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IT-Software Testing


Software testing companies and professionals are re-inventing methodologies, tools, frameworks, and business models to seize emerging opportunities. The testing geography is changing like never before.

The software testing and Quality Assurance (QA) are arguably the most critical components of a product’s life cycle and the most valuable IT discipline within an enterprise. Today, with the advent of new production methods and technologies such as Cloud computing, automation tools, open source tools and innovative testing methods, the entire spectrum of software testing is undergoing a sea change. According to a report by industry body NASSCOM on the testing industry, globally, the market for software testing outsourcing is expected to grow from $30 billion in 2010 to $50 billion in 2020. A recent market analysis by Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) have stated that the market for application testing and quality assurance services continues to grow faster than the overall IT services from 2011 through 2015.

Perhaps, enterprises are now looking up to testing organisations to provide them with the necessary confidence to charge ahead in business initiatives. And to perform these tasks efficiently, software testing itself is introducing a series of innovations and trends. Modern tools and technologies are bridging the gap between the testers, customers and developers by encouraging a ‘team approach’ in testing. Companies are increasingly realising that the good old structured test cases that run repeatedly on the software do not improve software quality, but is just a defensive approach.

Automated testing

Previously, software testing would only commence once the development of the product was complete, leading to frequent delays and re-work. However, by automating testing processes, quality can be emphasised at the start of development and problems can be addressed before they become too difficult to solve. Automation is beneficial to reduce the execution time required for repetitive tasks. It also helps companies to lean in their processes. Automated tests are preferred for improving efficiency; especially in reducing time spend for repeat tests.

Proper selection of the tool is the key to the success of automation. Initial cost was not the only factor to select the tool. One should consider learning, skill availability and maintenance of the automated scripts while selecting the tool. A wrong decision can impact the overall success of automation initiative. In functional testing commercial tools such as Quick Test Professional (QTP), Test Complete, Silk Test and so on are gaining importance. However, there are lots of open source tools such as Selenium, which are attaining popularity in testing. “These tools not only reduce cost but also help in adding more and more plug-ins. With emphasis on automation to improve feedback cycles, organisations are looking at flexible and low cost tools.

Help from Cloud

Testing an application or a service on the Cloud is certainly evolving faster. Cloud testing primary focuses on areas such as system and performance tests. Market studies state that testing-as-a-service (Taas) is estimated to grow by over 33% each year from 2011 to 2013 and the market for Cloud-based testing tools will reach over $700 million by 2013. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity for outsourcers, ISVs and software vendors alike in Cloud-based testing. Cloud-based frameworks help companies conduct performance tests quickly and economically. Cloud will work easily in hospitality and retail industries where they can host applications on a third-party Cloud space provider and have it tested from low-cost countries. It definitely adds value in terms of cost, speed to market and better environment for more test coverage.


Mobile application testing

While hand-held devices become more common in enterprises, businesses are under constant pressure to deliver a smooth experience for apps. As smartphone capabilities further develop, so does the level of expectations for added functionality. Thus, it is crucial that mobile applications should be tested rigorously to ensure a smooth experience for customers. The diversity in mobile computing environments presents unique challenges in developing apps, QA and deployment, which needs higher and a more intricate testing regime. Mobile apps testing require dedicated labs to verify the functionality in different devices and platform. The usage of mobile applications is different.

Traditional applications do not support multiple operating systems, while mobile apps do support them. So apps should be tested to ensure that they run on key platforms and across a multitude of networks. Kalyanasundaram of Cognizant opined, “Quality testing of applications across operating systems, device platforms, and networks is a necessary but daunting task to ensure long-term success in a highly fragmented and competitive global market.”

The way forward

Even with new tools and technologies, the testing landscape is facing a lot of challenges. A major challenge is that software testing is becoming a highly demanding cross-functional area. This certainly is mandating a re-design of the core role of tester. That calls for re-imagining and re-aligning the complete function of testing, which would, in turn, needs to find out right people, process and technology. Another challenge is the budget. As mobile, Cloud and other technologies add more to the plate, there is a need to ensure that the conventional testing gets automated, and the resulting savings get reoriented to the emerging areas. Getting the right hand is also an issue in testing industry.

But for sure, there is a huge business opportunity for software testing as there is no tolerance for defective software from the end user’s side. There is a growing understanding that quality will become everybody’s responsibility in the future, and more and more organizations start to look at quality more holistically. Rising recognition, significance and acceptance of network-based applications, wireless tools and mobile technologies with high significance for repeatability, reliability, robustness and re-usability have set a newer facet for testing. At the same time, the core of the application has to be maintained. Thus, there is going to be exciting and changing times in the area of testing.






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