Tools for Software Testing: Cost & Convenience as Criteria?

Posted on Sep 5, 2012 in blogSaaS

Last week, we looked at two very important criteria for selecting software application testing tools:

  • Do you have the right tools for the job?
  • Can these tools do the job well?

Although such questions seem like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised how much more manageable your list of options becomes once you satisfy these two requirements.

I can imagine that if you started with a list of 100 different software application testing tools – and you’ve answered the two questions above – you’re able to get the list down to 15 or 20 contenders.

Let’s make this list even more manageable.

Convenient, Affordable Tools for Software Testing

Cost and convenience are usually mutually exclusive concepts. The mark-up at 7-11 is significantly greater than at hypermarkets like Wal-Mart. That’s because you can walk to a “convenience” store 24/7, whereas larger outlets are typically farther away and not open around the clock.

But I’m a firm believer that tools for software testing need not follow this same principle. It’s possible to have your cake and eat it too.

Today we’ll look at one significant improvement that has helped align both cost and convenience into one unified package – software as a service (or SaaS).

How SaaS Has Revolutionized Software Application Testing Tools

SaaS refers to on-demand software delivery systems in which all data, updates, and fixes are hosted on an off-site location. Users typically access SaaS software testing tools through the cloud, either with a browser or thin client.

There are many benefits (both immediate and long-term) to the SaaS model. Let’s look at a few major ones.

Benefit 1: Set-Up Ease

Because very little (if any) on-site software or hardware is needed, you can literally be up and running on Day 1. No messy servers, no IT set-up, no hosting.

This alone makes SaaS-based software testing tools more convenient than on-premise alternatives. Within minutes you’re operational. SaaS is as out-of-the-box as software testing comes.

Now – one could argue that by outsourcing your hardware, you sacrifice quality. After all, you no longer have direct control over set-up, updates, or maintenance.

But it’s important to remind you that we’re talking about software application testing tools that have already met our threshold criteria of:

  • Right tools for the job
  • Able to do the job well

In other words, you should never look at SaaS tools for software testing that can’t deliver. We’re only discussing the ones that can – and how they stack up to on-premise alternatives that can also deliver.

Benefit 2: Cost

On Day 1, SaaS software testing tools are already more affordable than their on-premise counterparts. After all, there’s no set-up cost.

But what happens overtime?

Some argue that the one-time set-up fees of on-premise solutions eventually pay for themselves, whereas SaaS subscription fees are ongoing. I can see the logic behind this, but it deserves closer examination.

Anyone who has ever actively maintained onsite servers and hardware understands that IT infrastructure is a living breathing entity. Repairs are constant. Updates are inevitable. The costs are anything but “one-time.”

If you add up all of the expenses incurred by actively maintaining on-site software application testing tools, many find that SaaS is still the cheaper option. Especially if you factor in time (i.e. paid man hours or lost productivity) that on-site solutions require.

This perpetual nurturing of on-site solutions leads into the next benefit of SaaS tools for software testing.

Benefit 3: Continued Use

I’d like to paint a hypothetical for you.

Let’s imagine that a magic genie graciously offers to cover all of the set-up costs of an on-site solution, and he’ll also cover any subscription costs of an SaaS solution.

Any initial advantages of SaaS have essentially disappeared since you no longer have to worry about set-up or cost.

Would you still consider SaaS-based software testing tools under these circumstances?

I definitely would – and here’s why.

The magic genie’s hospitality only goes so far. While he’s taken care of the set-up costs for you, he won’t help you with every update, improvement, fix, or new learning curve thereafter.

If you choose on-premise solutions – these responsibilities now fall on your shoulders. Quite often, you’ll have to halt progress entirely as you upgrade and browse new manuals.

But if you choose SaaS, you never have to worry about these issues. Someone else takes care of all the mess. You only see improvements after the fact – all the while, keeping your hands clean.

It really doesn’t get much more convenient than that.

Benefit 4: Anytime, Anywhere

You’re at the airport waiting for a flight. You’re in your hotel room before a conference. You’re on the other side of the world visiting friends.

With on-site solutions, you need to be connected to your network’s internal servers to access your software testing tools. In most cases, this requires being in the office (during office hours).

With SaaS, you can be anywhere at anytime. You have the convenience of an instantly accessible solution that is everywhere you go, no matter where you are.

In my mind – the “on-demand” nature of SaaS software testing solutions is the epitome of convenience.

How Does SaaS Rate in Your Book?

I’ll be the first to admit that SaaS-based tools for software testing are not for everyone. If that were true, there would be no on-site solutions in the marketplace.

At Testuff, we’ve occasionally toyed with the idea of providing on-site tools to our own clients. But as long as cost and convenience remain important criteria for the thousands we serve, it is unlikely that we’ll abandon the SaaS model any time soon.

I’d be interested in hearing your own thoughts on the matter. Have you switched from one to the other (in either direction)? If so, what was your experience like? Feel free to comment below or contact us directly.