In 2010, the world slowly began to recover from a wearying recession, IT budgets showed signs of easing, and companies began reinvesting in upgrading infrastructure and applications. Delivering on software quality once more became a priority. Moving into 2011, companies need to be agile and adapt quickly to address changing market conditions. They must perform with minimal downtime, and provide security and data integrity.

The HP/Capgemini 2010-2011 World Quality Report put emerging software quality challenges under the microscope. It also forecasted new directions in application delivery, such as using agile methodologies and testing cloud-based applications, and it explored the effects that these approaches are having on QA practices and techniques.

The report is a collaborative effort between Capgemini Group and HP Software. The data is taken from a 2010 global survey of 30,000 chief experience officers, IT directors, quality assurance managers, and engineers. According to its introduction, it examines the state of application quality and testing practices, as well as the future of testing across different industries and locations.

Respondents were asked to evaluate the level of investment in application life-cycle management (ALM) solutions in their organizations, rate their return on investment, answer questions about their testing practices, and assess the general levels of application complexity. The focus this year was specifically on the adoption of agile delivery and testing methods, as well as application virtualization.

Charlie Li, a vice president at Capgemini, said, “Many companies have re-evaluated their investment in IT. Many have permanently adopted the policy of ‘Do more for less.’ We see an increase in outsourcing for development, testing and data centers, and an increased demand for pay-per-use or pay-by-the-drink cost models.”

Mobile and Web-based applications are in the spotlight going into 2011, according to Li. “Over the last couple of years, even in the economic downturn, we saw an increase of IT spend in new application areas. Companies continue to spend money on new products and on differentiation,” he said.

“We also see a large increase in spending for mobile applications. Large IT firms like Google and Apple; mobile operators/manufacturers like Nokia, Telefonica and AT&T; and even consumer product companies have all invested in mobile apps for end users as well as for internal productivity.”

Testing in 2011 will be focused in two new areas: cloud-based apps and mobile apps.