SaaS, or Software as a Service, to give it its full name, has had a meteoric rise over the last 10 years. But, as the name suggests, it’s just software, right? It does not pose any specific testing challenges compared to other software? Well, like most of these things it’s not that simple, and the devil is in the detail. SaaS products and their development do have many characteristics that represent a significant testing challenge.
Time to market is real pressure for SaaS teams, which means that they generally adopt some form of an agile methodology. And as anyone who has spent time developing software in this way knows: testing tends to get squeezed and ensuring quality, testing in-sprint, and timely releases are often problematic. Testing is traditionally done once the build of the release is complete, and attempts to shift left do not prevent testing from becoming a bottleneck.
SaaS products push the boundaries of what is possible. What can be accessed through a browser has gone far beyond what was envisioned when the web was first introduced. As the complexity of an application increases, so do the tests required to ensure a quality product. Dynamic fields, selectors, and data make life difficult for a SaaS QA team.
The need for speed and the complexity of SaaS application forces many organizations to have their development teams carry out testing. Of course, developers should carry out a rigorous package of unit and integration tests. But when it comes to end-to-end testing of functionality, they do not have the dedicated skill or expertise and it is an inefficient use of technical skill. Not to mention they are checking their own homework. So given the speed and complexity of SaaS applications, what other options are there?
With the advent of CI/CD, there is a growing trend to release products into production and allow a small number of users to ensure quality before rolling the release out to a wider audience. In many situations, this makes sense. But you need to be cautious. There is one word that strikes fear into the SaaS business like no other: churn. It is the concept by which a SaaS business lives and dies. If you have a large user base and your subscription price is relatively low, the risk associated with releasing the product into production with limited testing are low and can satisfy your need for speed. However, if you have a smaller user base with a larger subscription price, the cost of a bug in production can be catastrophic for your business. Unhappy users tend to churn; SaaS businesses with a high churn rate tend not to do very well. We might want to think again about how we ensure quality at speed.
At this point, you may be thinking this blog post is an arbiter of doom and gloom, but there is some good news, and it is really good news. The need for speed and an assurance of quality from a user perspective makes SaaS products ripe for test automation. And now you may be thinking test automation slips up when faced with complexity - which once was true. SaaS applications’ cloud-only nature makes them testable with the latest generation of AI-powered testing tools, such as Virtuoso. Let’s dig into that a little.
Virtuoso’s industry-beating test authoring means that creating test automation in-sprint is now a reality. And its use of Natural Language Programing opens up the arena of testing to anyone. If you can write a manual test, you can now automate your tests. With AI-powered Intelligent Object Identification, your tests will work on even the most complex SaaS applications. Self-healing tests mean that maintenance overhead is not a thing anymore.
Don’t believe us? Want to see more? Register for our webinar, and see how you can guarantee quality at speed on the most complex of applications, all while ensuring the success of your SaaS business.
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