QA testing: An integral part of the Software lifecycle

Even small bugs can lead to big business problems. Although the developers may perform initial testing, having the code analyzed by an expert QA tester will give you better peace of mind.

There are two types of QA testers; one that says “Nothing gets past me!” or the other that says “I will help find bugs to improve in the development of our product.” Both of them are great QA testers. They will get the job done most efficiently. Organizing, administering, and paying attention to details are a few of the desirable qualities in a software QA.

Most people are under the impression that the QA profession is an easy job since all a QA is supposed to do is ‘just’ testing software to find some bugs or errors, report them to the developers, back to testing again, then report again, and repeat. That is just the crudest job description for the profile. But in reality, it is way more complicated than that and requires a lot of finesse to even begin with the process.

Let’s set some of these myths straight with facts about what a software QA tester precisely does.

  1. Testing is easy

“What is so difficult about testing a software? This is the easiest job in IT field!”

Do you believe it? Would you say, perceiving the end product and testing the same while keeping different factors like operability, security, performance, responsiveness, GUI, and many others into consideration, is an easy chore? In fact, if done properly, QA testing can be extremely challenging. It requires a calm, patient mind and great attention to detail for planning the test, creating test cases, running regression tests, and noting detailed steps to reproduce bugs. Only a person with high analytical skills can test software for many possible use cases with minimum test cases.

  1. Anyone can do manual testing

Anyone can cook, but can everyone make gourmet food? Of course not, it takes an artist to create a captivating and delightful plate of food.

One can say the same for software QA testing. If to be done accurately and effectively, QA testing requires many skill sets. Not everyone possesses the right mindset to test the product with different perspectives. Many companies opt for developer-based testing, but it will always lack the security of having been looked over by a professional.

  1. Testing ensure 100% bug-free product

The ultimate purpose of software testing is to improve product quality. Even if you end up finding a lot of bugs during the testing phase, 100% defect-free software is still a myth. Every great application rolls out updates now and then to remove bugs that showed up later on. QA tester can just make sure that the features work according to the actual requirements.

So if you are a QA tester, cut yourself a slack. Believe me, you’ll find at least a small defect there.

  1. QA specialists aren’t needed, developers can do the testing just fine

Smaller organizations may require their developers to do the testing too. Although it may work in certain situations, it is always better to have a dedicated resource for QA testing. Most of the time developers are dealing with tight deadlines. This may lead to ineffective or not thorough regression tests while repetitive smoke tests may further add to the stress.

To launch a great software, you do not just need great features but also carefully tested and maximum bug free product that can provide value to the customers.

  1. Automated testing is more powerful than manual testing

Just like in every other aspect of life, machines have taken up a huge part in testing too. So that people now believe automated testing does a better job than manual testing. Again it is not feasible for 100% automation on QA. UI/UX can be best judged by a human element. Aesthetics play a very important role.

Automated testing can test for functionality or any missing parts, but only a human experience can judge if the buttons are properly placed and displayed. 

Final thoughts

QA testing is not a lone job. A QA tester is expected to have a pleasant personality and good communication skills as they work hand in hand with managers and developers. A lot of bugs does not bother a QA tester, failure to find any bug in the first sweep does.

Does your digital presence matter?

Google has confirmed that a whopping 97% of consumers use the web to search for local businesses. Yes, you read it right. That means almost all of the customers like to check out the web to find nearby vendors. Now, if the vast majority of your potential customers are online, you should be, too. No matter what size your business is or what industry it belongs to, having a digital presence is crucial.

Having said that, it is not just about making any web page and putting it up there. Your site is your storefront. Tend to it on regular basis and weed out all the hiccups that may drag you down. 

4 reasons your online presence matters:

  1. It is either you visible to the customers or your competitors

The market has literally shifted online. Your current and potential customers and even your competitors are online. If you still want to have a successful business, there is no turning back to digital presence. Deploy all digital marketing tools too to gain an edge over your competitors.

  1. It is your first impression of your business.

Now since you are online, your potential customers or clients will definitely check you out online, even look for reviews, before making the purchase. Put your best foot forward and turn this to your advantage by having a tastefully designed digital storefront.

  1. Your customers are self-educators.

The customers are no longer just relying on the information you put forward or convey through the sales reps. They seek to educate themselves on your products or services through the internet. By not using online content and digital marketing to outreach prospective clients, you fall short to furnish the self-educated consumer with the knowledge essential to go for you.

  1. It is a powerful customer service tool.

It is not only the priority of the sales team to managing your online presence, but it is also an obligation of customer service. Again, consumers use social media or digital portals to connect with brands in case they have a question, concern, or problem with a product or service. This is where the customer service team comes into play. A swift, worthwhile response to their online inquiry builds the brand image. By neglecting this area, you will be missing out on a chance to provide quality customer service.

So when you choose to execute a digital brand development plan, pay attention to the following points:

  1. Web hosting

Don’t let cheap hosting slow down your business. Search and choose the best-managed hosting solution that would fulfill your needs. Select the one supported by world-class experts. Your digital business is your storefront and hosting is equivalent to the physical location of the store.

  1. Website security

It is again linked to how you host the website. It is best to secure your site with SSL certificates; it is easy and includes all the plans. You can add SSL certificates with a single click in your user portal on WordPress Engine.

  1. Faster loading

Global content delivery network (CDN), routes local requests to the nearest servers and quickens the loading speed. Studies have shown that a customer waits for just 10 seconds on an average for the content to load, before moving on.

  1. SEO and digital marketing

Better SEO and stark digital marketing get you more visitors. Keep your website updated to serve the customers faster and boost visitor retention and conversions.

  1. Regular backup

Needless to say, opt for a service that provides daily automatic backups. The best service provider will have your data encrypted in transit and at rest, stored in redundant, off-site data centers to give you peace of mind in case you run into any site issues.

If you are thinking about getting a website for your business, this article Things to Consider Before Hiring a Website Development Company will help you get started.

Final Thoughts

Times have shown that businesses that adapt to change at the right time, write a success story. So as per the need of the hour, use the Internet to influence, engage, generate leads, and present a call to action.

Digital transformation

The Right Way to Bring about Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has changed the underlying economics of markets and also how we all go about our day. Businessmen are acknowledging this and are adapting accordingly quickly. It is again a revision of the concept of demand and supply. A huge chunk of buying and selling, customer service, and education is being done online. Although the fear of digital disruption is an impending danger, most executives are adapting to changing trends to avoid missing out on new technologies. 

Every bout of technology change comes with pros and cons. On the one hand, new technologies threaten already established businesses, they also bring a plethora of new unprecedented opportunities. Real winners are those who modify themselves to adapt to the new ways. Some executives cite the risk of disruption as the impetus for transformation; that risk is certainly real. But the matter of fact is that more businessmen are varied about missing out on opportunities to make big, rather than being forced into oblivion. It is not a digital disruption that impels companies to change, it is digital “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out).

Having said that, still, most corporations do not comprehend the vastness of digital transformation. First of all, digital transformation is not a standalone vertical. Broadly classified, there are four types of digital transformation:

  • Business Process
  • Business Model
  • Domain
  • Cultural/Organizational

It is very common among corporations to be focused solely on the process or organizational transformation. Owing to this approach they are not able to scoop up the benefits of digitalization entirely. Again, it has to be a team effort for the complete digital transformation of the business. Everyone should be on board with its execution mainly being chaperoned by the CEO, with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and Strategy and Business Unit Executive leading the way. It is vastly erroneous of many corporations to believe that digital transformation must begin with cultural/organizational transformation. But it has proved to have a greater success rate if corporations first pursue business transformation initiatives. This can then be followed by teaching the organization to be more innovative, agile, and digital.

Continue to read up to know all about the four types of transformations in more detail and get the most out of it: 

Process Transformation: Corporates are focusing significantly on business processes for revamping using data analytics, APIs, machine learning, and other technologies. Digitalization provides valuable new ways for lowering production and maintenance costs, reducing cycle times, better-integrating core systems, or increasing quality. British Airways relied on process transformation to drive more customers by shifting their booking process to a digital base. They were able to beat even the competitors offering lower airfare by providing ease-of-use. Everyone is aware of the hugely successful process transformation in customer experience by Domino’s Pizza. They completely re-imagined the food ordering process; allowing customers to order from any device, live tracking, and even voice command. This innovation increased customer convenience so much that it pushed them way ahead of the competition. Although they are led to success by a CIO or CDO as these transformations tend to be focused efforts around specific areas of the business, required adjustments are to be made in every department for a seamless transition.   

Business Model Transformation: Traditional business models are making way to new unprecedented business methods through digital transformation. Business model transformations are aimed at the fundamental building blocks of finding a new purpose in the industry. We are well aware of groundbreaking business ideas like Netflix’s reinvention of video distribution, Apple’s reinvention of music delivery (I-Tunes), to Uber’s reinvention of the taxi industry. This kind of transformation is occurring all around. China’s AIA Group has moved beyond insurance to become a wellness company, whereas Dutch electronics giant Philips has largely divested its legacy lighting business to focus on healthcare technology. They have been hugely successful. 

Strategy and/or Business Units play an important role in business model transformation. Such opportunities are quite complex and require out of the box strategies. By changing the fundamental building blocks of value, corporations that achieve business model transformation open significant new opportunities for growth. More and more companies are investing to pursue this path.

Domain Transformation: Stating in simple terms, domain transformation is inventing a new field of business that has never existed before. It may seem like an impossible task as generally, one can find retailers in every imaginable domain. But new technologies are redefining products and services, blurring industry boundaries, and creating entirely new sets of non-traditional competitors. These new technologies have unlocked wholly new businesses for their companies beyond currently served markets.

The best example of domain transformation is demonstrated by the online retailer, Amazon. Amazon used its existing resources to launch Amazon Web Services (AWS), now the largest cloud computing/infrastructure service. What Amazon really did was tap into its strong digital capabilities like built-in storage, computing databases to support its core retail business coupled with its robust base of thousands of relationships with young, growing companies that progressively demanded computing services to grow. Once again, AWS is not just a business extension for Amazon, but a completely distinct business in a fundamentally new market space. It has met with so much success that AWS alone now contributes to nearly 60% of Amazon’s annual profit.  

An executive of a non-tech business may view this story skeptically as these tech giants have more ability to acquire and leverage technology than other companies. But truth be told, it is as easy for any other company too to access and acquire the new technologies demanded to unhinge new growth; that too quite cheaply and efficiently. Technology gaps are no longer a barrier. All you need is a vision. We see marvelous innovations taking place in the growing startup ecosystem. Companies that understand the need of the hour and can smartly leverage this innovation efficiently, showing faith in new sources, are making the most of new bounds.

Entering domain transformation involves re-defining business boundaries. The strategy department and CEO mainly are the brains behind pursuing these opportunities.

Cultural/Organizational Transformation: To have a complete and long-term digital transformation, it is essential to redefine organizational mindsets, processes, and sourcing new talent & upgrading capabilities for the digital world. All the top-drawer corporations have recognized the important parameters to bring out this change; they include agile workflows, a bias toward testing and learning, decentralized decision-making, and a greater reliance on business ecosystems. Home Depot invested a significant amount to digitally update its infrastructure and this decision led to significant revenue increases. Similarly, a century-old postage equipment company, Pitney Bowes, embraced the technological transition. Led by its CIO, the company promoted a “culture of innovation,” and shifted company values to focus on customer-centricity.  

All these companies focused initially on building digital mindsets and agility into the organization, backed by concrete initiatives to drive innovation and growth. Both Home Depot and Pitney Bowes began their transformation with a primary focus on enhancing customer-facing offerings and matching pace with the fast-changing technologies. It in exchange guided the teams to adopt digital workflow practices but in doing so demonstrated the power of digital to change old organizational norms. Pitney Bowes CEO Mark Lautenbach shared with Fortune that, “As you’re thinking about transforming a company… try to realize those cores, those gems that you have that you can pivot off of to create that next chapter”. Progress on business initiatives dragged organizational change like agile development and innovation along. Cultural/organizational change plays a huge hand in the long-term requirement of success, but it is merely a product of, rather than a prerequisite for, business transformation initiatives. 

To reiterate, advancements in technology will continue to force industries to change. Corporations that understand and pursue digital transformation in a multi-dimensional way will find greater success than those that don’t.  

We are here to help you embrace digital transformation for your business.

How Investing in Gym Management Software can Increase your Revenue

Are you trying to hunt out effective ideas for growing your business because 2020 has been a year that has forced numerous fitness clubs to shift to a defensive business strategy or a proactive one that saw them divest into areas which they never previously considered to maintain income during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Implementing unique and creative fitness marketing ideas will facilitate your growth in gym revenue, boost profitability, and attract more members to the gym or fitness club. From reducing expenses like downsizing on staff and cutting down on advertising, to taking their fitness classes online and selling “online memberships” to accommodate restrictions imposed by governments, the incredible strain of the virus has forced gym businesses around the world to create difficult decisions to even sustain rather than aiming for profitability.

While big fundamental shifts like those outlined above could even be necessary to urge your club to manage within the green, there are still a variety of smaller tweaks you could make to the configuration of your gym management software which is in a position to even have a positive influence on your club’s bottom line. The aim of this text is to stipulate a spread of these to fabricate your business with some additional tools to carry on your club’s functioning with low costs.

Using gym management software you minimize workload additionally as you increase clients.

Our step by step fitness marketing ideas will help get more members in your gym. Gym and fitness management software has proven to enhance revenue by 33% and even increase customer retention by 25%. It saves almost two hours each day within the admin time. Handling a bunch of processes might be tough for you at the same time, and more time-consuming. Using the software you’ll be able to save time and also like money and increase the customer satisfaction level. Build your brand, attract new customers & keep existing ones loyal.

Here are a few features of Gym Management Software that can lead your business towards success.

24X7 Gym Access Control

Integrating the 24X7 Gym access control ups the user experience and aids in gym member retention. Boost your gym’s revenue without adding more staff and overhead costs. It’s a secure and automatic solution that blends the tracking system and thus the door access hardware.

Manage your gym even once you are not available within the gym and save time and energy with this gym management software cost-effectively. Be a tough competitor and provide a more satisfying user experience.

Integrated Billing

Mostly gym management software follows the concept of integrated billing. With which, the management becomes very seamless, and it doesn’t allow you to stress about any administrative stuff.

This system can automatically manage inventory variations. Moreover, it’s often combined with several accounting systems to abolish the double-entry of knowledge.

The cloud-driven approach can easily support the bills and services on a recurring basis with additional operations. Even it offers discounts, refunds, one-off transactions, renewals, and free trials. This billing system can handle the income more effectively as contrasted to non-automated counterparts. Also, the full process reduces the number of errors, gathering costs and quotes, and then forming invoices.

Reporting

Study the performance of your fitness center with hassle-free analytic service and reporting that the gym management system offers. You’ll be able to check every single detail of the payments done by the purchasers (payment date, membership, and thus the payment gateway). It assists in tracking the commissionable sales of your staff.

In the reporting area of payments, expenses, payment dues, customer attendance, and memberships, etc. you’ll be able to send notifications to the members if they need pending payments and details about their recurring payments.

Point of Sale (POS)

Sell your gym products in bulk with gym management’s POS system. Maintain the import and export of information and enable or disable the features per your customer’s requirements.

Track your inventory, staff members, and sales with the customizable gym management software. The POS allows you to integrate the payment processing to sign a relief from the burden of handling the manager and accounts.

Focus on retention

Lastly, to some extent that has been revisited numerous times in our previous posts, but a retention focus should be at the forefront of your mind when running your club – especially after you are looking to cut back your costs. In general, it’s considered that acquiring a greenhorn customer costs 8 times over what it does to retain an existing one.

Restructuring your website? 301 Redirects can save the day

Everyone is familiar with status code 404- Not Found. You do not want visitors to your website to encounter this error. In case you are upgrading your website to a new URL, you can forward the visits to the new location through the server, using a 301 redirect. 301 redirects come in handy in case you are upgrading, redesigning, or moving your website. It is not that these redirects are complex to implement, still many website owners and developers simply forget about them. In the process, this causes a serious hit to SEO efforts and can completely wipe away ranking in search.

To avoid something like this to happen, make sure it is incorporated into the to-do list for each project plan. Creating and managing 301 redirects is like brushing your teeth, simple but very important. It should be a core part of website design and development.

Time and again, we find frustrated website owners and bloggers reaching out on social media in case of failure. They have been on the receiving end due to a lack of 301 redirects which should have been done while updating or redesigning the websites and blogs.

So developers and SEO experts need to educate themselves on the importance of 301 redirects, which are really easy to implement actually.

Let’s do a quick recap on what 301 redirects are and few ways to go about it.

What is a 301 Redirect?

Simply put, a 301 redirect takes the visitor from the old web page location to a new one when it has been moved permanently. A user may input the old URL. If 301 redirects are applied, the server will send back the status code 301 – Permanently Moved, and then redirect you to the new location. This happens in just a couple of seconds so that a user does not see the process behind it. You will simply find yourself on the content you were looking for, but if you will look closely, the URL has changed automatically to the new one.

Other than redirecting the server, 301 redirects are also linked with the SEO of the post/page. Search engines like Google or Bing can be redirected to the new destination to access prior SEO visibility. This way ranking of the page is not affected and you can still reap the benefits of organic traffic.

When to Use a 301 Redirect

  1. You’ve changed a URL and you want your traffic and SEO history, from the old URL rerouted to the new URL.
  2. You’re merging two websites and want to make sure that links to outdated URLs are redirected to the correct pages.
  3. There are multiple URLs to access your web page and you want all of them to land on a single destination. You can choose one of them as a canonical/preferred URL and apply 301 redirects on others to land at the same destination.

Setting Up 301 Redirects

You have a lot of options as to how you want to proceed with setting up 301 redirects. Some are high-end and more suitable for developers, while others are more user-friendly can be easily implemented by the end-users. We will discuss three methods here to use and recommend:

  1. .htaccess file for Apache

The most followed procedure for websites that are hosted on servers running Apache, is to edit your site’s .htaccess file. You can locate this file in your site’s root folder.

Here are some snippets of code for adding common types of 301 redirect via .htaccess file:

  • When you are just “moving” a site to a new domain. Place this on the OLD site:

  • When redirecting a single page:

  1. Redirection Plugin for WordPress

Are you using WordPress? Make use of the free Redirection plugin to set up 301 redirects right from within your dashboard. This plugin is very intuitive and even website owners or bloggers can use it easily. This is how it would look like:

  1. WP Engine Dashboard

It is very easy with WP Engine hosting too. 301 redirects are linked right within your WP Engine dashboard. Again this whole process becomes very innate and every regular joe can venture into their account easily and go about adding the necessary 301 redirects. It is sufficient to go through the quick tutorial about the 301 processes to get you started.

Final Thoughts

We have discussed the usability of 301 redirects in terms of SEO history and PageRank. You just need to keep a few points in mind while redirecting. Firstly, do not redirect to a page with a different intent than the original one. For example, it may infuriate a user who wanted to access your home page but lands on the blog of your website after the redirect. Also, it is better to create a redirect first before migrating your website content so your site doesn’t lose traffic and SEO ranking in the process.

If you are in the planning stage of your project, just incorporate them into your to-do list. You just need to take the time to create and load them anytime you delete content, move content, or restructure your website.

Things to consider before hiring a Website Development Company

Once you decide to get a website for your business, then comes the daunting task of selecting the right web development company. You are spoilt for choices as there are many companies with a variety of offers in the market. There are a few things you can do to ensure that you are picking the right one. Basically, when starting the search you should be looking for what platforms they work on and the areas that they have experience in. It is best to request to see their previous work so that you can get a feel for their style and if it will work for you. Let’s discuss these points in detail now.

Platforms

It is best to hire a company with technically sound developers. Always make it clear with your preferred choice of platform(s). If you are looking for someone to work on the iOS platform, then you should verify that they have hands-on experience on that platform. Think it through if your requirement is for a singular platform or you need to run it on multiple platforms, such as Android and Windows. Having an expert who can create your desired software and have it working over numerous platforms is a great benefit to you and can save you money over time.

Responsive Design

It is necessary to have a responsive website. Every capable web development company if true to its salt will offer to make you one. You should not settle for less. Gone are the days when people turned to desktops for browsing. Most of the online shopping and viewing is being done on mobile phones, tablets, and other devices. It becomes critical that all of your sites have been looked at by the experts in application development and thoroughly tested. A responsive website means more conversion rates and better business.

Experience and Projects

Every web development company will have some level of experience. What you need to concern yourself with is the relevant experience. Ask them the following questions to get an idea about how they would be handling your project and what type of work to expect: 

  •  Experience of their employees
  •  Platforms worked on
  •  Previous projects

Also, ask them to give a walkthrough for some of the previous projects that they have worked on. This will help both parties to better understand each other’s point of view.

Customer Support

You will be in constant need to be in contact with the company during and sometimes after the project too. Inquire about the SPOC and type of customer support the company offers. More responsive and friendly support creates a positive customer experience. Get the list of after-sales services offered.

Final Thoughts

Once you finalize the company you want to hire for your website or software creation, be open to their suggestions too. Cash upon their experience and utilize the expertise they have gained through being in the market. They can guide you with best-regarding market trends. Gain an edge over your competitors and boost your business by using the additional related services being provided like digital marketing.