“A lot of people used to think of Quality Assurance as an insurance policy,” said Jennifer Bonine, VP of Solutions at Tap|QA. “You don’t care until you do. It was a crisis state.” Recent high-profile catastrophes have raised awareness, Bonine said. In addition, post-Recession regulations have put more fiscal responsibility on executives. “People are taking it a lot more seriously,” she said.
As a result, Bonine said, “We’re spending less time selling why you need it. What we are spending time on is a solution closer to home that’s cost-competitive. There was a lot of investment in offshore. With data breaches and data privacy concerns, people want to be closer to home. With more Agile teams, it’s important to work together. One client found us by Googling ‘nearshore.’”
According to Managing Partner Mike Faulise, “The World Quality Report shows that QA used to be 10% of the IT budget. Now it’s 40%. That’s great for us—QA is all we do, and we’ve got the best testers. I am the last of a generation that had technology where hitting the device actually helped it. We all look back with fondness to ages gone by. Can I ever imagine hitting something to make it work better?”
One of the growth drivers for quality assurance is the increasing volume and complexity of the Internet. Making sure an e-commerce site is ready for Black Friday, for example, requires an accurate load test. For one retail client, according to Delivery Director Andrew Birkholz, the question was, “How do we simulate two hundred thousand simultaneous users?” The answer: “We had to go virtual. One keystroke started a process that spun up submachines. We were monitoring the system on high alert. Then we spent two months sifting the data to see what had happened.” As a result, the client got through the holiday shopping season without a crisis.
The “internet of things” also adds complexity to quality assurance, Birkholz said. “If I’m using an app and someone calls my phone, does the app continue to work or does it crash? What if audio recognition picks up music or TV in the background? What if somebody coughs? What about keystrokes? There’s a new patch for diabetes that’s connected to an app on a phone. How do you test that?”
Rick Faulise, Tap|QA test lead, said, “It’s a challenge. I have no idea how this works, and we’ve got to find a solution. Every day it gets worse. That’s what I love about it.”