As more companies become conscious of how much of the business' reputation is tied to the quality of the software it puts in front of customers, investments in quality assurance have been rising.
But while that represents a significant advance in terms of how business leaders think about software, a new global survey of 1,200 business and IT executives from Capgemini and Hewlett-Packard finds that much of the application testing being done still relies on manual processes that tend to be cumbersome and time consuming.
That's not to say that use of automated testing is not on the rise. Murat Aksu, head of the HP Software alliance for Capgemini, says that the study clearly shows that not only is there more reliance on automation, there's much more use of software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms in the cloud to test more applications than ever. This is a major development trend, says Aksu, because it means that more organizations are gaining ready access to these tools, which means that the number of applications being tested is increasing. And with increased testing there should be a corresponding rise in software quality. But there is still a lot of reliance on manual testing processes that makes it challenging to scale application testing in an era where there are more new applications heading for the cloud than ever.
The other major trend, says Aksu, is that quality assurance teams are now gaining access to security testing tools, which means security issues are now being addressed as an element of the overall quality assurance process. There is still a tug of war going on over whom ultimately has responsibility for application security within the IT organization, but the survey clearly shows that quality assurance teams are starting to exercise more influence.
The study, notes Aksu, also shows that emerging countries are investing more aggressively in automation tools and the cloud. It's not clear if that is simply because that's where more application development and testing work is being done or whether more industrialized countries already have automated processes in place.
In either case, it's clear that businesses across the board are taking software quality assurance more seriously even in the face of ongoing economic turmoil. In theory at least, that should help mitigate concerns over the quality of new software in the years ahead.