When outsourcing enterprise IT projects, CIOs risk losing direct control over key elements of quality and performance. And as the number of enterprise applications and projects grows, the issue of control only becomes greater. The good news is that automation technology enables CIOs to retain control over quality assurance, whether the function is outsourced or insourced.
Why outsource QA for enterprise apps? Companies that outsource projects and ongoing maintenance to a systems integrator or consultant typically are looking to gain efficiencies and access to specific expertise. QA is part of every project and can account for 30% to 40% of project resources to ensure that the application is going to work as expected. Today SIs account for about 75% of the projects underway for Global 5000 companies, and this is a trend that’s been growing for years.
Outsourcing can impact management control. CIOs are getting more and more uncomfortable, because the situation is dramatically different than a few years ago. Business units have enormous say in the technology choices being made and the number of enterprise applications in use has exploded. A $10 billion company may have 500 different enterprise applications. Quality assurance means ensuring that every business process works end-to-end, every day, across all of those applications. Today a “one-app-at-a-time” mentality no longer works. And with the typical SI relationship lasting only 36 months on average, if QA is being done manually or with scripting, all that intellectual property likely goes out the door when the relationship ends.
Gaining control with an automation platform. QA activities need to be viewed differently today. They must be viewed as creating a long-term, reusable corporate asset for the enterprise. With an automation platform to perform testing, teams can “capture” every one of their core processes and run that automation portfolio monthly, weekly, daily, or on demand. We have customers doing lights-out testing with 100 virtual machines performing 300+ hours of automation every night! That’s validating hundreds of thousands of business process steps daily. Three people can do the work of 100 resources testing manually. So a CIO can be very confident that business processes are working as needed, and will continue to do so over the long haul. There’s just no other way.
Without automated functional testing, an organization is either not checking every core business process or is not doing it often enough. And with the pace of change today, it’s impossible to keep up by doing this manually or using scripts.
Moving back in-house? For some CIOs, the issue of quality execution has become so important, they are bringing quality assurance functions back in-house to mitigate risk, and even establishing centers of excellence. But whether you bring QA in-house or continue to outsource, an automation platform is critical.
Either way, you own the assets. Automation offers a way for CIOs to retain control even if they outsource quality assurance. How? Because you will own the automation assets that are developed by outsourced service providers – and can clearly measure progress as you expand your business process coverage. There’s no better way for a CIO to lock-in long-term quality for the business processes they support.
Global 5000 companies are introducing more and more digital strategies and seeing digital initiatives as mission-critical, so crisp execution is vital. When websites and business processes are interrupted, customers can be impacted and that can land a company with a high profile, negative news story. Fortunately, automation makes it possible to largely eliminate the risk of technology failures when it comes to enterprise applications.