Mixing mobile device users’ high expectations for application performance with widespread enterprise adoption of mobile networks increases the risks of high-profile failures. In addition, today’s growing demand for rapid, precise mobile application distribution across many devices, operating systems and networks raises the stakes for mobile application development and quality assurance managers. This high-risk scenario requires mastering new and time-tested approaches to pre-deployment performance testing now more than ever.
“You don’t want your end users to be your testers. This is a terrible idea. Before mobile and social media, this might have been okay because the negative feedback would be more muted and not be ‘viral’ in the sense of infecting your brand before you had a chance to administer the cure,” says Dave Berg, senior director of product management for Shunra.
Theresa Lanowitz, founder of voke, inc., agrees that software performance directly links to a company’s overall reputation and it is best to avoid consumer testing. “The software that runs your company is now inextricably linked to your brand. So your brand is reflected through the software you are putting out there; your brand is reflected through the software that your customers are using,” she explains.
Recent research findings
Even smaller issues can negatively impact the brand. For example, according to research cited by Aberdeen Senior Research Analyst Jim Rapoza, 7% of users abandon applications after just one second of delay in performance. 11% abandon at two seconds, 18% at three, 25% at four and 50% at five seconds.
New voke research explores the factors that are affecting the testing market, such as cloud and mobility. Lanowitz says, “The testing of software at every stage of the lifecycle with all aspects of the supply chain is a standard and required practice, and continues to grow in importance.”
The growing urgency of application performance testing is reflected in recent Aberdeen research as well, which shows that 18% of businesses are currently performing application testing, while 54% plan to in the next year, according to Rapoza.
Testers now must act “in the strategic role of customer advocate and help deliver higher quality software throughout the enterprise by placing a laser focus on assessing the risk associated with every piece of software,” says Lanowitz. After all, it’s not just about producing quality applications, but also satisfying the expectations of end users and preserving the integrity of the company.
Cost benefit of doing pre-deployment testing
Conducting pre-deployment performance testing is critical, and it’s also much less costly. “It is easier, more cost-effective, and protects your brand to performance test before deployment,” says Berg.
Shunra surveys have pointed to the fact that “60% of the total cost in an application’s lifecycle come from remediating performance related issues after the app has been deployed,” according to Shunra CEO Gary Jackson. “If you cut that number down just a few points, you will see astronomical savings and ROI on the pre-deployment testing you preformed. It is close to 100-to-1 in cost savings.”
The costs can really add up, “because it’s not just a matter of having to bring an app down, or bring a newer version down in order to rebuild it and retest it, it’s also the lost user opportunity; one bad experience will often drive your users away,” adds Rapoza.
Fortunately, the market is responding with various tool and service offerings that address each layer of software performance.
Lanowitz discusses the proliferation of mobile test vendors and their willingness to partner with each other. “You have a whole host of mobile testing companies coming out. What they’re doing a really great job of is, they’re building this incredibly complex matrix that will allow you to test your mobile application from anywhere in the world into any geography. So you can do your testing from Bangalore, and say, ‘Okay, I have to make sure this will run perfectly in Chicago, in the United States, on these carriers.’”