IT organisations' annual expenditure on testing will hit €100 billion (£81 billion) in the next four years, according to a report.
Software analysts Pierre Audoin Consultants called it “one of the fastest growing areas of the IT market”, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 5.2 percent over the period and outstripping growth in overall IT spending. This year spending on testing is expected to reach €79 billion (£65 billion).
There were major changes taking place in delivery models, tools available and skills requirements, PAC said, as the sector matures. Nick Mayes, senior analyst at the company, said businesses were increasingly looking to outsource testing in order to cut costs, and to access skills and software, as well as “to support their increasingly complex technology landscapes".
With 100,000 professional testers worldwide, the sector is also one of the fastest growing recruitment areas in IT, PAC found. Key growth areas include SAP and Oracle testing, Agile testing, managed testing services, application security and the cloud.
The importance of testing has often been overlooked, the analyst house said. Additionally, the task was left to developers during the course of a project, meaning the costs were often buried within the development budget, and rigour was overlooked.
But PAC said the renewed pressure on IT to help cost cutting was pushing testing up the priority list, as well as a “great appreciation” of the effects of insufficient testing.
Rudolf van Megen, chief executive at testing and quality assessment firm SQS, said testing was “essential if you want to avoid expensive surprises when systems go into live operation”.
“This is particularly important where an external supplier is involved; software can be very complex and independent testing is one of the best ways of establishing confidence that the system will behave in the way that you're expecting it to.”
Businesses were realising that testing “is now a necessity rather than an insurance policy”, added David Hill, VP at measurement and testing firm Spirent.
But testing applications was only a part of the picture, he said. “There are many other things that can go wrong even if you have a robust application, and it is essential to test the infrastructure and how a particular application will perform in the presence of a range of variables.”
Applications often needed to be ready, he said, to serve “any combination of multiple users across a range of access technologies including broadband business connection, home ADSL, GSM, and WiFi, each with their own protocols, speeds and typical user behaviour profiles”.