Should your SaaS business have a quality assurance tool?

A growing market translates into tough competition. Hence, a software to survive it needs to be perfect in reliability, security and efficiency.

saas business
A quality assurance tool is vital for businesses. Photo: TierneyMJ, Bigstock

Since the introduction of SalesForce in 1990s, cloud computing has been proliferating at an exponential rate. According to Gartner, the cloud market is expected to grow by 18% in 2017 to reach $246.8 billion.

Cloud computing, particularly SaaS and IaaS, has been playing a pivotal role in revolutionising small and mid-tier businesses. In fact, 74% of Tech Chief Financial Officers believe that cloud will have a considerable impact on their businesses in 2017.

A growing market, however, translates into tough competition and low switching costs. Hence, a software to survive in such a market needs to be perfect in all aspects such as reliability, security and efficiency.

And the only way to develop a fool-proof software is by implementing strict quality controls. Quality assurance and testing can be of great value to your company as it is, as they translate into customer satisfaction and ultimately add to the business’ bottom line.

Quality testing is generally needed at various stages of SaaS tool development. Functional testing is done to ensure that the app can work as per the requirements. Integration testing is performed to check if SaaS can integrate with other platforms.

Similarly, reliability testing is done to reduce the risk of failure at the time of deployment. The app is also tested for its performance at peak times and scalability.

To put it precisely, SaaS testing needs can be described in the form of a hierarchy. At the bottom is unit testing, which catches basic programming errors and must be automated. The next stage is automated integration test, which entails systemic problems that occur due to cross-functional components.

Higher up in the hierarchy are quality metrics that gauge the end-user experience. Measuring quality metrics allow developers to troubleshoot problems before users can report them. At the top of the hierarchy is analytics, which deal with user data analysis to identify potential and existing issues.

On the face of it, quality assurance for SaaS is similar to traditional testing of a software. However, it differs in certain aspects, which is why, it is often better to adopt a quality assurance tool.

Here is how a quality assurance tool for your SaaS business can make your life easier:

Automation

The most prominent difference between traditional software and SaaS is that the latter experiences frequent releases i.e. multiple times during a year. Such rapid releases demand more testing than what is required in a traditional model.

Hence, a quality assurance tool can speed up the testing process so that the software can be delivered rapidly to customers. The tools can automatically handle most of the quality assurance tasks such as unit testing, functional testing of interface, and performance testing.

Easy reporting

saas reporting
Reporting is made so much easier! Photo: One Photo, Bigstock

A good quality assurance tool such as Practitest can automatically generate clean and organised reports that can be easily presented to the management. It also allows you to create dashboards that can be shared with all team members.

You can also integrate these dashboards in other web portals, plus it helps you extract information and analyse it with other statistical software as well.

QA symphony is yet another quality assurance tool that allows you to automate documentation. It automatically captures the entire testing session and creates required defects documentation that can be shared.

Moreover, it allows you to easily edit and modify any part that you want and add notes and arrows to make it more presentable.

Generate insights

One of the major requirements of any SaaS business is agility. With frequent releases, a SaaS business has to conduct testing at a quick pace.

Traditionally, quality assurance managers used to check for all the bugs and enter lots of raw data manually into spreadsheets.

However, doing that posed a lot of risks because missing out on any information could be disastrous. Also, they were mostly numbers and a pile of reports without real insights.

A right quality tool, on the other hand, can generate real insights with just one click. qTest insights, for example, provides real-time data about the health and quality of your app.

With this tool, you can also create visual heat maps that help you quickly pinpoint an issue in the app. In addition, you can sort your data according to object type and severity.

Meet industry standards

A good SaaS tool is one that meets all industry standards, a pre-requisite to winning any client. And one of the major purposes of a quality assurance tool is to help you meet industry-specific standards without any hassle.

Some of the industry standards that any software needs to meets include ISO9000 and CMMI (maturity model). Various challenges can occur while testing a SaaS app as frequent upgrades in a short span of time make it difficult to check the validity of apps.

Moreover, there can be privacy and security issues too at the time of migration. However, you can simplify and automate the testing process by adopting sustainable test automation.

But, before you opt for any quality tool, you need a detailed quality assurance plan. A substantial plan entails all the elements that need to be tested, identification of the tool that can carry out such testing, the depth of testing required for each component and the processes for handling any failed automated cases that come up.

Only when you have created a detailed plan, you can start searching for an appropriate tool. Make sure that the tool you select meets certain criteria and your needs.

Furthermore, selecting a vendor is a job in itself since each offers a broad selection of products, but each tool has been designed to cater to different needs. So, you need to spend some time, research and analyse the cost of ownership before taking the leap.

Some of the best tools are PractiTest that cost around $35-45 per month for a single user. Some other tools include XQual, Testcaselab, Plutora Test and SPIRATEST by Inflectra.

Once you have decided on the vendor, it would be better if you opt for a free trial or a demo so you can conduct automation testing and agile testing before you invest in it.