Sunday, 25 June 2017

SQS checklist for glitch-free business mobile usage

SQS
Friday 31 August 12

SQS Software Quality Systems, the world's leading software quality specialist, has named the five most important criteria for the successful development and operation of mobile software and systems within a business environment. Sven Euteneuer, Senior Research Manager at SQS, comments: “With recent software glitches leading to international blackouts and new handsets not functioning as expected, software failures in the mobile industry have been hitting the headlines regularly for the past 18 months. These software glitches can ruin mobile device manufacturers’, operators’ and developers&rsquo…

SQS Software Quality Systems, the world's leading software quality specialist, has named the five most important criteria for the successful development and operation of mobile software and systems within a business environment.

Sven Euteneuer, Senior Research Manager at SQS, comments: “With recent software glitches leading to international blackouts and new handsets not functioning as expected, software failures in the mobile industry have been hitting the headlines regularly for the past 18 months. These software glitches can ruin mobile device manufacturers’, operators’ and developers’ reputations, cause inconvenience for consumers and rack up hefty costs for fixes.

With businesses now using mobile systems on a daily basis, from checking emails and organising diaries to internet browsing and virtual file sharing, companies must consider what testing criteria are required to ensure glitch-free usage of their mobile systems.”

Based on SQS’ 30+ years of experience within the software testing and quality assurance fields, the consultancy’s five recommendations below should be every company’s first step when considering how to improve the efficiency, productivity and security of their business mobiles:

1. Define requirements precisely for mobile systems

Compared to stationary computers, mobile systems bring with them a range of new requirements that companies need to take into account. Smartphones, for example, are generally not connected with the rest of the company via a secure network, but use GSM, UMTS or a public WLAN, depending on the location. In addition, there is often a range of different, some privately purchased, devices. Companies need to take these into account as part of their requirements analysis.

Business and Quality Assurance experts also need to work together to define requirements as this ensures that companies systematically and verifiably determine what properties any mobile software should have. In addition, the correct definition of requirements accelerates software development and testing.

2. Create a "Quality Fingerprint"

In principle, the quality criteria of mobile and traditional software are no different. The focus, however, shifts to functionality, security, performance, ease-of-use, reliability, portability and maintainability. These criteria need to be weighted differently for mobile solutions creating a different "Quality Fingerprint". Mobile software, for example, has to be as sparingly as possible on hardware resources, to extend the battery life.

The subject of security also needs to be taken even more seriously with mobile systems than with traditional IT, as mobile devices come with more interfaces. In terms of hardware, this may be WiFi, in terms of software for instance social media apps. Mobile systems permanently exchange data over the internet via these interfaces and each additional interface increases the security risk and is a potential gateway into the device, and thus into the company's IT.

3. A systematic approach to quality assurance

The basic principles of software quality assurance and software testing remain the same with mobile systems. Companies should therefore not reinvent the wheel and, under no circumstances, introduce separate quality assurance (QA) for mobile systems. What's more important is to make any existing QA more systematic, to ensure that the particularly short time-to-market can be achieved with mobile systems. In particular, the QA must ensure effective management of the many types of mobile software e.g. different operating systems such as iOS or Android, but also different device classes such as smartphones or tablet PCs.

4. Adapt the toolbox

The traditional methods of software development and QA continue to apply to mobile systems. However, with iOS, Android and the like, traditional tools are unsuitable so new testing tools need to be considered to test quality criteria such as security or efficiency, which were until recently not taken into account. One example of this is "fuzzing", which bombards the interfaces of mobile systems in a kind of stress test, with the aim of breaching them. In this way, "fuzzing" can detect any problems in the areas of security or robustness.

5. Choose flexible development methods

When developing and introducing mobile systems, flexible process models are essential, as mobile products change very quickly and frequently. Iterative and incremental developmental models are recommended, as they test the system requirements and their implementation much more frequently than sequential procedures. In the selected process model, the user should also be closely involved in the definition of requirements. Combined with early definition of requirements and a systematic approach to quality assurance, this substantially reduces the time to market.


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