports by users in the production environment.
The situation is, some users are required to run a few reports for a lot of clients on daily basis. So, they are thinking of using the Record and Play features from WinRunner to help users running the reports under the production environment every day and thus saving their time in the keying process. That is, a user (a non IT guy) will need to start WinRunner and play a scripts prepared by IT.
I feel that it has distorted the use of WinRunner as a testing tools. May I have your opinion on this.
Well, first off, it wouldn't be using it as a testing tool. It would be used as a production record and playback tool.
I have seen WR used for other purposes than testing, but the end result has always been the same - someone has to maintain the scripts unless the application is extremely stable. If anything changes, then the scripts are going to have to be updated.
If that isn't a problem and you have a resource that will take care of the scripts, then you can always set up a shortcut on their desktops to run WinRunner from the command line to do what is needed.
The main question is if it is worth the 5-8K per seat to install WinRunner on the end users system for just running a series of reports. Is it really going to save that much money/time if you have to consider the licensing costs and the time from IT to update the scripts.
Have you looked into adding in functionality into the application to allow these common reports to be run from a single source or selection in the application?
You are talking about a simple record/playback macro program rather than test automation. While winrunner can be used for this task it is a rather expensive tool for such a simple use (as Tony Davis pointed out). There are plenty of other cheaper tools which can accomplish the same thing. Do a search on google for "macro program" and I am sure you will find a program more suitable to your needs than winrunner.
I have used QTP for a similar purpose. Let me state however we use QTP primarily as an automation tool.
I had a long repetitive task that needed to be done on a weekly basis so we automated it using QTP - saved me about 6 hours a week. We automated in the same way as we automate tests by programming to gain the flexibility and accuracy that we needed.
I would never buy one of these tools for a non testing purpose but if it is available and there is concurrent licensing I don't have a problem using it for efficiencies elsewhere.
I would not use record playback however as it would cause the same issues in this type of task as it does in testing.
Some of us are looking into the suggestions that you have given. The most attractive point that WinRunner can offer is that we have a concurrent license. But it seems that it might not be very user friendly for an non-IT people to run it on a routine basis.