2020 Challenges in controlling QA and Testing budgets

IT spend on QA and testing has been on the rise since 2012. From 18% and 23% in 2012 and 2013 to 26% and 35% in 2014 and 2015 respectively, it experienced a slight dip in 2016 with the average industry spend in this domain standing at 31%. Though it suggests organizations have somewhat controlled their QA and testing costs, they aren’t yet confident of being in complete control. According to World Quality Report 2015, QA and testing spend is predicted to rise to 40% by 2019, which suggest it to getting out of control.

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Faster deliveries together with agile and DevOps pose a big challenge

With the growing adoption of DevOps and agile, organizations now need quicker deliveries with a continuous stream of updates, which put a lot of pressure on QA and testing teams. In their quest to market a product faster, organizations often suffer from a mismatch between fast development, frequent updates, and a robust quality process. When products are going live on an hourly or a per-minute basis, it puts tremendous pressure on QA and testing teams as they have to select the right areas of focus for testing, deal with several test iterations and even battle with a lack of adequate skills and appropriate test environment for the same. Thus with faster and shorter development cycles together with the need to test more and often are major contributors to increasing costs of testing and QA. Spending to get the next generation automation tools may also cause a spike in the testing budget though in the long run, it would help to cut IT budget spends on testing provided adequate control on ROI is maintained.

Digital transformation is another challenge in the domain of QA and testing. For some industries like transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing that are catching up with the trend, problems are arising as they are still at the bottom of the digital curve. At the other end of the spectrum are the high-tech companies where a shift towards mobile apps and IoT is observed. While mobile app development has become the key emphasis of many organizations (and naturally mobile app testing too), Internet of Things (IoT) is predicted as the next big thing. Thus, QA and testing professionals need to take part in design and development roles and get familiar with new technology advancements like IoT, which experts predict can augment the risk of failures.

Problems with test environments and testing

Setting up test environments is often a difficult task, especially when fast and continuous testing needs to be performed. At the same time, such set-ups also claim a big chunk of the organizations’ annual software testing budget(s). So, there’s a growing trend of adopting virtualization and cloud based technologies that help in reducing test infrastructure costs significantly.

The World Quality Report 2015 found along with functional validation, a lot of emphasis was also given by several organizations on verifying other sets of requirements. For applications that migrated to the cloud, security and performance were found to be the most important focus areas for testing. The report also found that mobile testing was fast becoming an advancing trend.

Apart from growing challenges with test environments, dealing with more test iteration cycles due to a shift to DevOps and agile, longer test cycles due to more defects being found as well as faster and increased amount of development and releases are some other challenges that QA and testing teams have to cope with.

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Better utilization of human resources

Since 2014, spending on human resources has dropped. Though this could sound surprising as newer skill-sets are required to test emerging technologies (like IoT), steps like increased automation, using flexible service contracts and benefiting from offshore resources made the cost control possible. With spending on hardware and test infrastructure claiming the biggest chunk of IT budget spends, leveraging human resources the best way has become crucial for cost control and a challenge for QA and testing teams.

Budgeting for testing tools

Spending on tools was found to be stable at 29%, down by just 1% from 2015. Though adoption of digital tools caused a spike in tools budget during 2014, the subsequent market maturity that facilitated greater adoption of open source test tools helped bring down the cost. The present trend is to opt for SaaS (Software as a Service), where testing tools can be accessed and used on demand at relatively lower costs as compared to steep perpetual licenses. However, tools that give you the flexibility to buy development or run-time licenses are also finding favor with QA and testers. Even scouting the market to find niche vendors offering cost-effective alternative solutions can help control the budget. As open source tools are becoming more complete and better, they are fast becoming an integral part of testing team’s toolbox that offers good value for money.

But despite the stable budget spend on testing tools, the lack of expertise to decide which tools to use and how to run them properly are challenges that need to be addressed fast.

Budget allocation to IoT

The budget allocated to IoT was found to be fairly even, from Western Europe at the bottom end (12% of its IT budget) to Central Europe at the apex (14% ). Interestingly, the budget distribution between different types of applications and across industries (from Financial Services and Automotive to The Public and Government Sector and Energy and Utilities) is found to allocate an average of 13% of the total spend to IoT. This shows the growing adoption of IoT with mobile and cloud solutions (which had 15 and 16% of the IT budget respectively). Thus, it can be said that the impact of IoT is felt across the domain of QA and testing, including its budget spend.

Final words

As organizations around the world are racing to stay ahead of the competition and trying to deliver quality products fast, QA and testing have become an integral part of the development process to ensure customer satisfaction. Yet, you need a seasoned partner to meet your QA and testing needs without overshooting your budget. To know how the testing solutions of gomadeindia can help speed up your digital transformation and make your agile, DevOps and CI programs succeed, contact us today!

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