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					InnOVaTiOn FOR SOfTwaRE QuaLiTy
Volume 3: issue 2: april 2011




                                                 IT's
                                           Invisible
                                             Giant
                                                       Chris Livesey on the
                                                massive potential of testing


    Inside: Visual testing | Test Qualifications | Regression testing

                          Visit TEST online at www.testmagazine.co.uk
6 | Test cover story




IT’s invisible giant
The idea that a practice which has been part of the IT industry for decades
could now be seen as one of its most important new growth areas may raise
a few eyebrows. Yet the growing importance of the software testing market
has not gone unnoticed among executives and investors alike. chris Livesey
presents his ‘state of the testing nation’.




TEST | April 2011                                             www.testmagazine.co.uk
                                                                                                                   Test cover story | 7




I
    n the fast-moving information             applications, particularly Web 2.0 and
    technology industry, barely a             online applications, has made their
    year goes by without a new                value to the business even greater. Yet
    ‘next big thing’; a radical new           it has also made the cost of their failure
discovery which will transform                all the more tangible.
the way businesses conduct                       Every software application requires
their everyday operations, while              testing in one form or another, from
saving them a small fortune                   a simple Web 2.0 widget through to
in the bargain. although the                  a major enterprise system. With both
truth is rarely so clear-cut, in              consumers and businesses demanding
recent years we have seen                     smarter, faster and ever more
innovative technologies such                  sophisticated applications, and the
as SOa, virtualisation and cloud              cost of application failure becoming
computing generate significant                ever greater, the need for testing
hype before their business                    solutions and services which can
benefits were fully realised.                 ensure this is achieved is more pressing.
   When compared to these                        Testing is now big business. Testing
innovations, the idea that a practice         software tools alone are worth an
which has been part of the IT industry        estimated $2 billion worldwide each
for decades could now be seen as one          year. These tools have, in turn, enabled
of its most important new growth areas        the rapid growth of the testing services
may raise a few eyebrows. Yet the             market, which one analyst has
                                                                                            While testing as a
growing importance of the software            estimated to be worth in the region of        practice dates back
testing market has not gone unnoticed         $30 billion per year, rising to $46 billion
among executives and investors alike.         in the next four years . This underlines
                                                                                            as far as software
The past eighteen months has seen             why testing can legitimately be termed        development itself,
software testing buck the downward            ‘IT’s invisible giant’.
trend in M&A activity, with vendors
                                                                                            it is only recently
looking to gain a foothold in fast-           why test?                                     that it has become
growing areas of an industry which, ten       For a growing number of organisations
                                                                                            recognised as a
to fifteen years ago, would barely have       today, their software is the first or
been recognised as a discipline in its        only means of interaction with their          distinct expertise
own right.                                    customers. It is, therefore, essential that
                                                                                            and an area
   While testing as a practice dates          it works.
back as far as software development              Most organisations have now realised       which can provide
itself, it is only recently that it has       that the effect of poor or insufficient
                                                                                            true competitive
become recognised as a distinct               testing can be disastrous. A 2002 study
expertise and an area which can               conducted by the US-based National            advantage to
provide true competitive advantage to         Institute of Standards and Technology
                                                                                            a development
a development team and the business           (NIST) calculated that software errors
as a whole. This change in perception,        account for $59.5 billion worth of loss       team and the
allied to a growing need for software         each year in the US alone. This, despite
                                                                                            business as a whole.
testing in an increasingly applications-      any improvements in software quality
reliant world, has made testing, and the      practices which may have taken place          This change in
broader process of software quality, a        in the meantime, is a shocking statistic,
                                                                                            perception, allied
growing concern.                              and one which illustrates exactly why
   And there is no reason why it shouldn’t    this is an issue. Indeed if the cost of       to a growing need
be. The testing process is believed           software errors has increased in line         for software testing
to consume between one third and              with economic growth over the past
one half of all software development          eight years then we can estimate              in an increasingly
budgets, so it is crucial that its efforts    that its current cost to the US alone is      applications-reliant
are a success. In an industry in which        somewhere in the region of $90 billion.
only 32 percent of projects are                  But the cost of defective software is      world, has made
successful and half of all development        not only financial. The effects of poor       testing, and the
efforts are wasted , there is little margin   testing now stretch way beyond the
for error.                                    back office, to the boardroom and             broader process of
   Most importantly of all however, the       even to the brand.                            software quality, a
growing importance of applications to            Toyota’s recent recall of hundreds of
modern society is driving the growth of       thousands of its hybrid vehicles (such        growing concern.
testing. Increased levels of demand for       as the successful Prius model) due to



www.testmagazine.co.uk                                                                                                  April 2011 | TEST
8 | Test cover story




                            a problem with braking is one such             the volume of tests being conducted.
                            example. What was believed to be little        And with testing taking place earlier
                            more than a small software glitch not          and more frequently within the
                            only left the car giant millions of dollars    development process, there is a
                            out of pocket, but also risked                 greater need for test automation.
                            the brand’s reputation on a global                With so much testing taking place,
                            scale. The effect this may have had            it is little surprise that a number of the
                            on the brand’s long-term standing will         world’s largest technology companies
                            not be truly understood for at least           are major players in the sector. The
                            another decade.                                key players in testing services, which
                              Senior executives, too, are not              accounts for the lion’s share of testing
    With organisations      immune to the side-effects of                  revenues, include some of the world’s
                            software failure. In 2010, the CFO of          most established IT brands, but the
    of all sizes now        one of Britain’s most prominent travel         market is increasingly being dominated
    looking to move         companies felt compelled to offer his          by large outsourcing providers. India
                            resignation, following an accounting           is the new home of testing services,
    their business          error (caused by faulty software) which        and both this and the increased
    critical systems onto   forced the company to write down               strategic importance of testing have
                            over £100 million worth of sales. This         meant that the typical profile of a
    cloud platforms,        problem, like Toyota’s, would likely have      tester is changing.
    this will create        been detected had rigorous software               In the past, the common
                            testing procedures been in place.              misconception was often that software
    new challenges            The potential cost of IT failure is simply   testers were lower-skilled than other
    for IT professionals,   too high to be ignored. In the Internet        IT professionals such as developers.
                            age, applications are the primary way          However, professional qualifications in
    requiring testing
                            in which individuals, both within the          testing are now commonplace and
    at every stage of       organisation and outside it, interact          the majority of practitioners are now
                            with a business. Put in these terms,           degree-educated. The emergence
    the development
                            rolling out an application which has           of a new generation of highly-skilled
    process. The            not been through adequate testing              and educated testers across the
                            procedures would be equivalent to              globe is proof of the industry’s growing
    adoption of Agile
                            sending out an untrained salesperson           importance. With testing now being
    practices, which        to meet customers, or instantly                incorporated into agile development
                            promoting a newly-recruited graduate           practices, quality is becoming a
    allow testing to
                            to the role of CEO. For a business to          critical element of any software
    occur alongside         function, so must its software, which is       development effort.
                            why testing is growing in stature.
    development,
                                                                           Test where?
    will also serve to      who tests?                                     It is hard to begin any conversation
                            Software testing is no longer the              about the geography of software
    increase the volume
                            domain purely of large organisations           testing without first noting two of its
    of tests being          running major enterprise systems.              centres: Silicon Valley, California, and
    conducted. And with     From independent software vendors              Bangalore, India. Yet, when discussing
                            through to one-man-band developers,            today’s testing market, one would
    testing taking place    testing is now an essential element of         be equally justified in mentioning
    earlier and more        the IT function.                               emerging markets such as Poland,
                              With organisations of all sizes now          Egypt or Brasil.
    frequently within       looking to move their business critical           Silicon Valley, home to the majority
    the development         systems onto cloud platforms, this             of the world’s largest technology
                            will create new challenges for IT              companies, is the spiritual home of
    process, there is       professionals, requiring testing at every      software, and as such has also nurtured
    a greater need for      stage of the development process.              the testing methods and tools which
                            The adoption of Agile practices,               software required as it rose to the
    test automation.        which allow testing to occur alongside         prominence it today enjoys. Bangalore,
                            development, will also serve to increase       by contrast, is the IT outsourcing capital



TEST | April 2011                                                                                                 www.testmagazine.co.uk
                                                                                                                                       Test cover story | 9




of the world – a five million-strong          investment in excess of £500 million        load testing, due to its ability to
technology hub within a nation which          each year, while the likes of Mexico        conduct short bursts of tests without
currently produces over 400,000               and Venezuela are becoming                  requiring significant outlay on
technology graduates each year.               increasingly attractive outsourcing         hardware or maintenance.
   While estimates of India’s overall         destinations for companies in the USA.        In a world where more and more
share of the testing market vary greatly,     Egypt, the Philippines, Tunisia and         organisations rely on applications
most analysts would now agree that it         Bulgaria are also among a group of 14       (whether web-based or private),
is now higher than that of the US. And        ‘non-BRIC’ (Brasil, Russia, India, China)   businesses require reassurance that
the traditional balance of power in this      nations identified by the London School     these systems are durable enough
relationship may also be shifting.            of Economics as potential hotbeds for       to handle thousands of individuals
   Since the turn of the century, testing     BPO growth over the coming decades,         using the application simultaneously
vendors in developed nations have             and as a result are all areas where we      and from multiple points of access.
traditionally focused on strategic,           would expect investment in testing          Companies who can offer the
value-added services and IP-rich              services to increase.                       products and services required to
testing tools, while labour-intensive                                                     do this look well-placed to prosper
manual testing has been outsourced            Testing times ahead?                        from the cloud age.
to areas such as Bangalore. Now,              If there is one certainty to be gleaned       Testing-as-a-service is estimated to
however, with a number of years of            from current trends in software, it is      grow by over 33 percent each year
experience and an increasingly skilled        that testing and other areas of quality     between now and 2013, meaning
workforce behind them, India’s testing        assurance will continue to grow in          that the market for cloud-based
suppliers are beginning to climb              importance for the foreseeable future.      testing tools will reach over $700
the value chain. The subcontinent’s           As the potential impact of software         million by 2013. This represents a huge
outsourcing giants are increasingly           failure increases, so too do the            opportunity for outsourcers, ISVs and
capable of offering sophisticated             resources available to prevent such         software vendors alike, and shows just
testing services which rival those of their   problems from occurring. This, in turn,     why many analysts have described
American and European counterparts.           is increasing levels of professionalism     cloud computing as the biggest step
   However, an increasingly diverse           within the industry, making testing         change in IT since the adoption of the
range of competitors is emerging,             a more strategically-important and          Internet itself.
challenging the established leaders at        lucrative practice.
both end of the value chain. Perhaps             However, to suggest that testing will    2. Testing skills shortage a likelihood
inspired by the track record of India,        simply continue its current trajectory      A 2010 survey found that almost three
China has made concerted efforts to           without any major changes to the            quarters of testing professionals in the
establish itself as a major player within     landscape of the market would be            UK felt that there was a skills shortage
the technology industry over the past         foolhardy. The market as it now stands      within the industry.
decade. A recent report estimated that        is virtually unrecognisable from that          Gartner has estimated that, within
the Chinese software industry already         of ten or fifteen years ago, and it is      non-software companies, the highest
accounts for revenues in excess of $50        reasonable to assume that the rate of       ratios of testers to developers is around
billion each year, with testing among         progress over the coming decade will        1:3, meaning that many companies
the fastest-growing areas of this. As         be even more rapid.                         may have a ratio of four or five to one,
Indian vendors expand to challenge               Here are what we believe will be         or even more. When one considers
European and American rivals at the           five major trends in software testing       that between a third and a half of the
higher end of the value chain (and            between now and 2020:                       total cost of application development
as average wages for professionals                                                        is accounted for by the testing process,
increase accordingly), China (and,            1. Testing’s rightful place in the cloud    this seems ominously low. Such
to a lesser extent, Malaysia) may well        Cloud computing will be the single          discrepancies between demand and
emerge as a new hub for labour-               greatest influence on IT practices in the   supply show why the testing stage often
intensive, outsourced testing services.       years ahead, and testing will, like every   becomes a bottleneck in the software
   In addition, emerging nations              other facet of technology, be affected.     development process.
across Central and Eastern Europe,              In addition to the obvious benefit           While automation tools are capable
North Africa and Latin America are            of flexible pricing, the cloud model        of reducing much of the tester’s
successfully taking advantage of the          has a great deal to offer to the testing    workload, it is clear that software
trend towards ‘nearsourcing’ among            industry due to what is likely to be an     testing, as a growing area of the
businesses in Western Europe and              exponential increase in demand for          IT industry, will require more skilled
North America. The Czech Republic             load testing. Cloud is a compelling         professionals in the years ahead. While
and Poland both now attract BPO               option for companies conducting             the growing status of the industry will no



www.testmagazine.co.uk                                                                                                                      April 2011 | TEST
10 | Test cover story




doubt help in attracting new graduates           for labour-intensive, manual tasks.          ever more essential, and testing tools
and school leavers into the profession,          However, in a survey conducted by            will need to change in order to meet
as with all skills shortages, this will not be   Micro Focus, manual testing still ranked     this demand.
solved overnight. Rather, it will require        as a far higher priority among testers
the co-operation of government,                  than automation, showing that there          5. applications economy
business and academia to identify the            is still a long way to go before             While it is by no means a new
areas in which shortfalls are the highest        automation becomes the norm.                 trend, one process which will continue
and to then tailor curricula to meet                In reality, there will always be a need   rapidly over the coming decade is
these needs. While this shortfall is being       for both manual and automated                the growing importance of
addressed, responsibility for ensuring           testing, and that will be as true in         applications to the businesses
software quality will fall upon the              2020 as it is today. Agile development       they serve.
shoulders of every stakeholder involved          practices require higher levels of              Even more so than today,
in the project, from analysts through            automation, meaning increased                applications, be they web-based
to developers.                                   adoption of Agile will lead to a growth      widgets or back office batch
  Nevertheless, working to improve               in demand for automation tools.              processing systems, will be the lifeblood
the ratio of testers to developers, and          However, increased demand for                of the business. As Internet adoption
identifying and tackling skills shortages        testing services as a whole will more        becomes more prevalent throughout
in testing will be deciding factors in           than compensate for any reduction            the developing world, greater strain
whether the sector, on the one hand,             in manual testing required as a              will be placed on online applications,
flourishes over the coming decade, or            result of increased adoption of              and with this increased demand will
on the other, becomes stifled by a lack          automation techniques.                       come greater business value and risk
of available talent and an ongoing                                                            of failure. Further, as applications
reputation as the major bottleneck in            4. increased agility                         become more complex they consume
the development cycle.                           Agile methods are becoming                   more resources and can lead to
                                                 increasingly important in software           increased loads. They also become
3. an automated and                              development. Companies value                 more difficult to test due to the
continuous approach to testing                   their flexible and extremely effective       complexity of simulating interactions
One trend which will undoubtedly                 procedures, which work even for              like those via Web 2.0 applications.
shape the testing tools market over the          large projects, enabling products to            The financial and reputational cost
coming years is that of test automation.         be completed early and subsequent            of application failures will continue to
While test automation tools have                 adaptations to be made as well.              skyrocket. The need to stay available
been available for a number of                   Agile testing plays an important             and functional will drive a greater
years, it is only comparatively recently         part in this: testing at an early            understanding of peak demand
that businesses have truly begun to              stage, and in parallel with software         times and software quality processes,
appreciate the value which they can              development, ensures that the quality        meaning that website outages or
add to the development process.                  of the software satisfies requirements       system failures, while not altogether
  The increased automation of                    more closely.                                becoming a thing of the past, should
testing supports a more ‘continuous’                Relevant test procedures can now          not occur as frequently as today.
approach to software quality.                    be carried out earlier in the course         Organisations simply must test to
Previous modes of assuring quality               of the project, meaning problems             ensure that applications perform,
tended to focus on the last mile of              can be identified in good time and           even under massive peak loads.
the development process, where                   rectified accordingly. Combining
testing would only commence once                 prompt testing with automation will          The invisible giant
development was complete, leading                also lead to greater efficiency: the         With much of the IT industry still
to frequent delays and re-work. By               inaccuracies of manual processes can         struggling to overcome the economic
automating testing processes, quality            be eliminated and tests can                  malaise of recent years, testing is
can be emphasised at the start of                be repeated.                                 one of the few areas in enterprise
development and problems can be                     The ability to test earlier in the        technology which is bucking the trend
addressed before they become too                 development process also means that          and showing strong growth prospects.
difficult or costly to remove.                   more testing can now be ‘requirements        With a market size which will soon
  Automation tools eliminate much                driven’. Aligning the testing and            exceed $50 billion, and prevailing
of the laborious nature of testing and           requirements processes more closely          trends showing that demand in the
also remove exposure to human error              is yet another way of ensuring that          sector shows no signs of slowing, the
within the process. This has led some            software quality is built into the           potential rewards for companies and
to suggest that increased adoption of            development process from the start,          individuals which can succeed in this
such tools could eventually replace              rather than being undertaken only            space are huge. While it may never
the majority of manual tests. This in            once an application nears completion.        make front-page headlines or appear           chris Livesey
                                                                                                                                            Vice president,
turn would have a huge effect on the                As Agile continues to grow as a           at the top of many board agendas,             application management and quality,
                                                                                                                                            EMEA and Latin America
testing services market, much of                 practice, the ability to test throughout     software testing is now, and will             Micro Focus
                                                                                                                                            www.microfocus.com
which relies on an ongoing requirement           the development process becomes              continue to be, IT’s invisible giant.



TEST | April 2011                                                                                                                      www.testmagazine.co.uk
6 | Test cover story




IT’s invisible giant
The idea that a practice which has been part of the IT industry for decades
could now be seen as one of its most important new growth areas may raise
a few eyebrows. Yet the growing importance of the software testing market
has not gone unnoticed among executives and investors alike. chris Livesey
presents his ‘state of the testing nation’.




TEST | April 2011                                             www.testmagazine.co.uk
                                                                                                                   Test cover story | 7




I
    n the fast-moving information             applications, particularly Web 2.0 and
    technology industry, barely a             online applications, has made their
    year goes by without a new                value to the business even greater. Yet
    ‘next big thing’; a radical new           it has also made the cost of their failure
discovery which will transform                all the more tangible.
the way businesses conduct                       Every software application requires
their everyday operations, while              testing in one form or another, from
saving them a small fortune                   a simple Web 2.0 widget through to
in the bargain. although the                  a major enterprise system. With both
truth is rarely so clear-cut, in              consumers and businesses demanding
recent years we have seen                     smarter, faster and ever more
innovative technologies such                  sophisticated applications, and the
as SOa, virtualisation and cloud              cost of application failure becoming
computing generate significant                ever greater, the need for testing
hype before their business                    solutions and services which can
benefits were fully realised.                 ensure this is achieved is more pressing.
   When compared to these                        Testing is now big business. Testing
innovations, the idea that a practice         software tools alone are worth an
which has been part of the IT industry        estimated $2 billion worldwide each
for decades could now be seen as one          year. These tools have, in turn, enabled
of its most important new growth areas        the rapid growth of the testing services
may raise a few eyebrows. Yet the             market, which one analyst has
                                                                                            While testing as a
growing importance of the software            estimated to be worth in the region of        practice dates back
testing market has not gone unnoticed         $30 billion per year, rising to $46 billion
among executives and investors alike.         in the next four years . This underlines
                                                                                            as far as software
The past eighteen months has seen             why testing can legitimately be termed        development itself,
software testing buck the downward            ‘IT’s invisible giant’.
trend in M&A activity, with vendors
                                                                                            it is only recently
looking to gain a foothold in fast-           why test?                                     that it has become
growing areas of an industry which, ten       For a growing number of organisations
                                                                                            recognised as a
to fifteen years ago, would barely have       today, their software is the first or
been recognised as a discipline in its        only means of interaction with their          distinct expertise
own right.                                    customers. It is, therefore, essential that
                                                                                            and an area
   While testing as a practice dates          it works.
back as far as software development              Most organisations have now realised       which can provide
itself, it is only recently that it has       that the effect of poor or insufficient
                                                                                            true competitive
become recognised as a distinct               testing can be disastrous. A 2002 study
expertise and an area which can               conducted by the US-based National            advantage to
provide true competitive advantage to         Institute of Standards and Technology
                                                                                            a development
a development team and the business           (NIST) calculated that software errors
as a whole. This change in perception,        account for $59.5 billion worth of loss       team and the
allied to a growing need for software         each year in the US alone. This, despite
                                                                                            business as a whole.
testing in an increasingly applications-      any improvements in software quality
reliant world, has made testing, and the      practices which may have taken place          This change in
broader process of software quality, a        in the meantime, is a shocking statistic,
                                                                                            perception, allied
growing concern.                              and one which illustrates exactly why
   And there is no reason why it shouldn’t    this is an issue. Indeed if the cost of       to a growing need
be. The testing process is believed           software errors has increased in line         for software testing
to consume between one third and              with economic growth over the past
one half of all software development          eight years then we can estimate              in an increasingly
budgets, so it is crucial that its efforts    that its current cost to the US alone is      applications-reliant
are a success. In an industry in which        somewhere in the region of $90 billion.
only 32 percent of projects are                  But the cost of defective software is      world, has made
successful and half of all development        not only financial. The effects of poor       testing, and the
efforts are wasted , there is little margin   testing now stretch way beyond the
for error.                                    back office, to the boardroom and             broader process of
   Most importantly of all however, the       even to the brand.                            software quality, a
growing importance of applications to            Toyota’s recent recall of hundreds of
modern society is driving the growth of       thousands of its hybrid vehicles (such        growing concern.
testing. Increased levels of demand for       as the successful Prius model) due to



www.testmagazine.co.uk                                                                                                  April 2011 | TEST
8 | Test cover story




                            a problem with braking is one such             the volume of tests being conducted.
                            example. What was believed to be little        And with testing taking place earlier
                            more than a small software glitch not          and more frequently within the
                            only left the car giant millions of dollars    development process, there is a
                            out of pocket, but also risked                 greater need for test automation.
                            the brand’s reputation on a global                With so much testing taking place,
                            scale. The effect this may have had            it is little surprise that a number of the
                            on the brand’s long-term standing will         world’s largest technology companies
                            not be truly understood for at least           are major players in the sector. The
                            another decade.                                key players in testing services, which
                              Senior executives, too, are not              accounts for the lion’s share of testing
    With organisations      immune to the side-effects of                  revenues, include some of the world’s
                            software failure. In 2010, the CFO of          most established IT brands, but the
    of all sizes now        one of Britain’s most prominent travel         market is increasingly being dominated
    looking to move         companies felt compelled to offer his          by large outsourcing providers. India
                            resignation, following an accounting           is the new home of testing services,
    their business          error (caused by faulty software) which        and both this and the increased
    critical systems onto   forced the company to write down               strategic importance of testing have
                            over £100 million worth of sales. This         meant that the typical profile of a
    cloud platforms,        problem, like Toyota’s, would likely have      tester is changing.
    this will create        been detected had rigorous software               In the past, the common
                            testing procedures been in place.              misconception was often that software
    new challenges            The potential cost of IT failure is simply   testers were lower-skilled than other
    for IT professionals,   too high to be ignored. In the Internet        IT professionals such as developers.
                            age, applications are the primary way          However, professional qualifications in
    requiring testing
                            in which individuals, both within the          testing are now commonplace and
    at every stage of       organisation and outside it, interact          the majority of practitioners are now
                            with a business. Put in these terms,           degree-educated. The emergence
    the development
                            rolling out an application which has           of a new generation of highly-skilled
    process. The            not been through adequate testing              and educated testers across the
                            procedures would be equivalent to              globe is proof of the industry’s growing
    adoption of Agile
                            sending out an untrained salesperson           importance. With testing now being
    practices, which        to meet customers, or instantly                incorporated into agile development
                            promoting a newly-recruited graduate           practices, quality is becoming a
    allow testing to
                            to the role of CEO. For a business to          critical element of any software
    occur alongside         function, so must its software, which is       development effort.
                            why testing is growing in stature.
    development,
                                                                           Test where?
    will also serve to      who tests?                                     It is hard to begin any conversation
                            Software testing is no longer the              about the geography of software
    increase the volume
                            domain purely of large organisations           testing without first noting two of its
    of tests being          running major enterprise systems.              centres: Silicon Valley, California, and
    conducted. And with     From independent software vendors              Bangalore, India. Yet, when discussing
                            through to one-man-band developers,            today’s testing market, one would
    testing taking place    testing is now an essential element of         be equally justified in mentioning
    earlier and more        the IT function.                               emerging markets such as Poland,
                              With organisations of all sizes now          Egypt or Brasil.
    frequently within       looking to move their business critical           Silicon Valley, home to the majority
    the development         systems onto cloud platforms, this             of the world’s largest technology
                            will create new challenges for IT              companies, is the spiritual home of
    process, there is       professionals, requiring testing at every      software, and as such has also nurtured
    a greater need for      stage of the development process.              the testing methods and tools which
                            The adoption of Agile practices,               software required as it rose to the
    test automation.        which allow testing to occur alongside         prominence it today enjoys. Bangalore,
                            development, will also serve to increase       by contrast, is the IT outsourcing capital



TEST | April 2011                                                                                                 www.testmagazine.co.uk
                                                                                                                                       Test cover story | 9




of the world – a five million-strong          investment in excess of £500 million        load testing, due to its ability to
technology hub within a nation which          each year, while the likes of Mexico        conduct short bursts of tests without
currently produces over 400,000               and Venezuela are becoming                  requiring significant outlay on
technology graduates each year.               increasingly attractive outsourcing         hardware or maintenance.
   While estimates of India’s overall         destinations for companies in the USA.        In a world where more and more
share of the testing market vary greatly,     Egypt, the Philippines, Tunisia and         organisations rely on applications
most analysts would now agree that it         Bulgaria are also among a group of 14       (whether web-based or private),
is now higher than that of the US. And        ‘non-BRIC’ (Brasil, Russia, India, China)   businesses require reassurance that
the traditional balance of power in this      nations identified by the London School     these systems are durable enough
relationship may also be shifting.            of Economics as potential hotbeds for       to handle thousands of individuals
   Since the turn of the century, testing     BPO growth over the coming decades,         using the application simultaneously
vendors in developed nations have             and as a result are all areas where we      and from multiple points of access.
traditionally focused on strategic,           would expect investment in testing          Companies who can offer the
value-added services and IP-rich              services to increase.                       products and services required to
testing tools, while labour-intensive                                                     do this look well-placed to prosper
manual testing has been outsourced            Testing times ahead?                        from the cloud age.
to areas such as Bangalore. Now,              If there is one certainty to be gleaned       Testing-as-a-service is estimated to
however, with a number of years of            from current trends in software, it is      grow by over 33 percent each year
experience and an increasingly skilled        that testing and other areas of quality     between now and 2013, meaning
workforce behind them, India’s testing        assurance will continue to grow in          that the market for cloud-based
suppliers are beginning to climb              importance for the foreseeable future.      testing tools will reach over $700
the value chain. The subcontinent’s           As the potential impact of software         million by 2013. This represents a huge
outsourcing giants are increasingly           failure increases, so too do the            opportunity for outsourcers, ISVs and
capable of offering sophisticated             resources available to prevent such         software vendors alike, and shows just
testing services which rival those of their   problems from occurring. This, in turn,     why many analysts have described
American and European counterparts.           is increasing levels of professionalism     cloud computing as the biggest step
   However, an increasingly diverse           within the industry, making testing         change in IT since the adoption of the
range of competitors is emerging,             a more strategically-important and          Internet itself.
challenging the established leaders at        lucrative practice.
both end of the value chain. Perhaps             However, to suggest that testing will    2. Testing skills shortage a likelihood
inspired by the track record of India,        simply continue its current trajectory      A 2010 survey found that almost three
China has made concerted efforts to           without any major changes to the            quarters of testing professionals in the
establish itself as a major player within     landscape of the market would be            UK felt that there was a skills shortage
the technology industry over the past         foolhardy. The market as it now stands      within the industry.
decade. A recent report estimated that        is virtually unrecognisable from that          Gartner has estimated that, within
the Chinese software industry already         of ten or fifteen years ago, and it is      non-software companies, the highest
accounts for revenues in excess of $50        reasonable to assume that the rate of       ratios of testers to developers is around
billion each year, with testing among         progress over the coming decade will        1:3, meaning that many companies
the fastest-growing areas of this. As         be even more rapid.                         may have a ratio of four or five to one,
Indian vendors expand to challenge               Here are what we believe will be         or even more. When one considers
European and American rivals at the           five major trends in software testing       that between a third and a half of the
higher end of the value chain (and            between now and 2020:                       total cost of application development
as average wages for professionals                                                        is accounted for by the testing process,
increase accordingly), China (and,            1. Testing’s rightful place in the cloud    this seems ominously low. Such
to a lesser extent, Malaysia) may well        Cloud computing will be the single          discrepancies between demand and
emerge as a new hub for labour-               greatest influence on IT practices in the   supply show why the testing stage often
intensive, outsourced testing services.       years ahead, and testing will, like every   becomes a bottleneck in the software
   In addition, emerging nations              other facet of technology, be affected.     development process.
across Central and Eastern Europe,              In addition to the obvious benefit           While automation tools are capable
North Africa and Latin America are            of flexible pricing, the cloud model        of reducing much of the tester’s
successfully taking advantage of the          has a great deal to offer to the testing    workload, it is clear that software
trend towards ‘nearsourcing’ among            industry due to what is likely to be an     testing, as a growing area of the
businesses in Western Europe and              exponential increase in demand for          IT industry, will require more skilled
North America. The Czech Republic             load testing. Cloud is a compelling         professionals in the years ahead. While
and Poland both now attract BPO               option for companies conducting             the growing status of the industry will no



www.testmagazine.co.uk                                                                                                                      April 2011 | TEST
10 | Test cover story




doubt help in attracting new graduates           for labour-intensive, manual tasks.          ever more essential, and testing tools
and school leavers into the profession,          However, in a survey conducted by            will need to change in order to meet
as with all skills shortages, this will not be   Micro Focus, manual testing still ranked     this demand.
solved overnight. Rather, it will require        as a far higher priority among testers
the co-operation of government,                  than automation, showing that there          5. applications economy
business and academia to identify the            is still a long way to go before             While it is by no means a new
areas in which shortfalls are the highest        automation becomes the norm.                 trend, one process which will continue
and to then tailor curricula to meet                In reality, there will always be a need   rapidly over the coming decade is
these needs. While this shortfall is being       for both manual and automated                the growing importance of
addressed, responsibility for ensuring           testing, and that will be as true in         applications to the businesses
software quality will fall upon the              2020 as it is today. Agile development       they serve.
shoulders of every stakeholder involved          practices require higher levels of              Even more so than today,
in the project, from analysts through            automation, meaning increased                applications, be they web-based
to developers.                                   adoption of Agile will lead to a growth      widgets or back office batch
  Nevertheless, working to improve               in demand for automation tools.              processing systems, will be the lifeblood
the ratio of testers to developers, and          However, increased demand for                of the business. As Internet adoption
identifying and tackling skills shortages        testing services as a whole will more        becomes more prevalent throughout
in testing will be deciding factors in           than compensate for any reduction            the developing world, greater strain
whether the sector, on the one hand,             in manual testing required as a              will be placed on online applications,
flourishes over the coming decade, or            result of increased adoption of              and with this increased demand will
on the other, becomes stifled by a lack          automation techniques.                       come greater business value and risk
of available talent and an ongoing                                                            of failure. Further, as applications
reputation as the major bottleneck in            4. increased agility                         become more complex they consume
the development cycle.                           Agile methods are becoming                   more resources and can lead to
                                                 increasingly important in software           increased loads. They also become
3. an automated and                              development. Companies value                 more difficult to test due to the
continuous approach to testing                   their flexible and extremely effective       complexity of simulating interactions
One trend which will undoubtedly                 procedures, which work even for              like those via Web 2.0 applications.
shape the testing tools market over the          large projects, enabling products to            The financial and reputational cost
coming years is that of test automation.         be completed early and subsequent            of application failures will continue to
While test automation tools have                 adaptations to be made as well.              skyrocket. The need to stay available
been available for a number of                   Agile testing plays an important             and functional will drive a greater
years, it is only comparatively recently         part in this: testing at an early            understanding of peak demand
that businesses have truly begun to              stage, and in parallel with software         times and software quality processes,
appreciate the value which they can              development, ensures that the quality        meaning that website outages or
add to the development process.                  of the software satisfies requirements       system failures, while not altogether
  The increased automation of                    more closely.                                becoming a thing of the past, should
testing supports a more ‘continuous’                Relevant test procedures can now          not occur as frequently as today.
approach to software quality.                    be carried out earlier in the course         Organisations simply must test to
Previous modes of assuring quality               of the project, meaning problems             ensure that applications perform,
tended to focus on the last mile of              can be identified in good time and           even under massive peak loads.
the development process, where                   rectified accordingly. Combining
testing would only commence once                 prompt testing with automation will          The invisible giant
development was complete, leading                also lead to greater efficiency: the         With much of the IT industry still
to frequent delays and re-work. By               inaccuracies of manual processes can         struggling to overcome the economic
automating testing processes, quality            be eliminated and tests can                  malaise of recent years, testing is
can be emphasised at the start of                be repeated.                                 one of the few areas in enterprise
development and problems can be                     The ability to test earlier in the        technology which is bucking the trend
addressed before they become too                 development process also means that          and showing strong growth prospects.
difficult or costly to remove.                   more testing can now be ‘requirements        With a market size which will soon
  Automation tools eliminate much                driven’. Aligning the testing and            exceed $50 billion, and prevailing
of the laborious nature of testing and           requirements processes more closely          trends showing that demand in the
also remove exposure to human error              is yet another way of ensuring that          sector shows no signs of slowing, the
within the process. This has led some            software quality is built into the           potential rewards for companies and
to suggest that increased adoption of            development process from the start,          individuals which can succeed in this
such tools could eventually replace              rather than being undertaken only            space are huge. While it may never
the majority of manual tests. This in            once an application nears completion.        make front-page headlines or appear           chris Livesey
                                                                                                                                            Vice president,
turn would have a huge effect on the                As Agile continues to grow as a           at the top of many board agendas,             application management and quality,
                                                                                                                                            EMEA and Latin America
testing services market, much of                 practice, the ability to test throughout     software testing is now, and will             Micro Focus
                                                                                                                                            www.microfocus.com
which relies on an ongoing requirement           the development process becomes              continue to be, IT’s invisible giant.



TEST | April 2011                                                                                                                      www.testmagazine.co.uk

				
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