Kalyana Rao Konda is the President and Global Head of Gallop Solutions Inc., a Philadelphia-based software testing services company which helps businesses maximize returns on investments in their software quality initiatives. With nearly two decades of experience in IT Services, particularly testing, Kalyan led large QA teams of 2,000-plus people at AppLabs as VP-Delivery and had been in QA leadership roles with Virtusa and BaaN earlier. He has a rare mix of high technical understanding with a pragmatic approach to testing services delivery.
A strong proponent of Testing-as-a-Service (TaaS) delivery model, Kalyan is a thought leader with hands-on expertise in building large-scale test automation suites, executing and maintaining them. He has a patent pending with USPTO for "iGenerate test Scenario" and "Web Services Validator" filed last year. He was a speaker at DevOps East, spoke at numerous meetups and conferences including StarEast this year, Agile Conference in Boston and event organized by Suncoast too. He was recently featured in Joe Colantonio's TestTalks & Techwell (SQE)'s Stickyminds. Kalyan got awarded with "40 Under 40" award from Philadelphia Business Journal earlier this year.
We recently checked in with Kalyan about software testing and how critical it is to the success of a business. Here's what he had to say:
What are the most interesting evolutions you've observed in the software/digital technology fields since you started your career?
In the last two decades, I have seen the software industry transform itself and I have experienced the change as they happened across the industry. Changes have happened across the domain in the field of test automation and management, test process establishment, application risk analysis, test design and how software development life cycle is planned, designed and orchestrated. Testing has moved up from being considered as the nth step in the software and product development lifecycle to being integrated at all levels, right from the business requirements stage and extending till user experience in the post-production stage.
I am glad to have led teams that have tested, architected and delivered some best of the breed testing services to global enterprises and ISVs across verticals. The advent of practices such as Agile and DevOps have brought in extreme transformation and assurance of quality at high speed that is so relevant in the fiercely competitive market today.
Today, when I see around, a lot of organizations - both big and small - are trying to incorporate the shift-left process in their production cycle, thereby enforcing and implementing the testing process right from the start of a product development. This is ensuring quality products by means of thorough, end-to-end testing of all products in all possible dimensions.
Tell us about Gallop Solutions. What services do you offer?
Software Testing is business critical and has profound impact on the quality of the business outcomes. To stay ahead, enterprises demand expertise in commercial and open source tools with home grown IP that strengthen the ability to augment and accelerate Software Testing services. We at Gallop provide a wide array of independent software testing services that encompass automation testing, performance testing, security testing, SMAC testing and many more leveraging our intellectual and people assets. Our testing centers in Performance, Mobility, Security and proprietary test accelerators significantly reduce the testing cycle time for our clients, giving them a significantly higher ROI.
How important is software testing to business today?
Enterprise applications are at the core of the businesses today and are almost synonymous with the brand itself. Issues related to security, scalability, reliability of the applications are costing businesses dearly, clearly resulting in revenue declines. Every product or application developed needs to be tested for quality, performance, functionality, automation and a lot more. Unless every aspect of a product is tested thoroughly, there will always be a risk of something going wrong.
On the other hand, a product that has been tested extensively will ensure greater trust and confidence among the users. Additionally, it will also increase customer's reliability and their satisfaction - which, in turn, is essential for increasing an organization's ROI and for making it successful. Not to forget, products tested properly also will ensure lower maintenance costs for the products launched. Quality assurance and software testing, thus play a pivotal role in the success of businesses today.
What do businesses risk when they don't test their software assets?
Everything. When a business does not test its assets before launching them, it is actually putting at risk its entire existence. For a leading robotics software testing services firm, we first built over 100 models and then performed End-to-End Testing. Our QA team authored end-to-end test cases that ensured 100 percent test coverage for each scenario/happy path testing. These cases covered functionality testing, regression, UI & Navigation, Globalization and Risk-based testing. Had these applications not been tested, it would have caused them revenue losses amounting to millions of dollars.
What types of software is most in need of testing? How should businesses prioritize their software testing?
Every software being produced requires testing. There is no safe or exclusion list of software that does not need testing. However, it is of paramount importance to test software that is going to be launched globally, or to a massive scale of consumers. Because if such a product is not tested properly, it will definitely have to suffer a bigger impact in terms of brand devaluation, mistrust and also have to do bigger strategies to roll out subsequent fixes and upgrades compared to a software that is rolled out to a limited audience. Organizations today are moving towards the integration of DevOps and Testing, and that is what should be considered as the top priority when envisioning your product development approach.
Where do you find the most common problems or vulnerabilities in the testing process? What types of software seems to be the most prone to problems?
One of the most frequently occurring issues are those that manifest in development and post-production stages but have originated in the requirements creation stage itself and had been ignored or put off to a later date. The Devil is in the details - inadequate level of details in the requirements, etc. cause common and frequent problems in the subsequent stages.
We also see more clients coming to us across industry domains who would want to implement devops in their organization and who want to create a better user experience for their users.
How often should businesses be assessing their software?
The secret behind success of leading ecommerce giants is their focus and practice of continuous testing, continuous assessment and continuous deployment of upgrades to their product. According to Forrester research and study, Amazon is on record as making changes to production every 11.6 seconds on average in May of 2011. That said, if a product is not tested too much and too often, it is bound to be a failure because user expectations from the product keep changing all the time and keep setting newer benchmarks. We see this trend across industries and geographies, globally.
What are the advantages of enlisting a team of professional software testers?
Independent QA and Testing Services industry is seeing a phenomenal growth rate in contrast to generic IT services. As organizations feel the need to have more secure systems while providing a pleasant user experience, need for expert services in the domain is on an upward spiral. The biggest advantage of hiring a team of professional software testers is that they bring in an external unbiased approach to ensuring quality of the product under test.
What are the biggest industry trends or headlines you're following right now? Why do they interest you?
The recent move towards wearables, Internet of Things, Virtual and Augmented Reality, while it presents great opportunities for app makers, it also presents unique challenges. Every device and app will present a moment of truth to the consumer. This is one area which is getting ready to explode in the next few years and we already have started seeing healthy number of inquiries for our services in these areas from leading companies across North America.
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