Cognizant, a provider of Information Technology (IT), consulting and business process outsourcing services, is focusing on the UAE's growing market for 'Outsourced Testing Services'. In line with this, the company recently hosted its first testing summit at the Burj Al Arab, which was attended by CIOs across industries in the Middle East.
The summit provided a platform to share best practices and forecast trends in testing, addressing challenges experienced by Quality Assurance (QA) organizations and formulating strategies that can help deal with these challenges. The summit complements the company's move to create a stronger market presence in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East region. The importance of testing in ensuring business confidence and providing superior end-user experience was the central theme of discussion at the summit.
Cognizant recently reported $4.59bn in revenue in 2010, up 40.1% from 2009. The company, whose global headcount was approximately 104,000 as of December 31, 2010, has been growing at an industry-leading rate and has guided to fiscal 2011 revenue of at least $5.79bn. The company is also one of the largest providers of Independent Verification & Validation services. Cognizant's testing practice is an independent business unit within the company and has grown organically to more than 15,000 career testers, testing code written by Cognizant as well as by third parties such as clients and competitors.
"'Cognizant Testing Summits' are a unique forum for learning and sharing current and critical information about testing," said Theresa Lanowitz, Principal Analyst, Voke Inc. "The testing summits focus on networking and interaction among attendees who find considerable value in discussing enterprise testing concerns, challenges, and solution paths with professional peers. The 'Cognizant Testing Summits' are a rare and valued occurrence in today's business landscape."
"We congratulate Cognizant on the inaugural Middle East edition of the testing summit," said Peter Bauer, Chief Services Officer, National Health Insurance Company - Daman. Emphasizing the importance of establishing synergies between business, IT and QA teams, he said, "Testing has been an integral part of application development lifecycle and is crucial in ensuring quality of deliverables with business confidence and acceptance. We are happy to have Cognizant as our strategic IT partner."
Industry research firm IDC forecasts a five-year CAGR of 19% for discrete global testing services, reaching an estimated $17.7bn by 2013. Companies are increasingly outsourcing testing services to gain easy access to a global pool of IT experts and consultants; manage resource requirements based on need, especially through sudden rise and fall of demand. Other key benefits received from using testing services include reduced cost, improved quality and increased speed in operations; higher productivity and increased confidence levels during application go-live decision-making.
Sumithra Gomatam, SVP and Global Head of Testing Practice, Cognizant, said, "'Outsourced Testing Services' have been growing significantly, not only for their value in lowering the cost of quality assurance and maintenance, but for ensuring tighter alignment of IT with business objectives, greater operational effectiveness, and improved governance and risk mitigation. Software testing involves validation of the application to ensure that the user experience is in keeping with the specifications. Traditionally, companies offered testing services in an integrated fashion, bundling them with application development and application maintenance services. Today, companies such as Cognizant offer testing services on a standalone basis, focusing on supporting the testing needs of enterprises and product companies through Independent Verification and Validation (IVV) of their software."
The summit also reflected the growing importance of testing services and a shift in the customer mindset regarding the importance of testing. "Testing, as a service, is gaining traction for five key reasons," explained Sumithra. "Firstly, with a large number of applications going online, robust testing infrastructure has become an imperative for handling huge volumes of transactions in real time. Secondly, more and more mission-critical applications coming on the horizon need to be high-performance and high-availability applications. As such, testing them for performance and ruggedness is critical, as many of them are becoming 'self-service' applications. Thirdly, with many testing tools having come out in the marketplace, it is possible to provide fully-integrated testing services in several different environments. Fourthly, many product companies are adopting independent testing, verification and validation to crunch the cycle-time for deployment of their products. Launching a well-tested product early gives product companies a unique advantage of gaining mind and market-share early on. Finally, the increasing maturity of the offshore software services sector has quickened the growth of the testing services market," she concluded.
Cognizant's testing practice is aligned with industries of specialization—such as financial services, healthcare, manufacturing/retail, and telecommunication, media and entertainment. This vertical alignment helps the company leverage its domain expertise and provide domain-aligned testing, a key aspect of independent software testing. Over 70% of the code tested by the company is provided by client or third-party vendors. The company has invested significantly in people, testing infrastructure and tool research. Last year, the company acquired Galileo Performance, a Paris-based IT testing and consulting services firm.
Cognizant, which has over 50 delivery centers worldwide, strategically combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industry and business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. In 2009, the company launched iZone, an innovative ecosystem built to catalyze the ideation process, streamline innovations and enable effective knowledge sharing among its testing team.