Improving Business Delivery Models Through Virtualization and Shift Left Processes

25 May

By: Markus Witcomb

Home / Quality Assurance

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You can’t ‘test quality into’ a system

Businesses today need to be innovative, delighting their customers at every opportunity, in order to survive and grow in highly competitive markets—those that don’t have already been left behind.

However, developing and delivering software releases and new customer-facing applications on time is a growing challenge, particularly for large enterprises that must contend with a complex web of modern technology like service-oriented architecture combined with legacy systems and resources. And these large enterprises are up against faster, cloud-based start-ups, only restricted by the credit limits on their credit cards.

So, what can be done to improve overall quality while at the same time accelerate release cycles to help companies bring new services to market faster – in order to drive growth or maintain their competitive edge?

A long talked about theory in software development is the idea of “shifting left,” where software development and testing teams work to bring higher degrees of quality – usually through testing – earlier in the software development life cycle.

shift-left

Errors caught at the end of a development cycle are more difficult to fix, cause unnecessary downtime, and lead to significant productivity losses. Of course, bugs that make it into production can have an even greater impact: damage to the brand and lost customers as they defect to the closest competitor.

Step in service virtualization

The term itself is defined as the act of creating a behavioural model of an application interface for the purpose of more efficient software development. By emulating the behavior of a system (versus creating a copy of record), developers can modify complex applications at greatly reduced costs.

In layman’s terms, what service virtualization did, for the first time, is offer software developers the equivalent of a flight simulator. It thinks, behaves and responds just like the actual system you need to interact with. It’s a complex idea, and the potential benefits, at first blush, are almost too good to believe.

Several companies are already seeing the benefits of shifting left enabled by service virtualization. There are early examples of success in the financial services, telco and retail industries; by delivering customer applications faster, these companies are able to enhance customer loyalty and grow market share.

Though the concept of shifting left may sound a bit archaic, given the challenges many companies continue to face in rolling out high quality software releases quickly and cost-effectively, there’s clearly still room for improvement.

Today’s technology – with options such as service virtualization – is helping to bring this shift-left idea from concept to reality. With software, there is constant pressure, perhaps even more so with the pace of business and change today, to deliver faster. Service virtualization empowers development teams to shift left, enabling the enterprise to open new doors and drive competitive advantage and growth.

Our QA consultancy team can support with the implementation of ‘Shift Left’ principles and processes.

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