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TEKsystems takes an innovative approach to helping clients establish or evolve their quality assurance (QA) and testing capabilities, which results in lower risks, improved efficiency and increased test coverage.
TEKsystems® Quality Management Services helps clients evolve their existing QA abilities or help develop a value or capability that the client doesn’t currently possess. Our entrepreneurial approach builds a community of new and creative ideas that is guided by decades of best practice experience yet infused with innovation that solves current problems, leverages cutting-edge technologies, and facilitates holistic, successful and immediate ROI solutions.
Rather than a tactical approach, TEKsystems overcomes skills gap, process or technology challenges through innovation. We focus on what’s next—understanding where technology is and exploring where it is going to develop the best practices of the future. Plus our IT professionals have skills that expand beyond QA and testing; our architects are equipped with skills that also include application development, data services and network support.
In the following client examples, TEKsystems was engaged with the client in a managed services capacity (i.e., sourcing, screening, hiring, onboarding, training and performance managing high-level QA and testing skill sets for the client). Through our existing partnerships with these clients, we saw opportunities to provide greater value through innovation. Our solutions were centered around problem-solving and elevating our services beyond delivery on a statement of work. We were able to look at a problem, situation or risk and provide out-of-the-box thinking.
Building—and sustaining—a culture of innovation is challenging; organizations face day-to-day operations and realities that require immediate time and attention. It is difficult to look beyond the daily demands and focus on opportunities to grow and evolve. Yet forward-focused companies still want creative solutions—incorporating technologies and best practices that don’t exist yet. These organizations turn to innovative external partners to identify opportunities for streamlined efficiencies and lowered risks, as well as cultivate an environment that encourages innovation.
Quality assurance (QA) and testing organizations seek innovation to streamline testing efficiency while producing high-quality products; the quality of a company’s products is most important—it has a direct impact on customer relationships as well as revenue post-release. However most internal QA organizations lack the internal bandwidth, expertise and technology to justify the time and monetary investment in innovation, especially when ROI may not be immediately evident.
QA and testing partners need to be able to offer more than just resources, they have to provide the expertise to solve client challenges and make improvements, while also taking the client’s business realities and limitations into account. An innovative QA and testing services partner goes beyond supplying the right skill sets or canned services; they take a strategic approach using high level expertise to determine where issues and opportunities lie, then develop custom solutions to garner real and substantial ROI across an organization’s people, processes, technologies and overall community.
Various quality assurance and testing tools
TEKsystems supported the client, a manufacturer of accessories for mobile devices, in building its corporate quality assurance and testing group. After establishing the group TEKsystems continued to support the client’s QA and testing needs. Through conversations with our client we came to understand that they were very interested in automation. The client was looking for increased test coverage so that every testing event would evaluate all aspects of the product—something they weren’t able to do manually. The manufacturer also wanted a solution with a quick turnaround where they could see immediate impact.
Adding Value Through Innovation: Based on our familiarity with the client’s testing environment and business objectives, we saw an opportunity to automate their QA and testing processes in support of their Demandware (inventory management), Sugar (customer relationship management) and Infor M3 (ERP systems).
TEKsystems was providing an off-site testing services team for a global telecommunications provider’s mobile address book application. The application allowed the client’s end users to back up their contact lists to an online account where they could store and manage contacts, as well as sync contacts to any of their Android devices. Testing for the address book application involved ensuring users could upload contacts to the device and that the device would sync with other devices and the online account. Also, we had to alleviate any conflicts that could arise following inevitable device and software updates.
Adding Value Through Innovation: Through our involvement on the project, we recognized a need for a global review of the client’s testing processes and tools. We believed that through evaluation we could identify areas for improvement to mature their testing process, testing environment, and tool alignment and integration, which would strengthen the organization’s testing value, as well as contain or reduce costs.
Prior to investigating specific automation tools and processes, we knew there were a few things that needed to be considered. Most importantly any additional technologies would need to be able to seamlessly integrate into the current environment; Demandware and Sugar are both HTML5 based technologies, whereas Infor M3 is a .net WPF application. Integration would ensure leverage of their current technology state and support global IT automation requirements already in place at the client. Additionally, the client wanted any new technology to be agile enough to integrate with future systems, should they change over time.
We assessed the client’s current QA and testing environment, the status of current test cases and how test cases were written. We then proposed a set of tools, utilizing a combination of client-owned and TEKsystems-owned tools. Open source tools would come at little to no cost to the client and would not require licensing, greatly minimizing costs associated with our solution. We evaluated, identified the demo script targets, assembled the tool pieces and scripted scenarios.
Over the course of a couple weeks, we stood up and demonstrated a technology and framework solution against a few key testing scenarios—high-use repeatable test cases targeting single line orders, multiline orders and warranty returns—in the client’s environment. The demonstration showed a working example of the technology and processes, as well as an example of efficiency; we compared scripts against manual testing to show gains in execution speed. It also exemplified a mature, end-to-end testing methodology with a business process testing focus. Further, our demonstration also identified the resources and skill sets required for large-scale success.
We performed a voluntary audit of the testing strategies and effectiveness of the client’s application. We sought to understand—from every aspect—what they were doing on a weekly basis so we could determine where we could add efficiency and innovation. This included understanding and defining limitations from tool and resource perspectives. Through this audit we identified three major pain points for the client: manual entry of contacts into Android devices, poor connection to the testing suite and a manual upload and sync process with the Web.
The client’s mobile application was built for consumer use, not for mass testing. It required manual entry of contacts into Android devices, which was time-consuming and required one by one checking of each entry. This was costing every device 15 hours. We suggested building an automated Android application that could import and export contacts and review them in different environments.
Another area for improvement was the efficiency of their test management suite. It had network issues that made it very slow. We proposed using JIRA, which is a very agile tool. We developed a prototype interface using JIRA that used actual data from their current suite, via a plug-in, that leveraged the existing infrastructure. When we were unable to remotely log into their current testing suite we designed our own mobile application from scratch to plug in to their existing manual process and save time.
Lastly, the client was doing manual Web-based testing, which is generally fairly simple to automate. We proposed to automate the Web testing as well, cutting their testing time in half and building more efficiency into their overall testing practice.
TEKsystems was able to create a path for the client to improve its QA processes and business value. Our solution established a proven automation solution and demonstrated its effective use in the client’s environment, plus it was immediately implementable. The proof of concept demonstrated a reduction in execution time from 80 minutes to 19 minutes—75 percent increase in efficiency. If the client was to expand this process across 60 to 80 percent of its currently manual testing base, the increase in time savings would be significant—positively impacting both hourly resource costs as well as the velocity of testing cycles. Another key component was that the solution was able to be implemented in the near term, allowing quicker ROI for the client.
Automation of the Demandware testing would require additional headcount. However, this cost would be recovered in approximately 17 months, and after adoption of automation the client would be able to actually eliminate three of its resources that were previously required to support the manual testing.
Over the course of several months, we identified and recommended efficiency opportunities with single-point technical solutions for specific process and tool pain points or limitations. Our proposed solution was a road map designed to help the client understand the costs associated with their current situation and how they could create efficiency through new processes, augmentation of existing technologies and automation.
Our automated Android application eliminated a tedious manual testing process, decreasing it from 15 hours to mere milliseconds. Additionally, through our JIRA prototype, our client saw the efficiencies gained through test artifact integration within the test management systems and the automation of specific testing scenarios in a mobile device environment. The proposed solution would reduce testing time from 10 days to two hours.
Since the client did not have the technical skill sets on staff, we were able to offer high-level technical engineering expertise and fill in the skills gaps that were needed to properly evaluate and implement process and tool improvements to resolve real business issues. We also helped build internal capacity by training their non-technical employees on how to use the tool and identifying the technical engineering resources required for expanding and supporting the solutions.
Moreover, we cultivated an environment at the client that was supportive of innovation, where both the client and TEKsystems’ IT professionals felt free to explore beyond the confines of QA to address the real issue (e.g., our solution to the client’s QA pain point involved development). Our innovative approach to QA and testing enhanced the client’s operations and demonstrated our partnership value. By increasing integration effectiveness of tools and processes as well as building critical technical capabilities, we enabled the client to solve critical business issues.
TEKsystems was able to provide innovative solutions for these clients for several critical reasons: