The consumerization of enterprise software applications is no longer on its way – it is here. And this movement is empowering a new and increasingly mobile workforce to turn data into information, and information into action – anytime, anywhere, for anyone. While it’s tempting to think these waves of disruption won’t affect your company or industry, the truth is that no space is exempt. It is crucial that tech execs and their organizations are prepared to meet the challenges these emerging technologies present to the world of app development and testing.
What follows is a list of these disruptive technologies that I’ve gleaned from conversations with dozens of CTOs, CIOs and other technology leaders in the past few months:
1. Mobile Apps & Mobile OS
The mobile app revolution over – and the mobile apps won. Mobile devices and apps are driving the need for fast, effective testing that mimics your user base in terms of technical environments, locations, and demographics. New native apps for BlackBerry, Android, iPhone and Windows Phone are making deep in-roads into enterprise organizations in industries as diverse and mature as healthcare, finance, media and retail. Employees are using mobile apps to access CRM systems, financial results, health records, marketing campaigns, and to track orders, to name a few.
In fact, ABI Research anticipates worldwide enterprise mobile data revenues will reach $133 billion by 2014.
This means the pressure to get high-quality mobile apps tested and launched has never been greater – and will continue to skyrocket. With so much critical data flowing to smartphones, companies must ensure that their mobile apps are stable, private and secure.
To ensure that a mobile app works as intended, consider the multi-dimensional testing matrix. There are multiple operating systems and mobile browsers, myriad smartphone device makers and models, a host of carriers, and an endless number of locations. With all these testing permutations, the cost and complexity of managing QA in the mobile era boggles the mind and breaks the budget for most organizations.
While mobile apps are booming, tablet mania is also sweeping the globe. Goldman Sachs predicts tablet shipments to grow by 500 percent and tablet sales to overtake PCs by 35 percent in 2011. Enterprise heavyweights like Aflac, Mercedes-Benz, Wells Fargo and SAP are already using iPads – some for sales and financing presentations, others are customer-facing apps. Ensuring these apps are tablet-optimized, private and secure is quickly becoming essential to improving a company’s bottom line.
4G service is also impacting the enterprise testing space. The White House recently unveiled a plan to expand 4G wireless coverage to 98 percent of Americans. Ubiquitous broadband will enable workers to address issues in real time, on demand around the world. But 4G devices are expected to have a shorter shelf life than traditional 3G devices. This will result in less time to test, customize, integrate and deploy mobile devices and will eventually impact your budgetary plans.
Called the “app-like browser,” the HTML5 experience is being compared to today’s native apps experience, which enables fast, flexible, pervasive interactivity. Many mobile developers are dropping Flash for HTML5 because leading mobile operating systems, such as iOS and BlackBerry OS, do not support it. More apps on more devices means plenty of code will need to be rewritten and tested, especially for browser cross-functionality and performance. QA Managers may also need to retrain staff and equip them with new skills.
While it’s easy to think of software testing as a mature and unchanging craft, tech leaders must recognize that the technology backdrop is dramatically changing and transforming the testing landscape. To find out more about these trends, as well as the rest of the list of emerging technologies that are reshaping testing today, please stop by my keynote presentation, 10 Tech Trends Altering The Testing Landscape, at the Software Test Professionals Conference on Wed, March 23rd 12:45pm-2:00pm. This presentation will also be posted at www.utest.com/stpcon after the event.
Doron Reuveni is the CEO of uTest. uTest provides functional, usability and load testing services through a community that includes more than 30,000 professional testers from 165 countries around the globe. He is also a published author and expert in testing methodologies for web, desktop and mobile applications.