How Outsourcing Your Software Testing Can Ensure Business Continuity

In just a few short months, COVID-19 has not only become a pandemic, but it is now creating a global financial crisis.

In addition to the serious implications for people’s health, Coronavirus is also significantly impacting businesses in ways similar to the 2008 global financial crisis. As a result, several organizations around the world are being forced to lay off employees.

  • According to an analysis by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, job losses could total 47 million and the unemployment rate may hit 32%.
  • The United Nations has predicted that 25 million jobs may be lost worldwide due to COVID-19.

During unprecedented times, organizations should adapt quickly and release high-quality products to ensure business continuity and faster resilience to gain a competitive edge. However, the disruption caused by COVID-19 and a sudden shift to remote work brings their own set of challenges to the organizations and teams. Let’s look at some of the challenges brought by the pandemic.

Ensuring seamless collaboration and communication with different teams. Testing teams who have little experience working remotely are expected to deliver an equivalent level of quality in spite of distractions, while still working with the same efficiency and tools as before. It takes a lot of self-discipline to stick to your planned schedule, especially for employees who are working from home for the first time. Working remotely needs battling a new set of distractions due to the blend of work and personal life. Employees cannot engage directly with their teammates and leaders and may feel disconnected and less productive at work. At the office, employees can have productive face to face discussions, however, achieving the same level of engagement in remote work is hard. This affects the team’s collaboration and transparency. In remote meetings, several employees can also lack commitment, as meetings are virtual in nature. An effective remote work strategy requires more than just providing employees access to collaboration and video conferencing tools.

Challenges in providing scalable, reliable, secure, and robust performing systems, tools, and infrastructure to ensure continuity of development and testing activities. Lack of robust infrastructure can have an impact on employee’s performance. Many employees had to move to their hometowns on the outbreak of the pandemic. However, not every employee has the required devices/laptops/tools for testing. In addition, there are challenges such as the internet and power outages in smaller towns and villages. The employees cannot access the on-premise devices for testing which may delay the testing cycles.

There has been a sudden rise in phishing attacks, and ransomware attacks amid COVID-19. Several organizations do not have a remote security strategy in place to address up-and-coming cybersecurity concerns. Many employees may use their personal laptops which typically do not offer high-security standards which may enable a cybersecurity risk that can jeopardize the entire organization’s safety. 

Lost opportunity due to lack of Automation. There is a drastic increase in demand for remote conferencing applications, video streaming, games, online pharmacy, food delivery apps, and services amid the pandemic. However, there have been significant delays in releases of the in-demand software applications due to the impact of COVID-19. Sometimes it takes a crisis to learn a lesson, lack of Test Automation is slowing developers and testers from accelerating releases while maintaining adequate test coverage to meet the demands of the users. This disruption has pushed organizations for more Automation to ensure operational continuity, accelerate time to market, trigger staff redundancy in the future to protect them from future pandemics.

COVID-19 and its impact on employment, hiring, and onboarding. The Coronavirus outbreak is a black swan event for the world economy. Organizations are performing layoffs/salary cuts to reduce costs and ensure they maintain their financial health. Conserving cash and having a decent runway for about 12-18 months is essential for the business to survive this pandemic. The layoffs/salary cuts cause a ripple effect causing damage to both organizations and employees. When an Organization lays off an employee, it misses out on that person’s knowledge, ideas, and skills which creates a missing link in the teams. Layoffs can affect other high performing employees and disillusion them to resign from their jobs.

Hiring slowdown is largely the result of cost-cutting initiatives from the customers. Several organizations have announced a complete freeze on all hiring till normalcy is restored. Rather than halting hiring altogether, some organizations that are not significantly impacted are continuing the interview process via video conferencing. However, they are facing challenges in finding the right talent and onboarding them. Recruiters and hiring managers who were cautious of remote hiring and preferred conducting face to face interviews are now forced to rely on technology to conduct online interviews. Organizations did not have much time to prepare for the crisis and hence do not have processes. resources and tools for onboarding new employees remotely. When new employees are not on boarded effectively and employee engagement is not up to the mark, they are likely to experience decreased levels of job satisfaction and motivation. 

COVID-19 has also fueled new opportunities and provides organizations an opportunity to become more resilient. Managing crises is an inevitable part of every manager’s job. During a recession like this, most businesses are going to review their budgets; during the 2008 financial crisis, outsourcing and offshoring helped many organizations survive.  Many people still view outsourcing and offshoring solely as labor cost arbitrage; but today, there are numerous other non-monetary benefits to embracing an offshore team. Let’s look beyond the cost and explore the other benefits that offshoring and outsourcing present to organizations struggling to maintain business continuity through COVID-19.  Organizations will have to make strategic decisions to reduce costs and diversify risks.  Organizations should employ Global Test Automation as a strategy, driving offshore adoption, embracing geo-diversified testing teams, and diversification of sole offshoring to ensure business continuity and disaster preparedness.

1. The Benefits Of Global Test Automation

Global Test Automation as a Strategy

COVID-19 has pushed organizations for even more aggressive Test Automation. Implementing a Global Test Automation Strategy (GTA) is key to helping companies during this business-critical time. Increasing revenue and decreasing costs is the key to battling the odds amidst COVID-19. A Global Test Automation strategy is highly effective in cutting costs and improving revenue. A Global Test Automation strategy integrates Manual Software Testing, Test Automation, and global resource strategies to maximize the benefits of Software Testing while minimizing costs and diversifying risk. Diversifying Test Automation is critical to de-risk continuous testing. A Global Test Automation strategy integrates Test Automation and global resourcing to create a geographically diversified testing program, much like geo-redundant data centers do today. This strategy ensures perpetual levels of support and load balance should certain geographic locations become impacted by either economic or catastrophic events. This also enables your QA leadership to understand the cost and performance advantages of each geo deployed testing center, creating more knowledge to fine-tune your teams when threats do not exist.

Global Test Automation allows you to:

  • Get confidence in the consistency of the product under development throughout the development lifecycle.
  • Spend more time on development and less time on maintenance.
  • Utilize resources effectively and budget due to on-time delivery.
  • Increase release velocity due to around-the-clock productivity
  • Get more done with extra resources
  • Deliver more and decrease time-consuming and costly “surprises”

Global Test Automation’s Considerations

Global Test Automation is an effective and proactive way to distribute risk and protect your business from contingencies in the future. However, you need to ensure the following is in your GTA strategy to maximize success:

  • Ensure you have separate and distributed budgets for development and testing. Though Software Testing/QA is related to software development, both are different disciplines. Many times development costs overrun all of the other costs. It’s important to prevent cost overruns on a single function amid the pandemic.
  • Get visibility on your development and testing activities. Make effective and informed decisions based on the product’s quality. Measurability is the key to visibility. Be metrics-driven to drive quality improvement initiatives.
  • Most jobs either focus on adding subject matter expertise (SME) or getting labor cost arbitrage. In the current situation, you cannot compromise on either.

2. The Benefits Of Embracing An Offshore Testing Team

Retaining existing users is a business’ main battle during pandemics like Coronavirus. Thus, organizations cannot afford to compromise on stability and quality. Right now, most organizations are looking to focus on their core business tasks and offshore their testing. Offshore staffing isn’t about replacing your current staff with overseas staff; instead, offshoring is about supplementing your current staff in a cost-effective way and giving your business financial space to adopt and navigate the new business environment created by COVID-19. Offshoring can be effective when used in combination with onshore teams, and can significantly accelerate your release velocity and reduce in-house testing costs.

The rapid shift to remote work can be stressful for organizations that do not have remote work integrated into their cultures. This disruption can affect onshore teams both personally and professionally, as they are not used to remote work. Managers should understand that their team members will now have a variety of distractions that are not present in the standard workplace, and this can potentially lead to loss of motivation and productivity. Team members who are working from home for the first time may feel lonely and disconnected from the rest of their team.

Leading offshoring providers like LogiGear made concerted efforts to prepare for remote work so there would be no impact on productivity, even before the shelter in place order was put into effect. Offshore teams typically work from centralized offices but are still optimized for working remotely. Remote work does not affect the efficiency and performance of offshore teams, in ways such as:

  • Offshore teams have built-in culture, processes, practices, and tools that are suitable for remote work:
    • Offshore testing teams excel in remote communication, reporting, and deliverables by leveraging top-notch processes and collaboration tools, which help them to work effectively with your onshore teams.
    • Backup or contingency plans are in place for the team to continue working amid power outages, network connectivity problems, etc.
    • Offshore teams are motivated to pick up mundane and boring tasks that onshore teams dislike to do.
  • Offshore teams are trained to provide customers with greater visibility, predictability, and efficiency of their testing process.
    • Offshore teams are proficient in measuring and quantifying their work which builds confidence in the offshore effort. They have a single point of contact–ideally a test lead–to maintain visibility into what every team member is doing and act as a troubleshooter when problems arise.
    • Offshore teams are highly experienced to adapt to customer’s processes, workflows, and time zone differences quickly, which helps customers to quickly realize ROI from offshoring. In addition, the differences in time zones create around-the-clock Continuous Testing cycles.

3. The Benefits Of Offshoring To Vietnam

India and China have long been popular markets for IT outsourcing and offshoring. But many probably do not know that Vietnam is an outsourcing and offshoring haven. Vietnam’s IT outsourcing competitiveness has grown exponentially over the past few years. LogiGear was the first US-based Software Testing company to begin offshoring efforts in Vietnam with the opening of the LogiGear Test and Research Center in Ho Chi Minh City back in 2005; this was during a time when places like India and China were viewed as the destinations for offshore testing. After years of investments into infrastructure and training, the success LogiGear experienced in Vietnam has inspired other major companies like Intel, Cisco, and IBM to make outsourcing commitments in Vietnam.

In regards to the current COVID-19 situation, Vietnam is stepping up its measures to prevent the virus from spreading. LogiGear’s staff in Saigon and Da Nang are working from home currently to help the community effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Vietnam has found a silver lining in COVID-19. Vietnam has had no fatalities reported as a result of COVID-19 to date. Vietnam has been effective in containing COVID-19 with limited resources and is actively controlling hotspots. AT the time of this writing, there are only 324 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country according to Google News, which is significantly less compared to other countries considering how contagious the virus is. This makes Vietnam an ideal outsourcing destination right now, even during the COVID-19 crisis.

In addition to these benefits, Vietnam is an ideal offshoring destination for the following reasons:

  • Employees across the globe are seeing delayed or decreased increments during this appraisal season due to the financial crisis, so organizations can expect some churn post the pandemic.  In Vietnam, the attrition rates are very low due to the strong work ethic, loyalty, and companies that are able to provide long fulfilling careers. Vietnam’s attributions rates are less than half of the countries such as India and China.
  • The most popular second language in Vietnam is English. Professionals from Vietnamese are fluent in English. They are also culturally aligned to the US, UK, and other developed countries.
  • From a political standpoint, Vietnam has enjoyed over thirty years of political stability and is rated the safest environment in Asia. The Vietnam Government has also embarked upon business-friendly policies and laws to attract foreign investment. The Vietnamese government has also issued incentives in the form of tax breaks and delayed tax payments for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
  • The COVID-19 outbreak has led organizations to adopt the latest technologies and methodologies to stay competitive. Techies from Vietnam have developed competencies in the latest trends and technologies, LogiGear also excels at training and development. By offshoring testing to LogiGear, you get Silicon valley expertise at Vietnam prices.
  • Because of LogiGear’s expertise, Vietnam ranks 5th in the global software outsourcing market.

Summary

Offshore testing providers present a stable opportunity for companies who are struggling to navigate the current business environment caused by COVID-19. Again, employing a Global Test Automation strategy and embracing an offshore team is not meant to be a replacement, but rather a supplement to your onshore team; an offshore testing team can handle the mundane, day-to-day testing required to maintain your software while your in-house team can focus their efforts on tasks critical to business continuity. When considering embracing a Global Test Automation strategy, keep in mind that it is a strategy: You need to lay out a plan of action, with goals and a roadmap to achieve those goals. Offshoring simply because it is perceived as cheaper is not the right approach-there are many other ways to measure a testing effort’s success other than cost (see How to Measure Testing Success).

Sometimes, the best way to begin an offshoring effort is to invoke the help of an offshore testing vendor. Offshore testing service providers like LogiGear allow you to scale your workforce to fit your needs without having to worry about the costs of recruitment, training, or investments into infrastructure; you’ll gain access to the tools and expertise needed to meet your testing deadlines and along with a secure infrastructure that will ensure that your team will be able to keep up with their daily work, with the added benefit of diversifying yourself against any potential disruptions in the future. If you want to see more how offshoring can benefit your company during this time, get in contact with our team of experts. LogiGear has Automation programs to help you rapidly ramp up your testing processes, reach your goals, and allow you to focus on what truly matters: the health and safety of your organization.

Michael Hackett
"Michael is also a co-founder of LogiGear Corporation, and has over two decades of experience in software engineering in banking, securities, healthcare and consumer electronics.

Michael is a Certified Scrum Master and has co-authored two books on software testing. Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Mobile and Internet-Based Systems (Wiley, 2nd ed. 2003), available in English, Chinese and Japanese, and Global Software Test Automation (HappyAbout Publishing, 2006). He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors at the University of California Berkeley Extension and has taught for the Certificate in Software Quality Engineering and Management at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. As a member of IEEE, his training courses have brought Silicon Valley testing expertise to over 16 countries."

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