Offshore software services, especially offshore testing services, have been a very popular business all along. Benefits around cost savings, round the clock productivity have all been touted about. However times are changing. Testing services are at an interesting cross road where in some groups they have been merged with the core development services. This post is not for us to debate whether or not independent testing is needed. We strongly believe in the future and value of independent testing, but what we need to remember is the regular “run of the mill” providers are certainly endangered. They cannot continue to exist speaking of the basic benefits of offshore testing. A core differentiation is becoming inevitable. Ones that can prove this differentiation and act as an extended arm of the central product team have a much stronger case to thrive compared to the ones who merely work in an “execution mode”.
The market has self-corrected itself where several of these small players are no longer in existence or struggling to exist, whereas the business for the niche players is steady if not growing. In any industry a niche is always good to build and such a need is being increasingly seen in software testing currently. This could be a niche around a service type, a domain, resources with specific skill sets, testing labs that are highly sophisticated, access to unique set of resources such as the crowd etc. When an organization is busy with its core set of day to day activities, how can it look ahead and build a niche? Herein, regardless of the size of the organization it is important to have a separately functioning R&D team that can focus on building such an edge. It is important to set aside a small percentage of the core team size for this effort to ensure ongoing growth is funneled into the organization holistically rather than merely adding new clients for execution driven projects. Offshore software testing is definitely not a rosy (in some sense a no brainer easy) path to success, which may have earlier been the case. It currently needs a lot of careful planning, foresight and effective leadership to give an organization its niche, but once that is done, the remnant players are here to stay for a very long time.