Sunday, February 15, 2009

Testing SaaS, a necessity for both vendor and client

Last week I read Phil Wainewright's blog about a SaaS application with a very serious security breach.
Now you might think: 'What has that do do with testing SaaS applications?'.
Well, just read this part of his story and you will know:

'I suspect the root of the problem in Sage’s case was an unthinking assumption that Aqualogic was such an established Web platform that basic security would just be built in as standard. This is typical of the blind-leading-the-blind nature of the on-premise software model, in which customers blithely believe that vendors have built everything they’ll need into the platform, while vendors naively assume that anything they’ve missed will be easily spotted and corrected by customers during the implementation process. It’s bad enough when it results in catastrophic roll-outs at just a single company, but when the application is being deployed as a service to multiple downstream customers, a far higher duty-of-care is required, because the risk exposure is massively amplified.'

If Mr. Wainewright hunch is correct, this shows it is again all about communication between a software (read SaaS)vendor and client(s). Both parties rely so much on each other's testing process, blindfolded for both testing processes, believing everything is covered and 'ok'.

This example is bad for SaaS-marketing, but it is not the fault of the SaaS but a typical mistake of communication between vendor and client and also a risky time-to market damaging all parties connected to the SaaS-application.
A solution for such a mistake? YES!
Get rid of the barrier between the testing teams of client and developer and let both testing teams develop a strategy how to plan their tests and who covers what.
This narrows down the time to test because each party knows what they and the other testteam have to test and when to test.
This will allow a more efficient test process,covering all risks to be tested in a shorter time. Creating this way a shorter time to market enabling a better economic position for both SaaS vendor and client, giving SaaS a best practice.
It's a waste when innovation does not succeed due to bad communication.

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