Software Quality Matters Blog

Multichannel Merchant – QA Testing Technology is Key for Seamless Integration

29 August 2014

Did you know that an eBay study cited on The Future of Commerce found that 77 percent of shoppers expect a seamless, integrated experience regardless of whether they’re in store, online or using a mobile device?

Original Software CEO Colin Armitage recently wrote an article for Multichannel Merchant, a print and online publication serving organizations that “sell goods via print catalogs and/or transactional Websites,” in which he discusses why QA testing technology is critical for companies introducing new applications and updates.

“Retailers and software merchants who release new applications and updates too fast with defects and gremlins could easily lead to disgruntled customers and damage to a company’s reputation,” writes Colin. “When speed and agility are critical, a rigorous quality assurance testing process will go a long way toward keeping you in the race and ahead of the competition.”

He goes on to provide five tips for software providers conducting quality testing prior to a software introduction or upgrade:
1. Put quality at the core of the business
2. Establish a formal QA process
3. Test the whole, not just the parts
4. Streamline test management and execution
5. Use technology to compare the test and live environments

Check out Colin’s article for complete details about these five steps: “QA Testing Technology is Key for Seamless Integration”

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The Grocer: Original Software helps drive growth of online

21 August 2014

Click to open the coverage in pdf

The Grocer is the UK’s leading source of information in the FMCG market. In a recent feature about The Grocer Gold Awards, the judges stated their reasons for selecting Original Software as winner of the Technology of the Year category. They were impressed with testimonials from Original Software’s clients including the Co-operative Food Group, Marston’s and Coca-Cola, which said Original Software saved them “many hundreds of man hours” while providing them with assurances that the system was glitch-free “to a level just not possible manually.” The judges agreed that Original Software excelled at making sure their clients don’t come unstuck in the process of keeping up with the rapid pace of online growth.


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Sheridan Hindle Co-operates to replicate IT benefits

07 August 2014

Original Software and Sheridan Hindle, CIO of Midcounties Co-op spoke with Computer Weekly editor Cliff Saran, to talk about the quality assurance work they are doing together, particularly on iterative development.
In particular, When Midcounties Co-operative decided to upgrade its payroll system, it took the opportunity to move from a waterfall to an agile methodology. “From an IT perspective, we wanted the new system to be tested by the payroll team,” said head of IT Sheridan Hindle.
The organisation used services from Original Software to help it drive down costs on quality assurance and was able to test 50% more software than before. Hindle said Midcounties now has a way to manage and document test scripts, allowing the team to check who had tested what bits of the application and supporting testing in iterations

“We have a properly documented testing process so we can go back and run annual tests each year, looking through what’s changed and ticking off what we did before,” he said.
Read more:

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Today’s “Hyperconnected” Economy Creates an Agility Imperative for Retailers

29 July 2014

We have been outnumbered for years now, with little hope of ever catching up. Not by competing nations or companies, but by billions of devices we can hold in our hands.
Hyper-connected devices
The number of internet-connected devices first outnumbered the human population in 2008, and their numbers have been growing much faster than the human population ever since. According to multinational networking giant Cisco, there were about 10 billion internet-connected devices in 2013, and there will be 50 billion by 2020, including PCs, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, chips, sensors, implants, wearable devices, connected cars and devices which have not yet been invented.

Pundit Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a commentator on the global evolution of business and technology, calls the current state of affairs the “hyperconnected” economy, a digital marketplace where a broadening array of sensing and tracking devices share a rising flood of data through an ever-expanding network of channels.

“We’ve been going through a kind of digital perfect storm, where a number of major IT trends are each gathering speed while interacting with and amplifying each other: mobile devices, cloud computing, Internet of Things, social networks and Big Data and analytics,” Wladawsky-Berger wrote recently.

In other words, more and more consumers hold the buying process literally in the palms of their hands.

For retailers – the sector riding the crest of every wave of new technology since the earliest days of e-commerce – the hyperconnected marketplace can be a force that elevates them above the competition or dashes them to pieces on the shore. Here are three reasons why:

Every transaction is faster – E-tail analysts say about 80 percent of mobile sales in the UK already come from tablet computers. Sales via smartphones are growing even faster, as technology improves and retailers adapt their websites to make shopping from handheld devices easier. No wonder sales from smartphones in the UK nearly tripled between 2012 and 2013. The effect of this sea of mobility is a culture of immediacy among consumers, who seek instant gratification and demand nothing less. A rising tide of sales flows to retailers that can fulfill their desire quickly but low ebb awaits those that cannot — because with a few swipes shoppers can purchase that same item from a competitor while standing in a store.

Every market is larger – Mobility has made becoming a global business largely matter of choice. According to research by McKinsey & Company, nearly 3 billion people worldwide have internet access and there are nearly 7 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide. This means retailers literally have the potential to reach billions customers around the globe – if they can get their attention and keep it.

Every store is more than a store – e-Commerce forever altered the traditional shopping model. Not only did browsing the web reduce the need to visit a location in person, it expanded the view of available inventory. Today consumers don’t care if an item is sitting on a shelf at the local store, in a warehouse overseas or scheduled to be assembled by the manufacturer next week. Furthermore, they have no interest in whose profit or loss statement is accountable for a particular item. They see ABC company as a single entity, a brand. To win and keep them, retailers had better see the relationship the same way and manage logistics accordingly.

These three points add up to one conclusion: Retailers can’t afford to waste time and money guessing how to satisfy customers. Delivering a positive customer experience will determine who gets the sale across the spectrum of products from luxury items to household goods, which makes agility an imperative for retail organizations in the hyperconnected economy.

And for agility, retailers need technology that enables them to sell as quickly and precisely as hyperconnected consumers can buy. But how many retail IT departments are prepared for the hyperconnectivity of 2017, a year when some analysts predict the number of apps downloaded to smartphones, tablets and other devices will exceed 200 billion?

Conventional methods for developing, deploying and integrating the software that runs mobile interfaces, processes transactions, manages inventories and other critical links in the retail supply chain weren’t designed for this breakneck pace. Automating software testing and website validation processes is one way retailers can cope.

Faster, more efficient software quality assurance reduces the time to market for new retail technologies – new apps and updates to existing ones. And to reap the most benefits from automated testing, retailers can’t afford to have IT workers and business people operate in silos. Each needs the other’s expertise and perspective to manage the speed, scale and complexity of today’s digital marketplace. Working together is the best way to manage the customer experience holistically and continuously.

A futurist might call it “hypercollaboration.” But whatever the term, it’s the way retailers can develop the necessary agility to keep pace with today’s hyperconnected economy.

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Software Testing News: “QA – the Yawn Function of IT?”

23 July 2014

Earlier this month, Software Testing News, a website that “delivers the latest news in the industry, from the most up-to-date reports in web security to the latest testing tool that can help you perform better” carried an opinion piece from Original Software CEO Colin Armitage.
Software Testing News
“Given the mission critical role they play, it’s odd that testing and QA are perceived in some quarters as little more than a necessary evil,” Colin writes in his recent column. “The cost to business doesn’t help. When a new application is implemented, or a number of systems are aligned, upgrades are performed or even when a patch is applied, the business has a massive contribution to make in terms of verifying and testing they can still perform all their business processes efficiently and accurately.”

Colin points out the “upsides of QA” which include avoiding disasters, such as the initial failure of the website in the US and recent online pricing errors that cost retailer Wal-Mart customer goodwill.
“It’s astonishing to think that in the 21st century with the technological progress we have experienced, this sort of failing is still common,” Colin writes.
What’s Colin’s advice to organization’s vexed by QA & testing? Read the full article here:

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Latest Release of Qualify AQM Solution

16 July 2014

Original Software is excited to announce the latest release of Qualify, our industry-leading application quality management (AQM) solution.
Qualify press coverage
The upgrade enhances the ability of project and test managers to optimize testing activities in real time and meet project objectives with the most efficient use of resources.

Gathering data and creating reports and dashboards manually is time-consuming and prone to data aging. The improvements within Qualify allow users to filter live data and structure reports exactly to their requirements, using graphs and pie charts to illustrate information including:

• Incomplete Business Requirements
• Test Cases with Open Issues
• UAT Percentage Complete
• Defects by Owner

Armed with this visibility, project and test managers can drag and drop employees and consultants to outstanding testing tasks.

The solution provides a graphical view of all projects, tasks and resources, allowing teams to fully maximize the resources they have available – shoring up where needed or redeploying elsewhere where not.

This includes alerts when specific expertise is needed – e.g., an automation expert or business analyst, and part-time workers and holidays – giving a real-time picture of the time and resource available.

Colin Armitage, CEO of Original Software, explains the importance of these enhancements:

“This new version of Qualify helps businesses to take a more efficient approach to QA and testing. The management information and planning capability help organizations respond quickly to changes across their software projects and make the most efficient use of resources.”


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Information Age: IT organizations not ready for ‘deluge’ of changing apps

16 July 2014

Information Age logo
Information Age considers the implications of the results of new research from Original Software which reveals that many corporate IT departments may be unprepared for the accelerating pace of change in business software applications. Analysts estimate there will be as many as 200 billion apps downloaded to smartphones, tablets and other devices by 2017. Despite this deluge of new software the research shows that corporate IT organizations don’t seem to be paying enough attention to the challenges of quality control and have little faith in the applicability of their software testing technology. The article offers IT teams three tips to ensure the quality of new and upgraded applications.

Information Age

Read more at:


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Insurance & Technology: How Insurers Can Avoid “Black Swans” in Product Launches

04 July 2014

Insurance & Technology, a US publication that “provides insurance business and technology executives with the targeted information and analysis they need to be more profitable, productive and competitive,” recently published a contributed article by Original Software CEO Colin Armitage.
Black Swan
“We’ve all seen it happen: An IT project plagued with delays, changes and complications goes so far off the rails that it becomes a liability,” wrote Colin, describing projects such as new product launches that exceed budget by more than 200%–sometimes as much as 400%. Industry pundits call these projects “Black Swans.”

“Disasters are avoidable, though,” Colin reassured readers. “Implementing a quality management solution will help insurers introduce new products and get them to market in a timely fashion while still allowing for the rigorous testing that prevents glitches and compliance issues.”

Testing prior to a product launch is essential, he advised, told insurers to pay heed to five testing tips:

1. Validate all IT and business data and technology.
2. Cover every aspect of a product launch.
3. Test everything that could go wrong.
4. Test the live environment.
5. Use technology to ensure your software and website quality processes are fast and efficient.

Read more of Colin’s article in Insurance & Technology here

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Capturing the Process Truth

21 June 2014

By Colin Armitage, CEO Original Software

Learn how Marston’s documented 1,000+ processes in a few weeks.

The Business Process Management (BPM) market is set to reach a value of $10 billion by 2020, from its current value of $3.4 billion, according to a 2014 survey from Wintergreen Research Inc. This highlights just how crucial business processes are to the effective running of organizations all over the globe. The corporate world operates under an extremely complex, constantly evolving web of business processes.

The efficient running of an organization is utterly dependent on the smooth running of its processes and the software that underpins them. And it is impossible to optimize processes and software until there’s a deep understanding of how they operate.

Mind the gap

But there is never a person who knows everything about how their organization operates, rarely a central repository of process information. Process knowledge typically resides with just a few people, the “super users” in the case of software, or “subject matter experts” (SMEs) for business processes. But is this information documented should they leave the organization? What would happen if that process knowledge were to just fall through the gap?

If business processes are not documented in glorious, gory detail, right down to how to execute them in various IT systems, organizations could be leaving themselves open to a significant risk.

Getting in shape

This is where Business Process Capture (BPC)—a subset of BPM—comes in. It’s a way of using software to automatically document an organization’s business processes while its staff performs them. It might seem like yet another acronym, but in complex IT environments, BPC could be the key in helping organizations get their processes in good shape and it’s far less costly and time-consuming than asking business analysts to do it.

Certain situations can complicate the process environment and highlight the need for BPC. Take a merger or acquisition. Bringing together two organizations with very different methodologies, systems and processes can create infrastructure chaos, derailing the efficient running of both organizations. The financial services sector is a classic example of this – consolidation and globalization mean many banks are dependent on ageing legacy systems and highly complex process environments, meaning many suffer from efficiency issues.

London or New York?

Multiple approaches to one process can also cause problems. The London office of one business might take two minutes to generate an invoice and the New York office eight minutes. Capturing the process and taking a single best practice approach, properly mapped screen shot by screen shot, will vastly improve the efficiency of the global finance operation.

Organizations are a web of different business processes that must be understood if they are to be managed effectively. Documenting these processes quickly and efficiently is the vital first step to untangling them and turning an organization into the most efficient, effective operator it can be.

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Grocer Gold Awards Announced Today

10 June 2014

Original software is excited to announce that our organization has been selected as a Finalist for the 2014 Grocer Gold Awards in the “Technology Supplier of the Year” category, which recognizes the company whose innovation in 2013 has most meaningfully boosted the sales, profitability, effectiveness and/or reputation of a grocery/fast-moving consumer goods retailer or supplier.

Grocer Gold Awards 2014

Our company is being recognized for outstanding work with Midcounties Co-operative, the best performing company within the Co-op Group, and Marston’s, the UK’s largest independent brewer.

We helped Midcounties Co-operative improve the quality and speed-to-market of their customer-facing software and reduced the time and cost of ensuring a high-quality, low-risk SAP upgrade for Marston’s. For more detailed information about each of these projects, visit the Customer Stories section on our website.

The awards, which are now in their 12th year, will be announced at a glittering ceremony at London’s Guildhall today and hosted by comedian and actor Stephen Mangan.

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Offer ends 31st August 2014 - Free business process documentation tool open to 5 private sector organisations in the USA and a further five in the UK, with a minimum of 1,000 employees.

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