Software testing and QA budgets keep rising, with more emphasis on the new stuff

Capgemini survey finds CIOs stepping up drive toward quality in social, mobile, analytics and cloud applications.

If you really want to understand corporate IT's priorities, look at what's being tested and vetted for quality assurance. If you do that, an interesting picture of a changing enterprise IT landscape emerges.

Keyboard and exclamation points-photo by Joe McKendrick
Photo: Joe McKendrick

A new study finds that, for the first time, most IT testing and QA dollars (or euros, pounds, or rupees) are now being spent on new stuff, such as social, mobile, analytics, cloud and the Internet of Things, and less of it on simply modernizing and maintaining legacy systems and applications.

That's the gist of a new survey of 1,543 CIOs, conducted and published by Capgemini in conjunction with HP, which finds that 52 percent of testing and QA budgets are now devoted to the "new IT."

So, does this mean a stepped-up drive toward quality with all the new stuff? Testing and QA now represents 26 percent of total IT budgets on average, the study finds. This is up from 23 percent a year ago and 18 percent in 2012. The share of testing budgets is projected to grow further in the coming years, expected to reach 29 percent by 2017.

The question is, with the ever-increasing proliferation of cloud, mobile and big data applications, often instigated by users under IT's radar, can enterprises keep up with quality? For core and customer-facing applications, it's a must.

Testing of new applications now accounts for the majority (52 percent) of overall testing budgets, rising from 41 percent in 2012, Capgemini adds. Within the funds allocated to new applications, about 40 percent goes to big data and analytics projects, and 27 percent to new cloud initiatives. Mobile apps — which often require lightening-speed turnaround times — are a growing area of concern. Four in ten IT executives say they simply do not have enough time to test their mobile solutions adequately.

Testing and QA for new applications also requires new skills. The percentage of budget being spent on human resources now accounts for more than a third of the testing budget (35 percent) — a rise of 23 percent from 2013.

Many testing and QA tools are coming from the cloud, the survey also finds. Testing in the cloud increased from 24 percent last year to 32 percent in 2014, and this is estimated to grow to 49 percent by 2017.

The study also explored adoption of agile methodologies, finding that more than nine out of ten (93 percent) organizations interviewed use agile methods within their new development projects — a rise from 83 percent in 2013. But much of this may be agile in name only. Many organizations are still facing challenges such as a lack of a proven agile testing approach (61 percent), difficulties with applying test automation (55 percent) to agile, and the lack of availability of the right agile testing tools (42 percent).