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ISVs - Overcoming Today's Significant Quality Assurance Challenges

  
  
  
  

ISVs

Pyramid believes that your company’s name/brand is everything.  Ensuring that your brand is synonymous with “Quality” is critical to success and often time is required to survive in the ever-increasingly competitive environment that ISVs work in. 

ISVs tend to face the following four (4) challenges:

  1. Demanding customers – Large, demanding customers tend to dictate what an ISV must deliver to be successful.  Unfortunately, the requirements keep on changing every day of the week.  This requires a great deal of flexibility if you do not want to a major customer dictating product direction.  In addition, major clients demand that they have a customized version for them, requiring the ISV to maintain multiple versions at any point in time.
  2. Shrinking product life cycle – There is less and less time available to release software.  Ideas need to be turned into requirements, designed, developed, tested and released in a collapsed timeframe, with high quality.
  3. Need for independent testing – ISVs often times do not have the budget to support a robust testing process.  They take a leap of faith that the developers will perform the required amount of testing to ensure a successful product.  
  4. Access to product and domain savvy resources – ISVs do not tend to able to afford all of the specialized product design and development talent required to create a leading, innovative software solution.

Pyramid has worked with many organizations, large and small and has seen the mistakes that many make.  The link below will take you to the first in a series of articles that are focused on helping ISVs ensure that they have the information and tools necessary to continuously improve their brand image by delivering software products that exceed their clients’ expectations.   Each article will recommend a strategy that can remove obstacles that are getting in the way of success.

Strategy #1 – Fully Implement the Agile Methodology

Many companies are turning to Agile development practices to respond to competitive demands and deliver higher quality applications.  Increased productivity and the ability to deliver high quality applications that are aligned with business needs are among the key benefits of Agile.

Is your company really implementing Agile, or is it something else.

Many companies struggle to fully implement the Agile methodology.  They typically end up somewhere in between true Agile and true Waterfall, with many ending up with a process that looks like Waterfall, but produces no documentation.  You won’t get the benefits if you don’t completely implement the model. 

Benefits of Agile Development

Completely following the Agile methodology will likely lead to the following benefits:

  • Improve speed to market – Organizations are able to create potentially releasable software, at regular intervals, typically every 2 – 4 weeks.   Producing small portions of the product in a regular basis allows the client to see what is being produced and can make mid-course corrections more easily.  This allows the ISV to produce the final product sooner, which allows them to realize revenue sooner.
  • Improve quality – To successfully complete a sprint, the team must deliver potentially releasable software.  Naturally, this software must be tested to be releasable.  Since sprints are 2 – 4 weeks in duration, testing must be incorporated into the process sooner in order to be successful.
  • Build the right product – Due to the collaborative nature of Agile Development, product owners are involved throughout the entire process.  This gives the product owner real-time visibility into the creation of the product, and also facilitates making mid-course corrections, reducing the amount of rework, ensuring a viable product at the conclusion of development.
  • Increase capacity to deliver – As an organization’s ability to deliver high-quality software improves, the amount of rework due to defect remediation, poorly defined requirements, etc. decreases.  This increases the amount of usable software that is produced by the team, thus increasing the team’s capacity.
  • Improve responsiveness to clients - Agile Development allows organizations to be more flexible by enabling work to be reprioritized on a daily basis.  This responsiveness naturally leads to higher customer satisfaction.
  • Cost control – Reduced rework contributes directly to the bottom line
  • High visibility/accountability – Each member of an Agile Development team commits to, and is accountable for completing work on a daily basis at the daily SCRUM meetings.  These meetings are attended by all of the members of the team and the work plan is updated accordingly.  Any changes that affect the team’s ability to deliver become visible immediately.
  • Lower risk – Due to the collaborative and iterative nature of Agile Development, risks are able to be identified and mitigated earlier in the process.

Steps to Success

To get the most of the Agile Development methodology, an organization should follow these steps:

  • Invest in Agile Development training – Agile has been around for more than a decade.  There is no need re-invent the wheel.  Many have already done this and have created best practices to follow.  Follow best practices and then customize your process where necessary.
  • Develop and document your Agile Development process – Based on your training, develop and document a process that will work for your organization.  Don’t just jump into it without a plan, as you are not likely to be successful without a plan
  • Train or hire a certified Scrum Master – Your Scrum meetings are going to be critical to the success of your agile teams.  Either train internal team members to be Scrum Masters, or hire consultants to perform the task until your resources are ready to take on this task
  • Hire an Agile coach – Although expensive by the hour, good Agile coaches are worth their weight in gold as they can save a company countless hours of unproductive work by ensuring the Agile teams are headed down the right path.
  • Define a pilot project and assign team members – Determine the product and project that would most benefit from Agile and assign some of your best people that have been trained to the pilot project.  Start with 4 week sprints.  Decrease the sprints down to 3 or 2 weeks as the team is successful at producing potentially releasable code in the allotted time.
  • Supplement your team with Agile-savvy resources – As you expand the number of teams that are utilizing Agile, ensure you have adequately trained and experienced resources to staff your Agile projects.  Engaging consultants is an excellent way to get teams up to speed quickly.
  • Upgrade your skills where needed – Ensure your QA resources have the right skill sets.  Agile QA resources will need to be more technical than traditional QA resources, as they will work much more closely with Development resources and will be expected to automate test cases.
  • Utilize tools – Select and implement a set of tools that automates your agile workflow, improves collaboration and provides an accurate picture of your progress and status.  This will greatly improve your team’s velocity, capacity and accountability.
  • Automate testing wherever practical – A company can increase its velocity and improve its quality tremendously if they are successful at automating a significant portion of their test cases.  Automated test cases can be executed much faster than manual test cases and will improve test coverage significantly.

Related Pyramid Services

Pyramid offers a number of services that can help an ISV fully implement the Agile model and start realizing the benefits sooner.

Operational Assessments

Pyramid has performed many operational assessments in the past.  The chief benefits our clients realize by having an independent assessment performed include an objective view of the current “as-is” process, as well as a clear set of recommendations that are actionable and can be incorporated into a process improvement plan.   Pyramid includes comprehensive plans and strategies to successfully implement the Agile methodology for those clients wishing to move to Agile.

Process Improvement Services

Based on the process improvement requirements of the client organization, or based on the results from the assessment above, Pyramid brings the expertise required to create a comprehensive plan to improve an organization’s processes.

“Ready to Go” Agile-Savvy Resources

Pyramid frequently engages with companies that develop software in an Agile manner.  Pyramid also utilizes the Agile methodology for all of its internal development.  Add extra capacity to your team and allow our agile-savvy resources to accelerate your company’s move to Agile.

Automation

Pyramid has a long history of delivering high quality automated solutions on a variety of licensed and open-source tools.  We have mature processes and a number of automation frameworks that will increase your ROI.

Mobilize your field force as a competitive differentiator

  
  
  
  

Today’s successful organizations are using mobility to enhance the power of their field service organizations and in turn create a competitive advantage.  The efficiency of a mobilized field force affects the entire business – from goodwill, customer satisfaction and retention to the company’s bottom line.  For today’s enterprises, mobility is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it is a ‘have-to-have’.

Consider the impact of malfunctioning industrial equipment or delayed field service on a manufacturing floor, or even malfunctioning medical equipment in a hospital. Through mobility, service technicians are provided immediate access to all the information needed to deliver world class service levels at the customer site.

Mobility and field service: the trends and considerations
There are four trends that are still driving changes in the field service market:  

  • Increased focus on workforce optimization
  • Improved service quality levels
  • More flexible software models (for example, software as a service or cloud)
  • More wireless, mobility, and connectivity options
Field Service Professionals

Equipping your field workers with a mobile solution that brings the office to the job site can be disruptive and stress your already full project schedule. When determining a field service mobility solution, there are four key aspects to consider:

  • The capabilities and durability of the mobile device used by the field teams
  • The wireless networks for reliable connectivity required to work effectively in the field
  • The features and functions of the software applications needed to complete tasks and their scalability and security
  • The means and ability to manage the entire solution


Are there benefits of a mobilized field force?
Some of the benefits of mobility in field service operations include: 

  • Enables real-time on-site data access
  • Automates and error proofs on-site data capture
  • Enables real-time workforce and fleet visibility
  • Benefits business operations with real-time communications
  • Allows easy integration of multiple enterprise data sources
  • Saves time, money, and re-deployment and re-work
     

An unwired enterprise does have its challenges. When adopting a mobile strategy, companies must maintain a watchful eye on concerns such as security, data latency, and device proliferation.

By creating a complete mobile strategy for field teams and remote staff, companies are extending productivity beyond the confines of the office. Through technology designed specifically for working in real time, the employees have access to exactly what they need precisely where they need it - immediate field access to backend systems, data and resources.

Your challenge is to develop an end-to end mobility strategy – one that unwires your enterprises for today and establishes a solid foundation for tomorrow. Find a partner that offers a comprehensive solution that addresses your specific needs.  Pyramid Consulting is positioned to be your mobility partner of choice. We have the expertise to deliver a successful end-to-end solution for field service to transform your business around the power of mobile technologies.  

Avoiding the Mobile Test Automation “Gotchas”

  
  
  
  

While a large majority of QA professionals see real value in automated testing, many struggle with questions around how to get the benefits they’re accustomed to with web automation, in the mobile world.  QA Professionals have to focus on factors such as cost, quality and time. These factors are heavily dependent on each another and can cause significant issues to a project if not properly managed.  This blog explains what is so different about mobile test automation and how to create a strategy that provides for an effective and efficient mobile automation solution.

Automated Mobile QA Testing

Mobilization of enterprise application                                                                                  
Mobility challenges go well beyond the world of consumer applications. With mobility being a widespread phenomenon, enterprise applications now need to have mobile extensions which enable employees to achieve a higher degree of productivity.  This mobilization of enterprise applications brings its own set of testing challenges. Enterprise applications extending to mobile interfaces need to be tested as thoroughly as any other application, if not more so. Well-established practices must be transformed. 

What’s different about mobile automation?
There are several areas of concern that raise the risk associated with mobile application testing.  Some of the major ones include:

  • Mobile devices – different mobile devices have varying processing power, varying screen sizes, and varying resolutions
  • Operating systems – there are several major providers of operating systems in the market, each having its own unique characteristics
  • Carriers – different carriers using different network technology, and also have custom versions of operating systems
  • Connectivity – mobile devices have varying methods of connecting to a network, including wireless, Wi-Fi and USB

Creating a matrix of all of the possible combinations that need to be tested is a daunting task indeed.  However, with any testing effort, there are basic principles that can be applied.

Creating the right mobile automation strategy
As with any other testing effort, it’s usually best to take a risk-based approach. Getting the best coverage with the fewest tests is always something that is worth achieving.  This gives you the best chance of achieving an acceptable ROI.  The following are a few of the things you should consider when creating your mobile automation strategy.

  • Define your user profile – knowing your users and their profiles is a great way to begin.  What types of mobile devices are most popular with your users?  How do they connect to the application?  What are the most commonly executed transactions, etc., are all important questions that you need to have the answers to.
  • Apply the 80/20 rule – find the 20% of the possible combinations that account for 80% of the activity.
  • Choose the right automation candidates – test cases that are executed most often tend to be the ones that provide the highest ROI.  Smoke scripts are an excellent example of this.  In a continuous integration environment, smoke scripts would be run every time a new build is created. Stopping a build that breaks critical functionality, as well as not having to run the smoke scripts manually several times a day, leads to a huge savings in time and manpower.
  • Choose the right mobile automation tool – with the rapid and tremendous growth of mobile devices, mobile software testing challenges are only going to get tougher. Industry analysts predict sales of tablets will overtake PC sales and an overwhelming number of Internet users will be accessing the Internet via mobile devices rather than through PCs or other wireless devices.  Some key points to consider include:
    • Maintain test integrity – choose a tool that does not require you to jailbreak or root the device, does not require you to modify the application code and does not modify the hardware of the mobile device
    • Run tests on the device – simulators and emulators are fine for development, but they have limitations when it gets to ensuring your customers will get the experience they expect
    • Leverage your current infrastructure – choose a tool that integrates with or complements your current automation or manual test process.  It is important that mobile automation be an extension of what you are currently doing, not something completely different.  Reports need to include from all sources of testing; all test cases need to be in one repository, etc.
    • Ensure end to end capabilitiesmobile applications are the window to a complex IT solution.  Don’t choose a tool that can only virtually push buttons and check to see if the correct values appear on the screen.  You need to ensure the complete end to end solution works.  You wouldn’t stop at the browser on a web application, would you?
    • Technical skills availability – beware of proprietary languages, as it may be difficult to get the resources you need to get the job done.

 


Overcoming Those Mobile Application Performance Testing Blues

  
  
  
  

It’s a universal truth that conventional desktop and web applications are comprehensively tested prior to their release. End users have grown to expect that these applications will not only provide the functionality and user experience they expect, but will also be secure and perform well.  The same wisdom applies to the world of mobile applications, but with a twist.  Social media has made it imperative that mobile applications behave flawlessly, as any issues will be magnified by the glut of poor reviews, which everyone will see, and can be instant death to a mobile application.

mobile application testing

Gearing up for mobile performance challenges 
In order to be successful in the mobile application testing space, there are a number of key considerations that must be addressed to ensure good mobile application performance:

  • Setting up the test environment – A good majority of mobile players use 3G, 3G+ and 4G LTE networks.  These networks are considered to be inferior to the high bandwidth networks that desktop and web applications run on.  So, impersonating different mobile network internet connections on a single performance test ends up posing a major challenge to performance engineers.
  • Selecting the right number of devices – With a number of mobile manufactures having their own custom specifications, testing is not an easy process at all.  Countless factors within every brand and every model, including OS, processor speed, memory capacity, screen resolution and screen size, testing is bound to be a cumbersome process. 
  • Selecting the right tools – Selecting a performance testing tool that comes decked out with all of the features and functions required to automate the testing process for all the above mentioned specs won’t be easy to find.  Perform a thorough analysis of what’s available in the market and make sure that it meets your requirements.  Keep in mind that not all tools will support all of the different types of mobile applications that are out there (Mobile Web, Native and Hybrid).
  • Defining the performance and capacity acceptance criteria – Smart phones stocked with business applications are all the rage these days. With the passage of time, more users are opting to access business critical applications on their mobile phones. This increase in the number of users, as well as other factors will impact your performance and capacity criteria. Mobile test automationprofessionals need not only test for the current user requirements but also need to plan for future user requirements to ensure every mobile application release ends up being a huge success.

Carrying out a performance testing activity has never been easy. Doing so in the mobile application world is even tougher.  Establishing a performance test environment, selecting devices, selecting the right tools and defining the performance acceptance criteria are the most demanding parts of the overall process.  Getting this right will greatly reduce the risks associated with releasing a mobile application. 

 

 

 

Brace for Impact: The Mobile Revolution is Gaining Momentum

  
  
  
  

Looking back, it is unlikely organizations from by-gone eras never even imagined the concept of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).   Available technology limited IT departments’ vision of manageable, secure mobile scenarios to one or two corporate-owned devices operating on private networks.  The concept of supporting any device in the hands of an employee, partner or customer was pure fantasy.


Today, the rise of mobile technologies and the ubiquitous presence of connected devices of all kinds enhances nearly all aspects of our daily experience.  But despite the speed with which mobile technologies have permeated our lives, we are still only scratching the surface of the long-term impact of the mobile revolution and the opportunities it will present.

Mobile technology road

What’s Next?

It’s very difficult to see the long-term impact of mobile—the changes in the ecosystem are incredibly rapid and fluid.  However, over the next few years we believe key elements of the mobile landscape will evolve in the following ways:

Operating System Fragmentation Continues.  Industry data trends indicate that among mobile operating systems—the  backbone of all mobile technologies—Google’s Android will dominate with more than 50% of all mobile devices using Android OS by 2016. Microsoft will increase to 25% market share in the smartphone arena and to nearly 16% for tablets by 2016. Apple's iOS would hold a steady grip on smartphones at about 20%, while for tablets it would fall to about 30% by 2016.  And don’t forget Blackberry and Symbian!

In addition to the major players, new mobile operating systems will continue to surface that push technical boundaries.  In 2013 we will see several new mobile operating systems hit the market.  Two examples:

  • Ubuntu for Mobile will run on Android devices (but not run Android applications) and even offer a true desktop experience when a device is docked with a keyboard and monitor.
  • Mozilla’s Firefox OS for mobile is targeted to run on inexpensive Android devices and will primarily run web-based apps from Mozilla’s app store.

From both an IT management and development perspective, it is clear that managing and developing for multiple mobile operating systems will be table stakes.  Any organization that cannot manage this complexity adroitly will see customer, partner and employee perception of overall value skew rapidly toward irrelevance. 

Development Languages—HTML5 Wins.  For all but the higher-level user experiences, HTML5 will become the most common development language for mobile applications.  Key reasons:

  • Development is fast and relatively inexpensive
  • HTML5 and other supporting technologies, such as JavaScript and CSS, are common and resources are affordable
  • Data and content can be updated in real-time
  • No application needs to be downloaded or updated.  From a management perspective there’s always just one version to support.

HTML5, however, still faces a number of hurdles — here are just a few:

  • Lags native languages in device capabilities.  Browsers were initially architected to display content—the transition to a fully interactive (including device hardware) experience remains in progress
  • Relatively immature and fragmented (browser rendition can vary a great deal)
  • No offline operation
  • Performance is slower than native apps and is dependent on data connection speed/quality

Despite these limitations, industry specialists forecast that by 2015 80% of all mobile applications developed will be hybrid (a combination of native and web/HTML5) or HTML5.


3 Common mistakes with Mobile ERP applications

  
  
  
  

The idea of doing business on the run is a concept manufacturing big-wigs cannot afford to ignore in the present times. And with tablets, smartphones and Wi-Fi networks revolutionizing shop floors, supply chains, executive suites with round-the-clock business intelligence, they really can’t be blamed. But then one also needs to do a reality check as a lot can go wrong with new technologies without right practices in place. 

 

Moto devices

 

The art of Mobile ERP App Development gets redefined

In a little over five years, the world of mobile has gone through a radical transformation. Ever since iPhone’s debut in 2007, smartphones—and later on, tablets—have gained such prominence that a simple mobile phone would seem to be prehistoric – yes literally. 

 

For these days, the question being posed now is not “What’s a smartphone?” but “What brand of smartphone do you have? 

 

On the other hand, manufactures for long stereotyped as technophobes need to come forth with an answer to the question “What do they have in store for mobile computing?” or “What can they do with mobile computing next?”

 

Not really all that easy to answer especially for those manufacturers who intend to adopt Mobile ERP and other enterprise applications into their daily operations. A breed of people often faced with a steep learning curve, standardization issues and a volley of security risks as far as usage of mobile devices on the shop floor would be concerned. 

Addressing the common Mobile ERP Platform Pitfalls

When a manufacturing organization furnishes its plant with software to run its operations, there are many aspects to be considered, and most important of all mistakes to be avoided. For in real time Mobile Applications have raised the level of complexity, especially in case of those companies which carry out multiple global manufacturing operations.

 

Going ahead the following tips highlight the areas organizations need to investigate and what they can really do to address all those common mistakes which come in the way of deploying a mobile ERP platform on a global manufacturing scale.

 

What’s more, this post also outlines the most common mobile ERP implementation mistakes made by newcomers and seasoned veterans alike. So just go ahead and read on. 

  • Adoption of uniform standards for Mobile ERP Platforms

    Organizations need to standardize their software across locations and ensure parameters associated with computing environments, applications, mirroring and storage are identical at all locations. Organizations failing to standardize their mobile applications end up having integration, storage and data issues for mobile platforms. Primarily, because multiple layers of application and organizational security must be deployed to ensure data is not compromised. 

  • Ease of access to Mobile Applications across sites

    Very often organizations overlook the advantages of having the same version of software running at each site. Overlooking the fact when exchange of data from one site to another would take place, different versions of the mobile application may cause errors in transmission, specification requirements and tolerance failures. A case wherein dire situations; faulty data might also result from a bug-laden version of the software.

     

    Operating distinct versions of the same software may cause many issues especially for organizations manufacturing products with exacting standards. In verticals like defense, automotive, aerospace, medical equipment and recipe-based manufacturing processes, say for instance the paints industry; inaccuracy can lead to quality, safety, and delivery concerns. All the more, if the software is not standardized the possibility of generating silos greatly increases. Thus, manufacturers who already have ERP systems in place would need to layer them with new mobile apps or integrate them with the prevailing ones.
     

  • High-end network connectivity at all times

    Connectivity is crucial as its success or failure could have an effect on the entire mobile ERP deployment. Metrics such as connection speed, quality of service, throughput and reliability are areas every organization needs to focus upon. Across the globe connectivity varies greatly; and in some cases international mobile networks may be either less reliable or even more advanced than North American standards. 

     

    In short, it is of no consequence to have mobile apps in place if the mobile hardware can’t connect back to the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or manufacturing system. Organizations need to closely investigate the highly vulnerable areas in order to avoid deployment mistakes. For matching all such concerns with proper IT systems, change management, training and alignment of resources would result in flawless mobile ERP operations.

 

Mobilization Shouldn’t Be Immobilizing

  
  
  
  

 mobilization

Mobilization Shouldn’t Be Immobilizing

 

The decision has been made; your company is ready to develop and deploy a new mobile application. Naturally you want it to meet specific objectives, affect targeted cost savings, and deliver the highest possible ROI. But how can you be sure of making the right choices? 

At Pyramid Consulting our mobility specialists excel in first asking the right questions. Our experience in application development for clients from a wide variety of industries enables us to not only provide answers about the most cost-effective solutions to your particular needs, but also to anticipate unforeseen challenges you may face and help you avoid them. 

In addition to helping you match current and emerging enterprise needs to your company’s broader strategic objectives, we can also assist in identifying what applications are best suited for mobile deployment. While mobile applications are perfect for the two-way exchange of short bursts of information, they don’t operate in a stand-alone channel or vacuum. Once opened, they are also GPS-location enabled and always on. Pyramid Consulting’s thought leadership with respect to the myriad implications of these inherent characteristics is the value-add we provide clients in meeting their specific technical and security requirements.

What does the application need to do?

With both consumers and employees demanding that businesses provide more widespread mobile options and accessibility, technology that was once deemed an accessory has become an essential business tool.  And your IT department may no longer be the only business unit involved in exploring possible mobile applications. The sea-change benefits of this communication technology have the power to bring about process improvements for virtually everyone—from top management, sales and marketing, and operations to supply chain, finance, and human resources. Our expertise is in synthesizing the needs of all affected enterprise groups to design an application that not only meets current needs but also future expectations.  We help you clarify if you want an application that will:

  • generate revenue and/or save costs,

  • give your workforce ease of access to data for improved efficiency,

  • serve as a better data-collection tool for CRM/ERP, or

  • some combination of the above?

Considerations

To ensure optimal ROI, Pyramid Consulting has the expertise to help you develop a comprehensive checklist of critical factors to consider when developing your mobile application.  Taking into account your organization’s budgetary and technical resources, existing systems, and the type and variety of devices to be supported, we help you choose the best framework—browser-based, a native app, a MEAP (mobile enterprise application platform), or html5—and platforms or operating systems for your mobile application. 

The platform question

With the growing influence of consumerization in determining mobile OS support decisions, choosing the right platform can be particularly daunting for IT groups with limited resources.  Devices that dominate this year’s mobile market can rapidly lose market share to new products with entirely different operating systems. Case in point is the speed with which iPhones and Android devices are replacing and augmenting BlackBerry-powered devices.  

Even slight differences in platforms could send you back to the drawing board to keep up with resulting shifts in support needs. Pyramid Consulting can save you the hassle and cost of having to revamp your entire mobile application as trends change by structuring a strategy and model from the start that anticipates and facilitates the integration of new/additional devices as your organization evolves.  

Seamless and Secure Integration

As a CMMI Level 3 company, Pyramid Consulting possesses the critical process-oriented perspective that is essential for the success of any mobile integration.  An investment in mobility requires much more than a willingness to embrace technical innovation. It also means making significant changes in the way a company goes about its business. On the technical side, we examine your requirements and any proprietary or commercial system extension or integration requirements already in the background before developing, building and testing the application that best fits your organization’s needs. Using our broad-based enterprise knowledge, we also help you design an integration process that supports security, compliance, and other corporate policies. Of equal or perhaps more importance, is the guidance we offer in effecting the necessary changes to existing workforce processes and practices to ensure attainment of all project objectives with the least disruption in productivity.    

Putting Pyramid to work for you

If what you require is simple data storage and the ability to work offline, we can match your needs with simple, economic solutions. And if your needs are more extensive, our Mobile Development Center of Excellence offers a full spectrum of consultative services—from research, design & development through product customization, installation, deployment, testing to work out the kinks, and product support that can even include getting your product into the apps store.

 

See how cross-platform development can benefit your organization! 
Register for a live demo with Pyramid and Motorola Solutions at NRF 2013!

 

 

If you cannot attend NRF 2013, you can still request a live demo; just sign up here!

 

The Power of One in Mobile Apps

  
  
  
  

RhoMobile graphic (no moto)

With RhoMobile Suite, comprised of RhoConnect, RhoStudio and RhoElements, device type, operating system and screen size doesn't matter. RhoMobile applications simply work on whatever mobile devices are in use in your business — including the enterprise-class devices you buy and those your users bring from home.

RhoElements is a powerful development framework that developers use to create flexible applications that look, feel and act the same on every Motorola supported device. Because RhoElements applications are OS-independent and hardware-agnostic, mobile applications can be written once and deployed across a myriad of devices such as Windows® Embedded Handheld, Windows® CE, Windows® Phone 7 Series, Apple® iOS, Android® and BlackBerry®. Therefore, the operating system becomes a non-issue — applications will run on most Motorola mobile computers regardless of processor type and speed, memory architecture, screen size, screen resolution, or whether the devices are connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network. Create an application once and it will operate on Motorola mobile computers running Microsoft Windows Mobile, Windows CE or Android. Soon, RhoElements will support non-Motorola devices and additional operating systems.

RhoElements frees you from operating system rules, by helping you build HTML5, web-based applications. Finally you’re free to create graphical user interfaces that enhance your mobile business processes and makes them as easy and intuitive as possible.

With RhoMobile Suite, you are finally free from OS design constraints, able to create business applications that are every bit as elegant looking and intuitive as their consumer counterparts.

Pyramid Consulting is a Certified RhoMobile Developer and a member of the RhoElements Beta program. Pyramid Consulting, the trusted partner for all of your Mobile Application Development and testing needs.

Top 10 Myths of QA Testing

  
  
  
  

Has anyone in your organization bought in to any of the many myths around QA testing?

 

Myths such as:

  • Testing applications is easy!

  • We don’t need any special skills to test that application.

  • Don’t developers do testing before they hand the code over?

 

Falling into the trap of believing these myths could lead to costly consequences. Read on to discover the truths behind QA testing and the benefits your organization can leverage.

 QA Testing resized 600

Top 10 Myths of QA Testing

 

Myth #1: We haven’t had any problems so far with our testing process

Can your business afford to risk one major outage or public incident because of a missed defect? All successful organizations move their processes forward to stay ahead of the curve and be competitive in today’s fast placed marketplace. QA testing is no different. Best practices can help your team meet today’s tight delivery timeframes while maintaining a high level of testing integrity.

 

Myth #2: Testing is too expensive

In the long run, QA testing is much more cost effective than fixing even one major application defect in production.  Your business reputation and revenue stream are worth protecting. Adding automated testing can increase your testing coverage to achieve relatively quick ROIs.

 

Myth #3: Testing takes too long

Testing might looks like it adds extra time to your delivery schedule, but is your application really delivered if it doesn’t work when it’s installed? How much time do you have to add to your availability date if you have to go back and fix defects, especially major ones? When you have a best practices framework in place, testing can become an efficient process in your organization

 

Myth #4: Testing is easy, no formal training is needed

Good testers with solid skills gained through a combination of formal training and experience are a highly valued resource. Testers require a deep understanding of testing methods, business requirements and the development process. Being an integral part of successful software development organizations, knowledgeable testers can dramatically improve quality and impact business results.

 

Myth #5: Testing should produce 100% bug free code

Complex systems will never be completely free of defects. The goal of testing is to ensure that coverage is provided to the point where the business is comfortable that their risk is mitigated to an acceptable level. Thorough testing takes into account multiple business requirements, such as time (when is the application supposed to come to market), cost, risk, and quality goals. 

 

Myth #6: Testing is done to ensure that the application does what it is supposed to do

It’s true that testing does help ensure the application does what it’s supposed to. Negative testing can help uncover situations where the unexpected happens. Testing in other areas can also identify potential risks in terms of performance and data. Ensuring that all these areas are addressed during the testing process leads to higher quality applications and a greater return on your testing investment.

 

Myth #7: Testers begin testing when development is complete

Successful testing begins when the requirements for a system are being developed. Testers who participate in design sessions learn the “why” of a system in addition to the “how”. This allows testers to be ahead of the curve in the Software Development cycle resulting in far more accurate test plans.

 

Myth #8: My code is stable, why do regression testing?

Why do regression testing if you haven’t changed any code or you think the code changes are well isolated? Regression testing will help find hidden impacts and eliminate the risk of surprises after implementation. Automating regression testing can provide further coverage for your team and reduce the amount of time required to complete a series of regression tests.

 

Myth #9: Automation eliminates any need for manual testing

All automated testing is based on great manual test plans. Unfortunately not all manual test cases are good candidates for automation. Some manual test cases require human intervention that can’t be duplicated, some are not going to be repeated, and some don’t require enough effort to make automation worthwhile. The best testing practices include both manual and automated testing to ensure proper coverage.

 

Myth #10: Data planning is not required

Effective test cases have data sets planned out in advance to ensure that the tests cover all required scenarios. Data planning can be as simple as data housed in an Excel spreadsheet or as complex as a duplicate of your production environment. The point is to have the right data available when needed to ensure that your testing is completed on time.

 

Enterprise Mobility in 2012 – The Perfect Storm

  
  
  
  

Whether you are an Apple fanatic, BlackBerry bigot, Android open source champion, or still clinging to hopes for Microsoft mobile, one thing is undisputable. The iPhone and iPad, both consumer devices, are igniting the next wave of Enterprise Mobile computing. The iPhone and iPad introduced touch screens, video conferencing, and more importantly, a slew of applications. In actuality, there is an app for almost everything. Before the Apple app store, leading edge techies were the only people downloading apps to mobile devices. The arrival of the iPad brought a larger screen, instant on, longer battery life, and in some models, an always connected data option. Throw in a proliferation of Android devices, 4G data speeds, much wider wireless network coverage, expanding Wi-Fi networks and capabilities, and a burgeoning application development market with multiple app stores and you have a perfect storm.

Enterprise mobile

2012 will see another year of exponential growth in the Enterprise Mobility space driven by the abundance of nationwide high speed wireless networks, affordable mobile phones and tablets, mobile device management software, and enterprise applications. Microsoft will launch Windows8 later this fall incorporating touch screen and mobile capabilities with the deployment of common platform across Laptops, Tablets, and Smartphones. Apple and Google’s Android platform will continue to advance with the iPad 3 and Android 4 respectively, and RIM will deploy their QNX Tablet operating system on dual core smartphones. Together, these occurrences create the opportunity for improved workforce productivity and enterprise agility and vehicles to access business-critical information. This transformation is driving companies to examine mobile solutions as integral parts of their technology strategies and roadmaps.

This year enterprises will continue to develop and deploy mobile applications that extend to the workforce. Employees are constantly on the move and demand access to information anywhere at any time. Management employees are seldom untethered and the lines of demarcation between work and personal time are blurry. Enterprises risk losing revenue, market share, and employees to their competition if they wait to develop a mobile strategy. Some enterprises will attempt to replicate their existing applications and processes on mobile devices while others will use mobile to re-invent the way they do business. Either way, this situation is creating significant challenges for IT departments who are already overburdened and sometimes lack the resource skills to launch and maintain mobile solutions and initiatives. Enterprise IT departments must adapt to handle these new opportunities. Furthermore, they must cope with the management, security, and deployment of mobile phones and tablets while crafting a plan to extend current enterprise applications to this workforce on the move or develop new applications to deploy. While the challenges are steep, the return on investment is immense. 

François de la Rochefoucauld may have been describing the Enterprise Mobile market when he said “The only thing constant in life is change”. Laptops will soon resemble mobile devices with quick boot capabilities, thin enclosures, wireless on board, high resolution touch screens, and solid state memory. Mobile phones continue to grow beyond handheld sizes with the recent launch of mobile devices between the size of a mobile phone and a tablet. The distinction between laptop, tablet, and mobile device will soon disappear. Apple leads the way on the laptop software side with its MacBook application store, but other laptop providers will soon follow as well as a proliferation of enterprise app stores for laptops and mobile devices.

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