The fact that today’s world is driven digitally is underpinned on the functioning of the software and hardware architecture. To ensure every piece of software performs to its optimum capacity and meets its objectives, strict implementation of software testing and QA is required. However, enterprises have been found to give short shrift to software application testing to enable faster time-to-market and reduce cost. That this approach is inherently faulty and delivers poor customer experiences seems to be lost on many key stakeholders. Before getting into what the absence of software testing and QA can lead to, let us understand what software quality assurance testing is all about.
It is testing various aspects of the software code to check if they are performing to their optimal level and delivering the expected results. It ensures the software is stable, reliable, responsive, high performing, secure, and delivering the best user experience. So, the benefits of conducting software application testing are
• Ensuring the software remains bug-free and qualitatively superior
• Enhancing the customer experience
• Streamlining the value chain
• Ensuring continuous improvement to the software
• The product reaching the market fast and at optimum cost
• Boosting customer satisfaction, productivity, and efficiency
• Enterprises staying competitive and improving their bottom lines
Overall, the testing can be classified into two types - functional and non-functional testing
Functional testing: This type of testing checks the functional requirements of an application and focuses on the expected outcomes. Here, the internal parts of the software are ignored. The examples are
• Unit testing
• Integration testing
• Sanity testing
• System testing
• Regression testing
• Smoke testing
• Interface testing
• Beta or acceptance testing
Non-functional testing: In this type of software testing and QA, the readiness, response time and attributes like throughput are tested to check if they are quick enough to meet the business requirements. The examples are
• Performance testing
• Stress testing
• Load testing
• Localization testing
• Volume testing
• Security testing
• Compatibility testing
• Recovery testing
• Install testing
• Reliability testing
• Usability testing
• Compliance testing
The software development process can allow bugs or glitches to become part of the code even with the best of measures and intentions. It is therefore important that the same should be tested rigorously in all aspects before being released to the end-customer. The process of development and testing has evolved right from the waterfall method to Agile and DevOps. In the waterfall method, software used to be tested manually only after they were developed and integrated. This approach had a lot of issues like being extremely time-consuming and generating poor-quality output. The manual way of implementing a software quality assurance strategy is not foolproof, especially while conducting regression testing. Manual testing can lead to fatigue and the possibility of errors being overlooked. Thus, even after the waterfall method of testing, a lot of glitches remained within the software causing quality issues.
To overcome the inadequacies of the waterfall method, Agile and DevOps were instituted where testing is made part of the build pipeline. A code after being built is directly tested for errors and fixed in a process called a sprint. Also, test automation is made part of the testing process wherein repetitive testing like regression is done with a better success rate. With DevOps, the testing process has been made almost perfect with all stakeholders (Development and Operations) made part of the value chain.
Thus, software testing identifies and fixes errors in the early part of the development process. The final product becomes qualitatively superior and delivers better customer experiences. Also, it lowers the maintenance cost and prevents customers from suffering consequences on account of hidden bugs.
Software quality assurance testing is an important part of the software development process and should not be looked as a costly or time-consuming proposition. It has become essential in today’s milieu where staying competitive can only be ensured by delivering customer delight.
The top 5 consequences of skipping testing are:
- Breach in information security: The security of data is of prime importance given the soaring rate of cybercrime. In the absence of security testing, the inherent vulnerabilities in the software remain unidentified. These can be easily exploited by hackers leading to a data breach. So, any software quality assurance company should verify if the communication channels and databases within the software or outside are properly encrypted. If not, the customers can end up losing sensitive personal and/or financial information to hackers.
- Increased cost of maintenance: The resident glitches in software can cause quality issues at the level of customers. The feedback, when goes back to the production pipeline, would entail extra effort and cost to first identify the glitches causing the quality issues and then fix them.
- Loss of customer confidence: This is arguably the biggest consequence a brand or enterprise can suffer on account of bad software. As customers have plenty of choices before them, they will discard any software with glitches. Further, since the whole objective is about acquiring customer confidence, lack of testing can leave the software vulnerable and subject to breakdowns or plagued by performance issues.
- Non-compliance with industry regulations: The industry and regulatory bodies have established many protocols such as PCI DSS, HIPPA, SOX, and GLBA, which need to be complied with. These protocols ensure the software upholds a minimum level of performance and quality. If not, the enterprises delivering such software can fall foul with such agencies and invite penalties, censure, lawsuits, or an outright ban.
- Loss of brand value: When customers lose confidence in a software product due to frequent quality issues, they reject the application. Then it becomes a challenge for the enterprise to earn their confidence back, which is time and cost-intensive.
Software testing is about conducting a set of activities and verifying if various aspects of the software match the expected results. In the absence of testing, hidden glitches will remain unidentified leading to bad customer experiences. In a day and age where competition is intense, delivering bad customer experiences could turn suicidal for any enterprise.