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Outsourced Software Testing – A Paradigm Shift

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In their quest to develop intuitive and easy to use software with near-zero defects, many software companies are looking at outsourcing software testing. With this trend catching up in the industry, the focus of offshore service providers has also moved from software development to software testing. Ubiquity of offsite software testing companies has only encouraged this already growing trend.

Over the last decade, the way organizations buy and use technology has changed radically. As of 2008, the annual spend on IT services globally was reported to be more than $500 billion, with Forrester Research citing continued growth in infrastructure and applications outsourcing as well as offshore and project consulting[1]. This growth has been driven by the realization that in a globalized economy, outsourcing can offer significant gains in efficiency, productivity, quality and revenues.

However, despite the potential benefits of outsourcing, very few organizations outsource testing of existing or new software applications. According to a survey of IT leaders conducted by Forrester in 2008[2], only 16% of organizations outsourced software testing. This despite the fact that the outsourced testing market is actually poised for rapid growth; the growth rate for outsourced testing services is 50 per cent annually, or even higher in some cases.

Today’s businesses rely on cutting-edge tools and technologies that can be rolled out quickly and can perform consistently time after time for end-users. There is a growing realization that quality software testing is a specialized and professional skill, and not merely an afterthought activity slotted in at the end of the development lifecycle. A single application failure at a crucial point in a process or transaction can be both expensive and complex to repair; therefore, it’s vital that upfront testing and identification of defects is as good as it can possibly be.

But how can one decide when to outsource testing? Well, ask yourself the following questions and if your answer to these is “Yes,” then you certainly need to look at outsourcing the testing function:

1. Do I have frequent releases / minor releases, which need to be tested for both the release scope as well as for regression?

2. Do I wish there was scope to reduce the development and test cycle time?

3. Do I wish there were fewer showstopper defects in production?

4. Is the time to market a crucial factor for my organization’s success?

5. Is the application required to conform to performance or security guidelines?

6. Do I need to have my software tested on multiple platforms, versions of OS, usability?

7. Can I enhance my ROI using Automated Testing?

8. Am I building domain competence in testing?

However, it should not be assumed that outsourcing the testing function for different projects will deliver same benefits. But to ensure the best possible results from outsourcing of software testing, a few elements are crucial, such as:

• Staffing and specializations of the test function

• A business-driven, process-oriented, structured testing methodology

• Use of appropriate tools and techniques

• Engagement model

• Quantitative performance measures

• Domain expertise – both business and technical

• Independence of testing team from development team

• Continuous implementation of best practices

With these elements in place, one can be assured that testing truly delivers business value. Some of the key value adds and benefits of outsourced testing are:

• Lower costs

• Higher profitability

• Enhanced efficiency in testing

• Reduced time-to-market

• Focus on core business

• Exhaustive coverage and predictable quality of deliverables

• Skill generation and training

• Scalability, flexibility and specialization for staffing

• Technological advancement

At Tavant, we realize that inadequate software testing can prove to be damaging for the quality of your software as well as the costs associated with it. More so, because quality of software is the key to enhance business value and deliver customer delight.

We can help you realize 35% or more savings in your testing costs through:

• Enterprise-focused Center of Excellence (CoE) for testing (ZeroD)

• Flexible Engagement Model

• Expertise in Distributed Agile QA

• Use of specialist independent testing services

• Business-driven, structured testing methodology

• Reusable automation test framework

• Predictable and repeatable test process

When successfully executed, outsourcing of software testing can reduce the cost of the testing function by 30-35% or more as well as lessen the time-to-market, while improving the overall software quality. It gains even more importance because most businesses heavily rely on software applications for their day-to-day operations. Given this situation, it can be said that impeccable software plays a pivotal role in the success of most businesses, irrespective of their areas of operation.

References:

[1] The State Of Enterprise IT Services: 2008, Forrester Research, September 2008.

[2] Capture Value From The Growing Diversity In Outsourced Applications Testing Services, Forrester Research, October 2008.

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