Outsourcing Quality Assurance

Analysis and consultancy firm Gartner estimates that the global quality assurance and testing outsourcing market was worth about $6.1 billion in 2013, indicating the rapid growth of this outsourcing segment. Quality assurance (QA) is a focused and specialized discipline that few firms have the resources or expertise to perform in-house. A 2009 study found that the number one reason for QA outsourcing is reduced labor costs, followed by access to skilled talent, increased speed to market, time zone advantages, and the ability to focus on core activities.

Organizations building systems and software are also realizing the need for professional QA and testing processes, which requires high investment in skilled labor and technology. As companies face pressure to reduce costs and deliver higher quality products, they are increasingly turning to service providers. Most of the respondents (76 percent) in the study agreed that when adequately planned and managed, outsourcing QA services can deliver exceptional value.

Outsourced QA Success Stories

Here are success stories that show how an outsourced engagement can improve the QA process and reduce costs:

Strategic Direction for QA and Testing

A global financial services company offering investment banking and wealth management services wanted a strategic direction for its QA and testing functions and a way to measure QA effectiveness. The client also wanted to standardize processes and tools, centralize reporting and have a better view of level quality and progress. The outsourced quality assurance vendor set up an enterprise testing center for the company, helping improve productivity, standardize processes and increase cost savings. Through offshore QA and testing, project resource costs were reduced by about 45 percent, and the client was able to save over $3.5 million in annual direct costs. The client also achieved annual improvement of 5 percent on productivity.

Reducing Test Creation Time with QA Outsourcing

A QA and testing vendor helped a software publishing company reduce test creation time by 67 percent while providing global visibility. The client, a creator of applications, systems and services for mobile communications, wanted to improve test coverage and quality. The company also wanted to speed up test design and execution, improve collaboration among global teams, reduce overall testing costs, and increase status visibility to QA management. The QA outsourcing service provider used proprietary toolsets and frameworks to integrate, design, automate and execute testing. As a result of the partnership, test execution time was drastically reduced to only seven hours for the automated test compared to the previous 36 hours (500 percent faster). The client also doubled the testing coverage and reduced testing costs by 31 percent.

QA Service Challenges and Vendor Solutions

Despite the benefits of QA outsourcing, only 16 percent of organizations are using it (Forrester Research). This is due to the low maturity level of this segment, which may foster reluctance among CIOs who do not clearly understand how testing can be outsourced efficiently. Many companies also do not have standardized QA processes (increasing the perceived risk of QA outsourcing) and are unaware of the potential cost savings. Gartner analysts believe that the appeal of outsourced QA and testing will grow in the coming years as the segment matures and vendors deliver better value and prove their capabilities.

Examples of challenges that software publishers and corporations face:

  • Lack of skilled talent and a cost-effective way to access this talent
  • Lack of resources to invest in the necessary technology and processes
  • Inability to maintain and support full-time, dedicated quality and testing staff
  • Pressures to meet go-live dates while delivering a high-quality, glitch-free product
  • Fixed-price, fixed-date servicing and lack of round-the- clock functional QA services

QA and testing vendors allow companies to leverage industry-best practices, specialized QA professionals, and external and unbiased QA checks at significantly reduced costs. QA providers also ease functional scalability depending on the changing needs of the organization. Other benefits of outsourced QA engagements are allocation of internal resources to higher value work and the ability to have a flexible team that can be ramped up or down depending on need.

Independent QA and Testing

While some organizations believe that software testing can be efficiently performed by the same in-house team responsible for development, this arrangement can be problematic and create a conflict of interest. The developer may rush QA or find fewer errors than a dedicated and independent testing provider, particularly if the development team believes that it has spent more than enough time on the work and met all the requirements. A specialist vendor provides rigorous, independent auditing, without a vested interest in finishing the process quickly and finding the fewest errors possible. Separate development and QA teams with separate key performance indicators ensure that product quality is not determined by internal biases.

Driving Cost and Process Efficiency

QA is a major cost center within organizations, accounting for almost 40 percent of software projects. Investments include salary, taxes and employee benefits, IT and infrastructure, training, and office space. Hidden costs can further raise the price tag of in-house QA and testing. According to a recent study, businesses can save more than 24 percent through the use of a specialist QA and testing provider, structured testing methodology and disciplined performance metrics.

Skilled Quality Assurance and Testing Professionals in the Philippines

The labor-intensive QA and testing process relies on the availability and quality of talent. Service providers have invested heavily in growing their talent pool of skilled and experienced QA professionals to a scale that can support the industry’s growth for the next few years. Quality Assurance providers in the Philippines such as Sourcefit have capabilities that encompass virtually all areas of testing, from scalability to load performance. They support manual and interoperability testing on real devices and device-agnostic test automation across all platforms. Their QA specialists also have the ability to develop continuous cross-device automation.

Please contact us to find out about Sourcefit’s custom quality assurance and testing solutions.