There are things your in-house QA team can do extremely well. This might include collaborating with engineering leaders and product managers, strategizing test cases, and converting former test cycles into automated scripts.

And then there are things that an enterprise organization’s QA team will always struggle with, regardless of how smart, organized, and empowered they are.

And those challenges are often: covering an app in its entirety, covering important device and OS variations, and maintaining quality across locations and languages.

In this article, we present the exact elements to look for in a software testing solution that will serve as a partner and fill in your QA and software testing gaps.

What’s unique about testing for products built by large brands and organizations

There are many reasons why testing for big brands and enterprises is vastly different than testing an application built by an SMB.

  • User base: enterprise companies build and maintain applications with a lot more users and customers. Netflix, for example, boasts 203 million subscribers worldwide.
  • Brand reputation: with new memes and complaints blazing their way to the top of Twitter trends every day, brand reputation management has become a big business itself. With a bigger scale of users, the repercussions of quality frustrations are wide-reaching.
  • Number of products: enterprises often have multiple software products, far more than what SMBs offer their customers. They might have different instances of their site or software for different markets. They often also build and maintain internal-use software in addition to software designed for customers and external users.
  • Speed expectations: the world’s most favorite brands are masters of DevOps. Amazon is acclaimed for deploying code every 11.7 seconds on average. Large enterprises can’t wait weeks for testing results. For big releases, they need quick cycle turnaround, and they also need continuous quality assurance.

Key elements to consider in a software testing solution (as an enterprise client)

You aren’t a budding SaaS entrepreneur looking for a quick testing cycle to make sure new users aren’t slammed with bugs upon launch. You work for an established brand that might have fans around the world. When it comes to quality assurance, it’s a different ballgame.

For that reason, the things that you need to vet in a software testing partner are completely different from a company that isn’t an enterprise organization.

From years of experience working with Fortune 500s, we’ve pulled together the top criteria for finding a software testing partner that can actually satisfy your needs for quality:

Scalability of tester network

Your software testing solution needs to have access to great manual testers. A boutique QA partner will be hard-pressed to offer the scalability you need. It will also be near impossible to employ all of the QA resources that you need in-house.

Tester skill and compensation

QA statistics reveal the impact and value of great testing. Skilled testers who know their worth avoid traditional crowdsourcing sites. These sites are primarily staffed by unskilled, inexperienced freelance testers. What’s more, these types of crowdsourcing sites pay per bug, leading to low quality, duplicate bugs for your engineering team to sift through.

Look for a QA partner that:

  • Hires experienced, vetted freelancers
  • Provides additional training to their network of freelancers
  • Pays per hour, not per bug

At Testlio, we make some important distinctions between our networked testing approach and traditional crowdsourced testing.

Test management options

It’s also important that your software testing vendor offers options for test management, test strategy, and test case writing.

Maybe you have an in-house QA manager who can handle the strategy but needs help with test case writing and management. For a big upcoming release of a new feature, maybe that QA manager wants support on the test cycle strategy and organization.

Every company will have a different mix of in-house resources and gaps, so look for flexibility. Your vendor should also let you upgrade and downgrade the amount of test management you need.

Device coverage

Along with a strong network of skilled testers, you should also gain access to the devices they own. Your vendor should maintain a database of their testers and devices, so they can help you pull together the right resources for testing cycles.

This should include OSes, mobile device types, tablet device types, smartwatches, VR headsets, and other devices that matter to your business.

Location and language coverage

As an enterprise company offering some form of technology product, you undoubtedly serve multiple markets. This can affect testing with language and localization as well as connectivity and device environments. Make sure that your vendor has boots on the ground in the markets and metros you need.

Experience in managing large testing cycles

As mentioned, testing for an enterprise company is not the same as testing for a bootstrapped startup. Look for a vendor with proven experience working with companies with a similar user base size and complexity as your own.

This way, you won’t have to worry about being a guinea pig, and can instead enjoy a great client experience with systematized processes and test management expertise.

Project flexibility

You should be able to ramp up testing resources and management when you need and lower them when you don’t. You don’t want to get locked into monthly retainers that don’t reflect the way that you ship updates.

Speed of results and responses

When talking with a QA vendor, ask about turnaround time. Do they test on nights and weekends (making use of different time zones) to deliver results quickly? What timeline can you expect from test cycle idea through to delivery?

Main point of contact (plus tester access)

A “main point of contact” is a common offer by outsourced service providers and agencies of all sorts. It’s certainly important with software testing and QA. You should have an engineering lead or in-house QA that can communicate with the vendor’s testing manager directly.

However, you might also want direct access to the network of testers working on your app. There are a few reasons why:

  • Fosters camaraderie with testers, and helps them feel closer to your product and mission
  • Encourages collaboration and open communication
  • Speeds up responses when testers have questions about product features or backend tech

Ultimately, every enterprise is different. You might have millions of mobile app users or tens of thousands of employees using your internal software. That’s why flexibility with your vendor is essential. But what doesn’t change is the need for skilled testers around the world, on-demand.

Testlio is a networked testing company that helps enterprises ship quality updates faster via an award-winning combination of testing management platform, expert global testers, and stellar services. Request your demo today.

Dayana is a QA engineer turned technology writer living in Milan, Italy. She's always down for a smoothie.