What to Look for in a QA Testing Platform
When choosing a test management tool, it is tempting to simply go through a checklist of product features. However, in today’s highly competitive and fast-moving software market, leading enterprises need support and resources that go beyond basic product requirements. Teaming up with a software quality platform provider that offers best-of-breed technology as well as value-added services can help QA teams stay ahead of the curve and get a higher return on their investment.
At QASymphony, we know what it takes to build successful business alliances with developers and testers, but we also understand that customers need to check out all of their options to make a confident, strategic purchasing decision. A little research quickly reveals that not all providers are created equal.
If you have short-listed potential quality platform providers, now is the time to dig deeper. Finding a quality partner that is both equipped and willing to go the extra mile can be challenge, but it is possible if you ask the right questions—and get the right answers. By gaining insight into a provider’s knowledge base, R&D investments and service resources, you can start to separate the short-term, transaction-focused vendors from the long-term, strategic partner.
Here are seven key questions every leading enterprise should be asking prospective QA testing platform providers:
1. What does your internal product development look like?
It is critical to look beyond a vendor’s current state product, even if it appears to meet all of your needs. Taking a peek at a provider’s release schedule can reveal a lot about what they can truly provide — and at what pace. Agile software development requires agile testing platforms that can evolve and adapt with the market. Be sure to investigate a potential partner’s release notes to ensure they can keep pace with industry demands. QASymphony, for example, releases updates every quarter, on average.
2. Where do you see testing and quality assurance going in the future?
As an expert in the field, your quality partner should be able to provide a steady stream of valuable industry insights, QA strategies and market projections. Do they offer webinars, update their blog regularly and host user conferences to keep you informed? What can they tell you about industry issues like digital transformation, DevOps consolidation and COE disruption? If a partner doesn’t have a pulse on the trends shaping the industry, they won’t be able to provide a viable testing solution that benefits your product—or your company—for the long term. Check out the agenda from our annual Quality Jam user conference to get an idea of how we view the industry and keep up on the latest trends and topics.
3. What do you spend on R&D on an annual basis?
This question is critical to determining whether or not a quality partner is truly invested in innovation and, more importantly, constantly improving its product for your benefit. R&D budgets vary by organization, but a percentage can reveal a company’s priorities. For example, QASymphony reinvests an average of 40 percent of revenue into R&D — about twice the industry average. And while numbers don’t tell the whole story, they can provide some valuableinsight. A company committed to R&D will likely have a regular stream of product updates and improvements.
4. How long does it take for a team to get your testing solutions up and running, and do you provide support resources to help with that process?
No matter how user-friendly, all software comes with a learning curve. You need a partner that can level-set expectations and, more importantly, support your team through the implementation process. Does the provider offer onboarding or other training resources? Are there tutorials, webinars or other training tools readily available on demand? The most crucial part of a software purchase is implementation, and a quality partner should be providing the necessary human capital and tools to ensure their solution works perfectly in your environment from day one.
5. What does your customer support entail?
A valuable quality partner should also be prepared to help your company achieve success beyond implementation. At QASymphony, we assign a dedicated customer success manager to each customer to ensure long-term, personalized support. This can make all the difference 6,12 and 18 months down the line. To be successful, your enterprise needs customer support that is built on more than a simple ticketing system. Look for a partner that offers support designed around continuous engagement, whether that includes sharing best practices, providing ongoing education or offering feedback opportunities.
6. What is one aspect of our partnership in which we can expect you to go above and beyond the competition?
In today’s evolving marketplace, product features only serve as differentiators for so long. A long-term partnership requires a company to provide value beyond price tags and product specs. What makes this provider stand out? What are they willing to do to help your company achieve its long-term goals? And don’t just take their word for it: Ask about customer retention in their core base and what they think has helped sustain those relationships. For reference here is a link to the results of QASymphony’s most recent customer success survey.
7. Can you provide some real-life examples of customers that have been successful using your product in an environment similar to ours?
This could be the most important question you ask. According to research, 25 percent of technology projects fail outright; 20 to 25 percent don’t show any return on investment; and as many as 50 percent need massive reworking by the time they’re finished. Finding a quality partner that has had field success in similar environments is critical to determining if this is the right company for your enterprise. Don’t just request case studies. Instead, ask to speak to previous customers and interview them about their experiences, especially during the integration phase. Systems need to be tied together, and you should be confident that your quality partner can provide the custom integration options you need to succeed.
When it comes down to it, the right quality partner understands that your success is their success. This means they should be prepared to offer your company a testing platform that meets your immediate needs, and even more importantly, the resources and support that will help you achieve your business goals. By taking the time to closely evaluate prospective providers and the value they bring to the table, you can identify a quality partner that is committed to helping your QA team, products and company succeed in the long term.
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