SOGETI UK BLOG

The number of mobile initiatives and mobility solutions we consult on increases every week, and the trend is set to continue. Because the mobile revolution is coinciding with an economic downturn, many CIOs and CTOs face unprecedented pressure to reduce costs wherever possible and deliver with smaller budgets. Simply put, our clients are faced with the conflict to ‘do something in mobile’ and yet ‘spend the same or less than last year’.

Evidence of this conflict can be seen in our recently released ‘World Quality Report 2012’, a global survey of over a thousand companies that analyses the state of their application and quality and testing practices. Over half (55%) of respondents to this report saw their testing budgets frozen or reduced from last year.

The third section in the report talks about mobile testing and draws a somewhat downbeat summary, aptly entitled ‘Mobile Testing: behind the curve’.

Notable from the survey is that 20% of responding companies admit that they do not have enough time to test mobile apps, and 65% say they do not have the right tools. The six main survey reasons for not testing mobile apps are shown below:

One rather surprising finding from the survey is that the highest percentages of mobile apps that are being tested can be found in the manufacturing, energy and utilities, and health and life sciences sectors. The results suggest that these sectors are more likely to formally test mobile applications than the consumer or banking sectors (making me glance suspiciously at the banking app sitting on my smartphone’s home-screen).

According to the survey, the lowest percentage of mobile testing occurs in the public sector (see figure below) which means that the next time you are frustrated at some administrative error in dealing with your local council, it might be more appropriate to blame the lack of testing of the employee’s workforce mobile app than human-error or back-office systems.

Mobile testing is an area that we have much experience of within Capgemini and Sogeti. We have delivered complex projects and highly secure applications that have required deep mobile testing; we propose that mobile testing is a must for any critical line-of-business or customer-facing applications. But faced with pressures to reduce costs and deliver more quickly, we find that that some companies will see an additional and lengthy phase of mobile testing as a ‘cost-too-far’.

So how to square the circle? Mobile design and development fits nicely with iterative development. Looping around the cycle of requirements, design, build and test in smaller chucks means that testing need not be a cost that is simply ‘tacked-on’ to the end of a project. There are some requirements, such as penetration and security testing, that should only be done towards the end of the project, but for functionality, performance and ease-of-use testing, we recommend that this be done interactively during the mobile project.

We suggest that short trials, proof of concepts (PoCs) and closed real-user groups are all effective ways in which testing can be undertaken in a more cost-effective (and faster) way. Businesses receive a better-tested app, in smaller usable releases, and end-users are engaged earlier and more deeply.

An interesting aspect that is covered in the report is the prioritisation of aspects of mobile testing. Interestingly ease-of-use is only half-way down the list. I would have expected it to be higher; in our experience users will be better served with a smaller set of highly-usable features (which can be built-upon over time) than a larger set of hard-to-use features. See figure below for the priorities:

From the same data it is also sad (and scary for any of us relying increasingly on financial and highly-personal apps) to see security testing so low on the list with only 18% of responding companies prioritising this aspect. For us it is the highest priority; a large proportion of mobile strategy work within the Capgemini Mobile Apps team concerns mobile security, and the customers we deal with are rightly concerned about lost and stolen devices that might reveal citizen, patient or personal details, as well as and the possibility of resultant lurid headlines in the press.

The ‘World Quality Report 2012’ is an interesting and easy-to-skim survey containing a great deal of interesting contemporary insight. I would suggest that if you’re interested in mobile testing you read the full report here: http://uk.sogeti.com/wqr2012-13 and if you have any questions get in touch with one of our experts in testing.

You can always email me at mick.angel@capgemini.com.

Mick Angel AUTHOR:
Mick is the head of the Mobile Apps Factory for Capgemini UK.

Posted in: Capgemini Group, Opinion, Performance testing, Software testing, Test Automation, Testing and innovation, Working in software testing, World Quality Report      
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