Poor testing key to outsourcing failure

Testing carried out during out-sourcing projects is alarmingly underfunded
and rarely thoroughly conducted, according to research by testing company IS
Integration and the National Outsourcing Association.

The study, which surveyed professionals from the outsourcing industry, found
that although 93% of respondents considered it a priority, almost 80% said that
testing was not conducted adequately. Some 62% of outsourcing professionals also
believed that insufficient financial backing was given to testing.

Adam Ripley, MD of IS Integration, said that the results confirmed what many
in outsourcing had ‘suspected for a long time’ – that the ‘lack of thoroughness’
in testing could be key to the reason why there are ‘so many failures’ in
outsourcing projects.

However, Roger Alderson, spokesman for EDS, the IT company that implemented
the troubled £456m Child Support Agency computer system, dismissed the findings.

‘While a thorough and rigorous testing process is essential, it is simply one
element to be considered to ensure the success of a project’, he said.

The research cited several recent IT outsourcing examples including the CSA.
It said that it had ‘suffered from IT problems and severe setbacks due to
inadequate testing’.

Richard Mash, senior test manager at Capgemini, said that that projects that
didn’t test early ‘missed a trick’. He added that the financial backing for
testing was not always available. ‘Some companies are aware of the need to
finance testing but there are some that let testing sit at the end of the

Martin Whiteley, MD of Capita Consulting, which sources two-thirds of its
work from the public sector, said that due to the scrutiny applied by the
government over large Whitehall deals, testing was now more crucial than ever

‘The Treasury is expecting a return and is taking a critical look at how much
is being spent on consultants. Testing is vital and you have to make sure you
have the appropriate rigour around IT systems,’ he added.

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