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Perform SaaS App Testing Effectively - Comprehensive Guide

June 18, 2014

Automated SaaS App Testing

Another great year passed and we’ve entered in the year 2014. Cloud computing was the buzz word last year and by seeing the current trend, there are no signs that this trend will go down even in the year 2014. According to Gartner predictions, most of all the organizations will adopt for cloud computing in the next five years.

Based on the delivery, there are three main layers of cloud computing: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Moreover, cloud computing also supports everything as a service (XaaS) delivery model, which brings services starting from security, database to storage and integration.

Among these three different types of cloud computing layers, SaaS is one of the most talked about types of layer. SaaS (Software as a Service) is nothing but a mechanism that allows software applications and product available on demand for the internet users to leverage from, irrespective of their location or time.

SaaS brings a product to the customer while fulfilling the requirements of the customer. Of course, there would be different customers that will be using different versions of the products through SaaS. In such scenario, to fulfill the customer requirements and to satisfy them, it is important to bring bug-free product in the front of the customers.

Why test SaaS-based applications

  • According to the research from IBM, the average IT department dedicates up to 50% of its entire IT infrastructure in development and testing with up to 90% of the available test infrastructure remaining idle.
  • The Aberdeen Group study reveals that the average online business suffers from at least 8 days downtime a year just because of performance related issues, which at the end cause loss of revenues.
  • All the SaaS applications utilize database systems, which need to be tested time-to-time in accordance with the web development techniques.

In such scenario, if there is even a minor error or a technical glitch in a product, the customer already has multiple options to go for. And that’s where significance of SaaS app testing comes into the picture.

SaaS application testing is different than any other kind of cloud testing. It brings a lot of benefits for the businesses or organizations. Testing SaaS application doesn’t require any kind of client-server testing. There are a few other things like no multiplatform support, no multiple version upgrades and no backward compatibility, which makes testing SaaS applications easier for the business users.

Types of testing required for a SaaS-based application

There are various types of functional and non-functional testing that should be carried out for an effective SaaS application. Here’s the list of the different testing types that you can perform to test SaaS applications:

  • Availability Testing: It is important that every cloud vendor perform availability testing in order ensure that SaaS application is available to the users all the times without any downtimes.
  • Security Testing: In order to avoid unauthorized access to the data and maintain the integrity of the data within a SaaS app, it is important to perform security testing.
  • Performance Testing: Performance is a key element to measure its effectiveness. The performance of the application should be intact from the number of requests comes from the users. Performance testing will ensure that the SaaS application performs efficiently irrespective of the traffic load.
  • Interoperability Testing: Any SaaS application should work seamlessly in all the different platforms and environments and interoperability testing helps you evaluate it.
  • Load and Stress Testing: These methods would help you identify the stability of a specific system or entity. This kind of testing involves testing the application beyond its operational capacity in order to see how it reacts and give results. It is crucial that you conduct load and stress testing to simulate real-life scenarios within a SaaS application.

Okay, but what are the best practices for testing SaaS applications? Here’s the list of best practices that you can follow to test SaaS application effectively:

Best practices of resting SaaS-based applications

  • Observe and study organizational patterns from the other business units could help you identify the best practices for testing SaaS applications. It will boost up your testing efforts.
  • Start by assessing your testing requirements.
  • Prepare appropriate test plan and test suite based on the usage patterns of your SaaS application.
  • Don’t forget to increase the number of concurrent users testing the application in order to observe the performance when there is an increase in workload.
  • If possible, try to test SaaS applications on huge and more powerful hardware platforms. It will help you know whether the application of additional resources increases the performance of your application or not.

Of course, following the above discussed best practices would help you gear up your SaaS application testing efforts. However, there are some critical challenges that make testing SaaS application difficult.

Common challenges that obstruct SaaS-based application testing

  • Frequent updates and short duration of validating applications
  • Multiple types of access rights make it difficult to verify the access controls and security
  • Inability to validate the backend components with the interface
  • Difficulty in verifying data transfer occurring between a company’s network and Saas application
  • No standardization in the application

Ways to overcome SaaS Application Testing Challenges

To overcome the above obstructions and enable end-to-end testing of a SaaS-based applications, companies can follow the below mentioned guidelines:

  • Introduce strong encryptions in the application to avoid privacy and security issues arising from multiple access rights
  • Test the application’s performance in the pre-production environment to verify the backend and front-end compatibility and data transfer process
  • Group core areas of the application that are likely to affect performance of the application to drive more focus towards them
  • Create performance benchmarks to reach the testing goals
  • Create test libraries according to different requirements and frequently update them to identify and analyze their importance in testing the whole SaaS application

Test Automation: Yet another practice to reach the milestone effectively

Besides these, to get up and running with the testing cycle of SaaS-based application and achieve accurate results, most of the organizations are now taking assistance of test automation tools. These automation tools come preloaded with required functions and architecture to test SaaS-based applications for privacy, security, accessibility and standard-compliance. There are plenty of tools available in the market which can address these areas of SaaS-based applications within the required time-frame and budget. Some of the common tools that a company can consider for automate testing of its SaaS-based applications are TestComplete, TestingWhiz and T-Plan. Companies can leverage these tools to make the most of their SaaS application testing efforts which brings value to their business and help validate the upgrades in the least possible time.

Are you providing SaaS-based applications and worried about your application’s performance at the end user’s side or want to expand the capability of your application? Utilize this guide to know what, when and how about SaaS application testing.

Download TestingWhiz to test SaaS-based applications!


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