Testing as a Service is an expanding outsourcing area. As application testing becomes more complex, businesses struggle to keep up. Performance testing, remote usability, and mobile app testing are some areas expanding the traditional testing duties. This puts a greater strain on corporate QA departments. Smaller organizations look for cost-effective testing methods.

With these increased demands, companies are looking for ways to maximize their testing budget while also meeting release schedules. Whether the applications are for in-house use or a product; the pressure of quicker time to market applies.

Definition

What is it? Testing as a Service is an outsourcing model where testing activities are moved to a specialized third party. These services can be offered through a cloud-based platform, remotely or in-house. The services offered vary from test planning to specialized testing areas to a package model of end-to-end testing including documentation. The table below shows the differences between traditional in-house testing services and Testing as a Service.

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Benefits

The business benefits from Testing as a Service are many. Access to testing experts without hiring additional employees, expertise for specialized software, a wider range of testing scenarios than businesses could emulate in-house, and higher cost benefits. In addition, Testing as a Service provides flexibility, allows companies to move further towards automation, and improve documentation. Verifiable quality certification and software licensing are improved with third party verification.

Some major benefits are access to world-leading test equipment, testing expertise and real-world testing scenarios. Businesses rarely have access to the testing resources needed for thorough testing on all platforms. Utilizing a Testing as a Service vendor fills in the gaps and improves quality.

How it works

Testing in a service model retains the traditional testing steps: planning, conducting testing in multiple areas (functional, performance, security), documenting and certification. What changes is where this occurs and who performs the testing activities. With Testing as a Service, testing activities are conducted in the cloud (or remotely depending on the vendor). The testing is performed by experienced testers using proven methodologies, some of whom specialize in areas such as mobile or security testing. The client receives the necessary documentation and certifications.

Services offered vary by vendor. Some vendors offer specific types of testing as standalone services (such as performance, security or mobile application testing.)  Others offer testing packages ranging from basic testing to a complete testing process from planning assessment to software certification.

The common testing services are:

  • Agile testing
  • Compatibility testing
  • Functional testing
  • Performance testing
  • Test automation
  • Security testing
  • Mobile application testing
  • Writing test plans and documentation
  • Providing testing resources

Alternatives

There are alternatives to Testing as a Service, and as with all methods, each has its own pros and cons. Businesses need to evaluate the benefit, impact, and ROI before choosing any testing method.

  • Traditional in-house testing: Testing using company resources and performing testing on premise. While this method allows the most control over testing, it also comes at a high cost and a lower ROI. In addition, obtaining the expertise to test new technologies is difficult and time consuming.
  • Crowdsourcing: Leveraging the efficiencies and effectiveness of crowdsourcing and the cloud to test software. This method is good for user-centric software by providing many real-world testing scenarios and testing remote usability. However, it can be difficult to locate resources to test specialized software and controlling the schedule-test completeness balance can be tricky.
  • Testing Tool Suites: Several companies offer testing suites which use inter-related applications to cover the testing function. IBM and HP both offer full featured suites intended as a managed service alternative. While the use of such packages provides the basic functionality seen in Testing as a Service, using them requires in house resources. Companies should consider the software purchase cost besides the resource cost in their purchase decision.

Wrap Up

Thorough testing is necessary with software development. In today’s competitive software market, verifiable quality certification and software licensing are a must. Testing as a Service can assist with meeting those requirements, thereby protecting your business.

Testing as a Service has many benefits. It’s important for businesses to know what types of testing they need, and what their core competencies are. Decide if a la carte services or a package will suit a particular testing situation. Don’t be afraid to customize testing per application – one may need an emphasis on a certain element, another may require a package for cost-effective testing.