The newly released third annual HP/Capgemini World Quality Report shows that ensuring the security of Internet-based applications is more critically important than ever. Global trends driving this initiative include emerging markets deploying a significant portion of their IT services via Internet-based applications to the cloud, and the continued growth of mobility technologies enabling the ubiquitous smartphone and tablet devices.

There are several key differentiating factors between last year’s business environment and this year’s climate that application developers need to keep in mind. Murat Aksu, global head of HP Software Alliance at Capgemini, said, “Last year the financial crisis was equally and negatively affecting all industries, regions and countries. Everyone was in the same boat. In this year’s report, we see uneven and patchy growth globally that is actually driving the path of innovation, priorities and future spending of IT in general.”

According to the report, as economic conditions have improved somewhat worldwide, IT spending across all industry verticals is on the uptick, but it’s no longer “business as usual.” Companies have reevaluated their IT portfolios, and are aggressively modernizing and globalizing their IT operations to increase efficiency. These efforts require significant initial investment, which developers will be an integral part of. As Aksu said, “Business leaders see application quality as the strategic cornerstone of their competitive economy.”

Of the organizations surveyed in the report, 85% recognize this need and 42% plan to increase their budget allocation for application quality assurance and testing. “We see that in the Western Hemisphere and EMEA [Europe, the Middle East and Africa], excluding Eastern Europe, economies are not doing that well,” Aksu said.

“As a result, the IT investment is smaller, as is the investment in cloud computing and security testing, compared to the rest of the world.”

According to Aksu, this is in stark contrast to China, Asia in general, Brazil, Eastern Europe and Australia. These areas are making significant investments in cloud computing, SaaS and security testing.

Another huge game-changer is that China is overtaking India to become the leading location for test outsourcing for manufacturing and utilities. Aksu said that is due to its significant investments in sectors like utilities such as smart technologies, smart grids and smart energies. He said that this change is also due in part to labor rates for software developers and QA engineers increasing in India as the country’s middle class has grown to 150,000,000.

Not to take away from India, Aksu also pointed out the tremendous job China has done in investing and growing its infrastructure, building a cloud platform that can be used by both government agencies and the private sector to make it attractive for corporate outsourcing. As an example, he said it’s not unusual for Chinese development officials to give companies free office space.

Aksu said that with the emergence of the cloud, development teams need to take a “cradle-to-cradle” approach to application development. They need to be aware of the complexities of the new technologies, the cost of maintenance, and the overall cost of ownership of the applications they develop in-house.

This report is a collaborative effort between the Capgemini Group and HP. Findings from the 2011 global survey were completed online by more than 1,200 CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, IT directors and managers, and quality assurance directors and managers. The report’s goal is to analyze the state of application quality and testing practices across various industries and geographies. It looks at current trends in software quality and emerging trends.

Key Findings
•    Most companies are coming out of the recession with plans to modernize their IT landscapes instead of continuing to spend a large portion of their IT resources maintaining obsolete and redundant systems.
•    Technology innovation as well as geographical and sector priorities are driving future spending. New technologies and initiatives are increasing the workload for QA teams. Budgets are not growing to support the added pressure. Over half (58%) of surveyed companies say that their testing budgets have stayed the same or decreased, or there is no dedicated budget whatsoever, while only 5% report significantly increased budgets. These occurred predominantly in emerging markets such as China (83%) and Brazil (56%).
•    Strong budget increases occurred in specific sectors such as smart energy, healthcare and mobile technologies.
•    Emerging markets (China and Brazil) are investing more in quality and cloud technology, and large organizations are deploying private clouds as part of their IT revamping. Smaller companies are using public cloud infrastructures and services since they save them from having to build large data centers, or host and maintain their IT systems.
•    Over a third of Chinese companies (37%) plan to migrate between 11% and 25% of their applications to the cloud in the next year, and a further 40% are making arrangements to do so.
•    QA teams still struggle with estimating QA efforts; only 22% use proven industry estimation standards. Dynamic test automation is still generally a work in progress, with the majority of companies executing up to 50% of their tests without any automation.
•    China and Eastern Europe are gaining ground on India for outsourcing leadership in the manufacturing, energy and utilities sectors.
•    Companies are no longer looking to outsource only manual activities like test execution. There is an increased demand for resources with well-rounded or specialized skill sets in testing strategy, requirements definition, functional automation, performance testing, user acceptance testing, and security testing.

Results in a nutshell
The 2011-2012 Capgemini/HP World Quality Report includes a profile of the state of IT relevant to quality in eight specific industries:
•    Consumer Products, Retail and Distribution
•    Energy and Utilities
•    Financial Services
•    High-Tech
•    Healthcare and Life Sciences
•    Manufacturing
•    Public Sector
•    Telecommunications, Media and Entertainment

It also provides IT trends and quality practices from a regional perspective for these areas:
•    Australia
•    Brazil
•    China
•    France
•    Germany
•    The Netherlands
•    The Nordic Region
•    North America
•    The United Kingdom