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Enterprise SaaS Deployments Need Effective Testing and Quality Assurance

  • 18/08/2011
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

The adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS) continues to grow across various business processes like CRM, sales automation, HR operations, workplace collaboration, and so on. Reduced costs, improved speed, faster and simplified technology rollouts, ease-of-use than on-premise applications, and pay-per-usage model are the key benefits that drive the SaaS adoption. While SaaS revenue is expected to reach $21.3 billion by 2015 according to Gartner’s predictions, it is quite essential for enterprises to assess the impact of implementing SaaS on their business processes before adopting it.

Typically, SaaS is delivered and managed remotely by a service provider to several contracted customers on a pay-per-usage basis. Most enterprises are under false impression that by moving to SaaS their testing and quality assurance responsibilities get reduced compared to on-premises applications, which is incorrect. Unlike traditional solutions where users will have considerable control over the changes made, users will have very less control over the changes done to SaaS solutions. While enterprises appreciate that testing is quite essential in traditional software upgrades, they should also realize the fact that any changes implemented to the SaaS solution can have a negative impact on their business processes.

Modifications made to any software can induce defects, and SaaS is no exception to it. Bugs or defects can be induced by any vendor implemented change or due to the customization and configuration choices required by the enterprises. Integration of SaaS solutions with other systems in a process can also pose several headaches to the users. There is a need for enterprises to effectively test all the aspects that could be affected with the changes implemented. Security, performance, and availability are always the concerns given very less control rested in the hands of SaaS users and hence thorough testing of non-functional aspects is also quite essential.

Apart from all these, ensuring compliance to regulatory mandates is a must for organizations irrespective of whether they opt for on-premises applications or SaaS. While vendors might pledge on ensuring transparency, a right strategy to get notified of the changes as soon as possible and effectively measure the impact of changes on existing solutions should be put in place and a systematic problem resolution process should be established. Implementing test automation around key customizations and integrations will help in testing the functionality on a regular basis. Finally, one key point enterprises should realize is that defects doesn’t magically disappear by migrating to SaaS and right quality assurance and testing is the only best way to deal with them.

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