An overhaul to the mobile device hardware and software development process is needed now
Mobile handset testing is deeply flawed and increasingly expensive.
Manufacturers of these products spend millions of dollars testing these products from the onset of product development through product delivery to market. Yet according to a new Accenture survey, 88 percent of respondents revealed that they do not do a good job of testing the handsets they manufacture.
Because of this situation, manufacturers are under mounting pressure to revamp their testing methods. And they should. The goal should be a systemic overhaul aimed at creating a new, cohesive and comprehensive testing strategy that will reduce product development costs, deliver expected quality levels faster, and defend brand reputations.
But this isn't going to be easy because of the multitude of complicated testing problems. For example, handset platforms are incorporating a new generation of applications, making a rapidly growing number of handsets no longer simply a talk and text device, but a complex, full-fledged entertainment, financial services and enterprise mobility center. Most manufacturers remain vulnerable to rising costs and expanding risks, because they lack an integrated, well thought through test strategy.
Fragmented approaches are the norm. In some cases they may use remote testing services; in others they offshore testing to service providers, only offering limited savings or geographic testing coverage.
They may use automated systems to handle test cases more productively. But they tend not to apply them in an integrated fashion. Not do they have the global product testing capabilities necessary, as global product launches draw near, to productively apply these solutions across geographies.
When they fail to meet service levels customers expect, they may miss crucial deadlines and allow market windows to close, another potentially fatal blow in markets that often revolve around seasonal product releases.
In the past, manufacturers may have had the luxury of introducing new mobile handsets region by region. Now they are expected to launch them worldwide—mandating a global launch strategy. Compounding the problems, manufacturers may not be able to identify performance failures until after the launch has occurred and the product hits the market. What does this mean for service providers? Their reputations are at stake as they roll out services expected to meet certain performance levels.
To overcome these hurdles, handset manufacturers should embrace a comprehensive new framework to address these issues in new ways. In a structured fashion, the framework should use remote testing, off-shoring, simulated networks and automation.
The framework's goal should be to transform a product test organization's structure, strategy, infrastructure and processes to benefit the client significantly on cost, quality and time. Using this framework will help a product manager execute more test cases faster and reduce the risks of leaving product defects unfixed.