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Sharma opines on software QA trends: Risk, ROI, compliance

Trends in software quality assurance’s “four Rs” — Risk, Return on investment (ROI), Regulatory compliance and Rich customer experience — were the main thrust of my recent conversation with Aparna Sharma of Infosys, whose career includes QA consulting for Fortune 500 companies.

Risk

Organizations today are doing more risk-based testing, figuring out ways to quantify risk and prioritize tests more effectively, said Sharma, Head of Client Services for Infosys’ Independent Validation Services (IVS). Many are introducing application lifecycle management (ALM) tools and integrated processes as early as possible and throughout the lifecycle to reduce overall risk for the project team.

ROI

Regarding ROI, Sharma recommends automation. Maximize ROI much earlier in the application lifecycle by using automation, environment optimization, and reducing dependencies, Sharma advised. She sees companies adopting Business Process Models (BPM) to directly generate test cases and business process flows.  Though she admitted that some manual testing may be necessary, she said she advises automating as much as possible in all phases of the lifecycle.

Regulations and Compliance

Sharma noted that there were growing issues in regulations and compliance due to privacy issues. Two industries that have increased reliance on regulations and compliance are health care and financial services. Different entities within the organization will be responsible for regulation and compliance but many will require independent verification and validation services.

Offshoring application development and lifecycle management has been and still is a growing trend, but offshoring doesn’t shift the compliance burden. All companies need to make sure their software data is protected.

Rich customer experience

More users are participating in testing for usability, flexibility and accessibility early in the application lifecycle, Sharma told me. Some use tools that allow for “eye-capture” for usability testing. Accessibility software can also help test ease of use of software for people with disabilities. By creating early code, prototyping, or other various techniques, the graphical user interface is available for early usability testing and accessability testing.

SOA, ERP trends 

Sharma noted a couple of other industry trends that she thought readers may be interested in:

  • In the SOA space, the industry is moving away from UI to more end-to-end testing with distributed, multi-tier architectures.  Organizations need a specific approach taking into account end-to-end testing using specific tools.
  •  Unique approaches to testing ERP are emerging. New technologies allow for automated pre-packaged test cases to test the various ERP implementations.

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