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On interpathtech.com you will find two other articles that describe the more technical aspects of Best of Breed Testing Environments and various Application Performance Testing techniques. The goal of this article is to provide the Cost Justification and incentive for Management to get these somewhat costly processes put into place.
Most IT organizations would like to provide high levels of service, but that goal is not always met. One of the reasons for this is inadequate testing. One of the reasons for inadequate testing is inappropriate and under funded testing environments. There is a great need for enhanced Testing Environments that provide opportunity to improve the accuracy of Application and Device Testing. Doing so will result in both real and perceived improvements in your ability to provide outstanding service to your clients, which will in turn, provide valuable tools to your sales and marketing teams.
Network Infrastructure devices such as WAN Optimizers or Firewalls.
The actual Testing Tools themselves. Frequently, you will discover
that the tool doesnt work exactly as expected. This may not matter at all--or it may render the tool useless for your intended purposes.
Ability to provide User Acceptance Testing (UAT) environments where clients may validate code to their satisfaction without being affected by other testing activities.
Ability to provide stronger QA environments that are able to more accurately predict application performance in PROD.
Ability to provide accurate Capacity Planning metrics making equipment and environmental scaling more efficient and cost effective.
Ability to provide acceptable Application Baseline metrics to be used to determine accuracy of client complaints about response time degradation and to be used to provide acceptable quantitive responses to such complaints.
Possible Consequences of Not Making These Changes:
Strong impact on client perceptions. Not being able to test, when they perceive that there are issues, creates a sense of lost empowerment that has the potential to grow into doubt.
Harm to your reputation, which can lose future business.
Hardware and other environmental expenses can be more accurately budgeted allowing for required funds to be allotted with confidence.
In sales, there is a concept of Cost versus Price. It very much applies to this discussion. If you spend $1,000,000 to create and maintain the environments and processes described here and here--but gain, or avoid losing, a $40,000,000 account, you win. The math is obvious. The price of doing what needs to be done is far less than the cost of not doing so. Why then are there so many under budgeted and understaffed testing situations out there?
For one side of the answer, look at human nature and corporate budgeting structures. Corporations are necessarily reluctant to spend in the short term, for an abstract gain in a possible future. After all, no one can promise that it will save an account--or gain a new one. But, it will. We all know that it will. It addresses the very reason clients select one company over others.
The other side of the answer is that corporate budgets like to map a direct path from an expenditure to a profit and Testing just doesn't map well. This results in underpowered testing environments and insufficient testing processes that in turn, result in expensive surprises, money spent on useless devices or applications, and lost opportunities. I have seen this cost companies millions of dollars-- from a single bad software purchase.
The choice may not be yours to make. You may have to convince someone else of the importance of this issue. Or, you may be in a position to champion this initiative. We all live in a real world of compromises. Nevertheless, the logic is clear and easy to present.
One very promising sign is that there is a continuing increase in the number of projects that are underway in companies around the world that are directly concerned with this issue. It has taken quite a while, but it does seem that a growing number of corporations have decided that navigating their businesses through these troubled times is much safer with a clearer vision of how the Information Technology that holds it all together is holding up. It all comes down to this-- measure twice, cut once.