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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Defining the Quality of Your Mobile Experience with Eran Kinsbruner, Perfecto Mobile

June 13, 2013 No Comments

In the interview below, Eran Kinsbruner from Perfecto Mobile discusses key IT challenges that are emerging due to the increased abundance of mobile applications, and outlines new mobile strategies that will improve the quality of the mobile experience for organizations today.

  • Q. What role do you see “bring your own device” (BYOD) playing in the overall mobile trend?

A. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is putting mobile applications at the forefront of CIO’s minds and creating a need for new mobile strategies to be implemented within an enterprise. As the trend continues to grow, many enterprises are struggling to ensure mobile applications deployed for their employees’ mobile device function and perform correctly.  Enterprises now need to guarantee that its application works on an array of devices— mobile, tablets, etc. – to keep workers productive and keep up with on the number of new devices available.

 With BYOD policies becoming more common for the enterprise, there is a shift in focus to mobile applications and with this, the need for application testing has increased.  According to Chris Marsh at Yankee Group, “it is becoming increasingly important to follow a device agnostic strategy to leverage these levels of mobility effectively, and thus the pressure is on to ensure the application experience can scale consistently, securely and effectively.” The BYOD trend highlights the need for employees to have a uniform experience across the full range of devices.

Currently, an employee can choose from hundreds of devices and on dozens of different operating systems—all with their own nuances and quirks, making it difficult for the enterprise to write for and test all these devices. Enterprises who embrace the BYOD trend must also consider ways to test and manage multiple devices in the enterprise and how their business critical apps will function. One of the biggest challenges with BYOD is the variety of devices and more complex operating systems being installed on employees’ devices. In a common testing strategy, QA managers can define and anticipate its test coverage by device & platform; with BYOD it is more complicated – each employee brings a “dirty” device. These devices have a customized operating system, a list of apps running simultaneously on the device and personal data — all impacting the productivity application, device performance and more critical – device security.

  • Q. What are the main IT challenges that you see arising due to the increased abundance of mobile applications available today?

A. The growing demand for mobile applications – both consumer facing and internal business applications – presents many challenges for IT. Just as enterprises started to take control over the invasion of the smartphones, the application bubble burst and presented a whole new set of challenges.

One challenge is the state of the mobile device market today is highly fragmented, with a huge diversity of manufacturers, models, operating systems and versions, and screen sizes— all having a significant effect on application development and quality management. All leading technologies for both smartphones and tablets must be supported (e.g., iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone). Unlike the desktop world, you can never assume that a mobile user has a particular device and OS.

Furthermore, the pace of change in the mobile market is staggering with Android and iOS releasing significant upgrades every few months. Enterprises have no choice but to conform to this pace and guarantee their apps work, and continuously develop/test version updates for their applications. Agile development and testing is the key to ensuring high quality in a constantly shifting market.

These new changes in the mobile application market also introduce quality risks for the enterprise.  Mobile web and app testing relies on many external interruptions, such as incoming events like phone calls, SMS, and notifications. Mobile application performance also has strong dependency on hardware constraints such as battery power and network availability. Each mobile applications behaves differently under similar conditions (i.e. Pressing the Home/Back buttons, running the same application on a similar device with different web browser etc.), thus testing is needed to show how the application works across all scenarios.

  • Q. In your opinion, how important is the expansion of quality to cover the complete application lifecycle, including performance and monitoring?

A. The expansion of quality to cover the complete application lifecycle, including performance and monitoring, is essential for enterprises. To deliver quality mobile applications, enterprises need to test during the entire end-to-end cycle and with real devices to address degradation the second it occurs whether pre or post production. To do this effectively, the developer team must be able to test multiple versions and in various scenarios to get clear visibility and insight into the true end-user experience and improve quality at each step. Wherever possible, organizations should leverage existing agile and functional tools which are commonly used within their company, and extend them to mobile – this would obviously save time, resources and increase the organization confidence in the end-product.

Having an end-to-end solution for mobile applications streamlines development, testing, support and monitoring processes, ensuring optimal compatibility of the application on more handsets, networks and locations. As a result, enterprises gain better quality testing, shorter time-to-market and overall reduction in costs and logistical efforts.

  • Q. As applications evolve and become more complicated, how important is testing on REAL mobile devices?

A. Today’s mobile market is extremely dynamic, multifaceted and fragmented. By the end of 2013, 1.4 billion smartphones will be in use: 798 million of them will run Android, 294 million will run Apple’s iOS, and 45 million will run Windows Phone, according to a new study by ABI Research. With new devices being introduced, operating systems and network capabilities, testing on real devices is needed more than ever before. Moreover, not testing on real devices introduces huge risks, since simulators are not running official operating systems, does not simulate real device conditions and networks.

Developers are faced with robust mobile testing demands that address the complexities of multi-platform development in a highly fragmented mobile market. Being able to test on a plethora of real devices ensures that modern applications will work seamlessly and give true business critical insights to end-user experiences in simulated real-world conditions using real devices and networks.

  • Q. Is there an increased need today for integrated quality suites for information/resource sharing and efficient resource utilization?

A. There is an increase need for integrated quality suite for information sharing and efficient recourse utilization. Using an integrated quality suites helps enterprises gain insight into how the app will perform, solving any issues prior to launching a new application and having shorter time-to-market.  Integrated quality suites, provide wide range of tools and capabilities which organizations can take advantage of, all under the same “roof” – test development, defect management, automation, performance testing and monitoring, as well as add-ons to continuous integration solutions (e.g. Jenkins). By leveraging such suite within the organization, it allows a common infrastructure, process, and language all teams uses, toward managed product delivery. We can look at HP’s integrated quality suite as an example to an end-to-end product suite which overcomes and address provides all of the above – same goes for Microsoft TFS, IBM Rational suite (and specifically ‘MobileFirst’).

  • Q. How is Perfecto Mobile working to help developers connect to their platform quickly and easily?

A. Perfecto Mobile helps developers connect to their platform quickly and easily by supporting continuous integration through our open API’s to customers who use Develops/Agile processes as part of their ALM.

Also, Perfecto Mobile has collaborated with HP to develop a fully integrated solution for automated testing of mobile applications within QTP, enabling enterprises to naturally extend their existing HP ALM to support mobile applications with both real devices and emulators.

Perfecto Mobile also recently announced launch of “MobileCloud for TFS” which extends Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2012 products to Mobile. This enables manual and automated testing of mobile applications and the management of these testing procedures directly from Microsoft TFS.

Finally with the latest announcements from Perfecto— Perfecto is truly offering developers and business an end-to-end mobile application quality management in the cloud.

  • Q. What do you think the future holds application testing? Will it become commoditized?

A. Mobility is a de-facto market platform which is not only growing with the number of active users, but also becomes more complicated and dependent on growing technologies such as voice-related capabilities, payment cards, location based solutions, health related hardware which all communicate with the mobile apps. From end-user experience, the expectations are also high – performance and usability are key factors for adopting applications. For testers, this is yet another challenge to overcome and address so the application’s quality, security and safety needs to remain top-notch with the growing complexity.

The industry is also looking into agile and CI/CD methodologies with supporting tools to make the release cycles shorter. The industry is focused on solutions that deliver high quality; a trend testers and agile teams will see in the near future and act on, creating a “mobile ready” standard.

Eran Kinsbruner

Eran Kinsbruner is director of product marketing at Perfecto Mobile, the leading cloud-based mobile application testing and automation company. Formerly CTO for mobile testing and Texas Instruments and project manager at Matrix, Eran has been in testing since 1999 with experience that includes managing teams at Qulicke & Soffa, Sun Microsystems, General Electric, and NeuStar. The co-inventor of a test exclusion automated mechanism for mobile J2ME testing at Sun Microsystems, Eran has extensive experience in the mobile testing world. You can find Eran on Twitter @ek121268, LinkedIn, and his professional mobile testing blog at Eran also writes regularly for the Perfecto Mobile blog.

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