Like many other technology trends, the new SaaS (Software-as-a-service) technology has also come into existence officially in the year 1999. Salesforce launched a CRM solution as the first SaaS-based solution.
In the earliest days, it was assumed that the subscription-based software platform will not be viable for businesses but soon, SaaS has left human existence shell-shocked. The SaaS model is still on fire, and will only evolve in the future.
“It is predicted that the worth of the service-based cloud application industry will be $143.7 billion by 2022 – Gartner.”
A decade ago, very limited businesses were using cloud technologies. In 2008, only 10-12% of the businesses were using cloud-based applications. But today, the story is completely different.
A recent tech poll by IDG found that most of the businesses have increased their IT spending in 2019. And most of the spending goes towards cloud computing applications.
Let’s explore how SaaS is taking over the cloud market.
The Rise of SaaS (Software-as-a-service) businessesEven though the SaaS model existed for decades, it gained immense popularity in the 90s. As reported by Crunchbase, there are over 15,000 SaaS companies across the world, as of June 2020 and they are experiencing astronomical growth.
- For example, Salesforce grew from $161 billion in 2020 to $251 billion in September 2021.
- Shopify grew from $52.1 billion to $185 billion in just 20 months. That’s over 225% growth.
- Penetration of the internet – In 1995, less than 1% of the population across the world had internet access. And today, more than 60% of the world population has internet access. The widespread internet availability has made it easier for companies to leverage SaaS solutions.
- Startup culture – There is a notable surge in the number of startups and online businesses globally. As these companies don’t have sufficient funds for high-tech infrastructure, they prefer the SaaS model over high technology costs.
- COVID-19 pandemic – While most of the companies had been embracing flexible and remote working during the pandemic. As work-from-home has become the norm, employees expect round-the-clock access to data and applications. This, in turn, has compelled businesses to switch to SaaS applications.
Will the SaaS applications grow after the COVID-19 pandemic?In 2020, the world has confronted the biggest health and economic challenges as the COVID-19 virus started spreading across the globe. Most of the employees started working from home and the SaaS applications started growing rapidly after 2020. But will the SaaS landscape continue to grow after the COVID-19 effect? The answer is a big “YES”. The world had already moved into a remote mindset. And SaaS companies will continue to see growth as they function without any dependencies on people and infrastructure. This ensures that SaaS solutions will be at the forefront of remote work and efficiency.
What’s the need for SaaS testing?All the benefits and ease of SaaS applications are like a double-edged sword. The development and testing team is always accountable for the proper functioning of SaaS applications. While on-premise software is deployed once a year, SaaS applications are deployed almost every week, and also, require continuous software maintenance. Testing of SaaS applications comes with a unique set of challenges. So, the early you start with SaaS testing, the better.
Scope of SaaS testing at different stages of development and implementation
|Stage||Scope of Testing|
The before-release concern
|The after-release concern|
|Before- and after-release concerns|
What is SaaS?Put simply, it is a licensing model to provide the application services to customers on a subscription basis. The third-party vendor takes complete responsibility for the development, maintenance, feature upgrades, and maintenance. The software is located on the cloud instead of in-house servers and is usually accessed over the internet. The data can be stored in the cloud, locally, or a combination of both.
What is SaaS Testing?Once the SaaS application is developed, the testing phase comes into play where the testing cycle is decided based on type and scope of software. The testing and validation activities are conducted to ensure the quality of the software. Some of the common testing activities include scalability, security, reliability, performance, user experience, data integration, etc. Some well-known examples of SaaS applications include Google G-Suite, Microsoft 365 suite, Dropbox, Amazon web services, Salesforce, Adobe Create Suite, Zendesk. The most common reason for using SaaS applications is that it is an “on-demand and pay per use service”. Still wondering why SaaS testing is important. Check out more reasons you should opt for testing SaaS applications.
Shared database reliabilityThe user experience is tied closely with the environment of the organization with on-premise software. With SaaS applications, the users can have a best-in-class experience. The testing activities recreate maximum user scenarios with stress testing while ensuring database reliability.
Validate the application scalabilityTesting does not only validate the reliability of the existing database but also helps in determining the ability of the platform to scale further.
Validate the accessibilityAll you need to access the SaaS application is an internet connection and a browser. The application should be tested for a wide range of devices and browsers.
Testing of business workflowsSaaS applications should be tested for optimum management of business workflows and related functionalities. The proper understanding of configurable and non-configurable aspects helps in achieving the best outcomes for the application.
SaaS Testing StrategiesThe testing of SaaS applications revolves around networks, apps, and the infrastructure. Below are the key SaaS testing strategies:
Functional testingIt verifies the application against the expected environment. The tests are conducted in the target environment, considering the needs of the end-user. Some of the tests under functional testing include browser compatibility to check the performance of the app on different browsers, reliability to find the weaknesses of the application, and automated functional tests.
Performance testingThe performance of every module of the SaaS application is tested thoroughly alongside the workflow. In addition to the application performance, the bandwidth performance is also tested. The quality assurance team can check for load, scalability, and stress tests to evaluate the application performance.
Compatibility testingThis type of SaaS testing includes the performance of the application in context to browser, mobile devices, operating systems, hardware versions, and alike. The compatibility of the application is tested with all the possible combinations.
Infrastructure safety testingThis testing checks the safety of the infrastructure. It checks for the network security where the SaaS application is deployed, reviews the security threat scenarios, access privileges for different roles, compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), login security errors, and warnings from unreliable sources.
API integration testingThe SaaS applications work on multiple scenarios as it extensively uses APIs for using specific functionalities. Therefore, it is important to test the interface of all APIs for usability, safety, functionality, performance, and accuracy of the documentation.
Maintenance testingThe QA team is responsible for the maintenance of SaaS applications and ensuring the correct performance of the application. Some of the common fields to be checked under this type of SaaS testing include application, service, database, operating systems, application servers, warnings and alerts, functionality, and performance errors.
Regression testingThis testing is comparatively time-consuming and complex. Regression testing validates the usability, performance, functional, security, and compatibility factors that may be influenced by changes made in software. This SaaS testing is conducted after all the activities of software updates, migration, and bug fixes to ensure the stable performance of the SaaS solution.
Backup and recovery testingThis type of testing checks for common issues like software or server crash, loss of connection, software migration issues, software updates, or customization. Ideally, backup and recovery testing should be conducted before and after the release of the software.
Automation Opportunities in SaaS testingNo matter what kind of application is being tested, it is always important to understand the business goals, what the platform is all about, the customers served by the business, and so on. But with so much competition and rising demand for SaaS applications, it is time to add capabilities to the platform rather than just staying minimal. Since SaaS testing needs to be conducted in short release cycles, it is vital to apply automated testing to reduce the time taken on monotonous tasks. The test automation can be applied to different strategies of SaaS testing. For example, test automation can help security testing in repeating the benchmark to ensure accurate performance results.
What are the best SaaS testing tools?The speed of launch, and customization matters the most in the lifecycle of SaaS applications. For the same reason, test automation is very crucial. Besides automation testing, various tools can be used to simplify, optimize, and speed up the testing process.
PractiTestThis tool provides an end-to-end testing solution. It also allows users to control the overall development and testing processes.
qTestIt is a cloud-based testing tool for scalable test management solutions.
QMetryThis tool links the requirements of the project to the test cases and defects. It helps in an end-to-end coverage of the progress of the project along with traceability.
JMeter, Gatling, and TsunThese are some easy-to-use tools to perform load testing and measure performance. JMeter provides a variety of options to save actions and related requests, simulates the high system load to determine the maximum number of users supported by the website at a time, and visualizes the performance reports.
Chrome DevToolThis tool is used for user interface testing and debugging websites. It can help you edit pages, diagnose problems quickly.
TunnelBearIn some scenarios, VPN services need to be used to evaluate the performance of the application in a different country. To avoid this limitation, TunnelBear allows users to connect to local VPNs in 20 countries while connecting up to five devices.
Rest APITesting of APIs is extremely important to achieve the success of SaaS solutions. This tool helps in testing the REST APIs and related services by sending the HTTP requests.
BurpIt is one of the popular tools for penetration testing because of its flexibility and ways to combine manual and automated analysis techniques to conduct security testing.
OWASP ZapIt is a SaaS testing tool to find all the possible vulnerabilities in applications.
What are the SaaS application testing challenges?The testing challenges may be different for various types of SaaS applications, below are some common challenges experienced during SaaS application testing:
- Less time to check the validity and security of applications due to frequent upgrades and releases to be updated in a short time.
- Validation of the association of the user interface of the application with back-end components.
- Difficult to take care of privacy concerns due to dynamic user behavior.
- Challenging to identify the most accessed areas and test them with a large number of users in different locations.
- Difficult to manage the integrity and privacy of test data at the time of migration and integration of SaaS applications.
- Validation of licensing factors including the number of users and functionality whenever a new release is made.