Software Quality Matters Blog

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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Retail Online Integration: 5 Tips for Retailers to Effectively Leverage Mobility & New Digital Technologies

06 June 2014

Retail Online Integration (ROI), a US-based online publication that bills itself as the “go-to source for marketing, e-commerce, operations and management executives looking for the latest news and analysis on the omnichannel retail industry” recently ran a column by Original Software CEO Colin Armitage.
Retail Online Integration
In his column, Colin summed the direction in the retail world this way: “Retailers are innovating in response to consumer demand for instant access to product information and transactions through digital channels.”
Colin also offered anxious retailers five pieces of advice for coping with this trend:
1. Plan ahead
2. Adapt quickly
3. Avoid disasters
4. Test first
5. Test quickly and often
Read the details of each tip in Colin’s ROI article here:

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Unconsciously falling foul of the regulators – website mis-selling

15 May 2014

By George Wilson

The mis-selling of financial services products, PPI (payment protection insurance) in particular, has blighted our insurance and banking landscape for years. The figure for consumer compensation for PPI now reaches a breathtaking £20bn, marking it out as the UK’s worst ever consumer scandal. The industry is now relatively switched on in terms of ensuring all employees are toeing the company line on how to sell to customers in a fair and honest way, as opposed to keeping one eye on their end of month bonus targets.


However, there have been a number of incidences where companies have received fines as a result of incorrect or misleading information on company websites. Easyjet and Ryanair have been fined recently by Italian regulatory authorities for incorrect insurance policy information on their website. Website mis-selling is a tricky area for financial services companies. Clearly the mis-selling itself is typically not intentional, but any company can be found guilty of displaying wrong or misleading information on their website that leads a consumer into making a wrong or misplaced purchasing decision.

And this is not compliant with FCA regulation. The FCA itself has referred to mis-selling in the context of “consumer detriment arising from the wrong products ending up in the wrong hands, and the detriment to society of people not being able to get access to the right products.” If the consumer is exposed to the wrong information, then this fits with the FCA’s stance on the issue.

The problem for any company, whether they are a financial services company or not, is that website glitches causing the display of wrong data are usually caused by either human and/or technical problems and are often connected to data validation, testing and quality assurance. Changes made on a website, a software upgrade or a patch for example, can cause anomalies in the website and alter the data that is displayed. One change of code, or even data messed up in a product manager’s spreadsheet, could have repercussions through the site. So data owners might be guilty of mis-selling when the action was entirely accidental.

But there are strategies that can help. Automated testing and validation solutions aimed at maintaining ‘business as usual’ can run thorough content, checking every update and flagging up glitches of all types immediately, so when financial services providers engage with consumers through their website, they can do so with confidence.

The problem is that if glitches do happen and consumers are mis-sold financial products as a result, then the insurance companies and banks are the ones who are liable, even if the reason the mis-selling took place is accidental. And the FCA does not shy away from imposing heavy fines on companies. So to keep on the right regulatory track as far as mis-selling is concerned, FS companies would do well to get their website testing and quality houses in order.

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Computer Weekly: Businesses Face Oracle Applications Timebomb

15 May 2014

An article in the digital publication Computer Weekly, a leading UK resource for senior IT professionals recently included additional details from Original Software’s research project with UKOUG canvassing plans and opinions regarding upgrading Oracle E-Business Suite.

Computer Weekly

The article highlighted the finding that 1/3 of organisations using Oracle E-Business Suite have not yet upgraded from Release 11 (R11) to Release 12 (R12), and a minority plans to remain on 11i with third-party support or sustained support.

In his comments quoted in the story, Colin Armitage, CEO of Original Software, shed some light into why many companies have yet to make the move, despite the fact that they have less than a year before some updates will no longer be provided:

“On average, an Oracle upgrade can cost between $5m to $10m for large organisations. For large organisations, the number of people involved is often upwards from 30 people to hundreds depending on the number of modules being upgraded and the geographical spread of the organisation.”

Read more of the Computer Weekly article:

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CIO Today: Original Software and UKOUG Survey Reveals Risk Is Biggest User Concern

07 May 2014

CIO Today, a US publication focusing on purchasing strategies for enterprise systems, recently covered Original Software’s research project with UKOUG canvassing plans and opinions regarding upgrading Oracle’s E-Business Suite.

The article stressed the study’s findings that nearly three quarters (72 percent) of Oracle E- Business Suite users surveyed cited “minimizing the risk of not supporting core business systems” as their most important success factor when upgrading.

CIO Today Logo
The story also quoted Colin Armitage, CEO of Original Software:

“Our research demonstrates that reducing the risk of being unable to perform core business processes is the key goal when upgrading ERP software. Rigorous testing can reduce this risk, but asking line-of-business (LoB) users to perform testing manually could cost an organization thousands of work days. We reduce this impact by up to 70 percent by putting simple tools into the hands of users that streamline the traditional testing process, so they can return faster to their core responsibilities. Regaining this mindshare can translate into competitive advantage for businesses coping with the demands of rapidly spreading technologies, such as mobility, big data, social networks and the cloud.”

Read more of the CIO Today artcle “Survey: Managing Risk is Biggest User Concern”.

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As Retailers Boost IT Spending, Be Mindful of the Minefields

16 April 2014

By George Wilson

Research out this week has earmarked the retail sector for soaring IT investment in 2014, with websites, mobile and IT system replacement being top of their wish lists. Law firm TLT has found that two thirds of the UK’s top 60 retailers expect their firms to grow this year and 80 per cent were convinced that IT will be instrumental in driving sales.

Mobile is the technology that retailers are getting most excited about, with two thirds planning to invest this year. And more than half of retailers plan to invest in their e-commerce platforms in 2014, in order to help them keep up to date with the rising tide of online shopping.

Retails Boost IT SpendingThe fact that retailers are embracing technology and ensuring that it is pivotal to their business growth strategies is to be applauded. But there is definitely a note of caution that retailers must heed if they are to plough more investment into IT.

For a start, both mobile and e-commerce are rapidly evolving, so retailers need to ensure their approach to delivering these apps enables them to make changes to content and functionality frequently and rapidly. This will allow them to experiment with offerings and customer experiences, make changes according to what works and what doesn’t, as well as respond quickly to competitor innovation.

But the caution is also about disaster prevention. In the last year, there have been some big IT disasters for retailers. Back in October, US retail behemoth Walmart fell victim to data discrepancies on its website, angering thousands of customers, causing a PR disaster and damaging its share price. A data glitch on the e-commerce site saw expensive electronic items, usually valued at over $500, on sale for $39.99. Bargain hunters swarmed to the Walmart site to snap up cheap products, but on realizing its mistake, Walmart cancelled purchases. And wasn’t the first time for Walmart. Weeks before, the company had problems with its food stamp loyalty systems, enabling shoppers to load up their online shopping carts with hundreds of dollars of free items.

UK based also encountered problems earlier this year when all of the items on its website – including expensive power tools and sit on mowers – were mistakenly lowered to £34.99. responded by cancelling orders, angering customers.

The lesson learned from this type of IT malfunction is that a proper and thorough approach to quality assurance and testing – the part of the IT process that ensures that systems, applications and websites are fit for purpose – is vital. Investing a lot in software and whizzy new applications might seem obvious and retailers might think of cutting corners elsewhere. But QA and testing – particularly validation testing where anomalies are picked up as a result of changes being made to other systems and applications – is not the place to slash the budget.

Tech disasters can cost retailers dearly. Customer loyalty, brand value, reputation and share price can all take a hit when a technology catastrophe hits. So you can’t put a price on the investment of spending time thinking these new technologies through and ensuring that all bases are covered when the button is pressed and these new applications go live. Retailers, tread carefully.

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