Guide to QA as a Service: What it is, How it Works, Advantages

The modern technology company knows how essential quality assurance (QA) is to creating excellent products on time and within budget. Many companies have their own in-house QA team or outsource their QA testing to a third party, like a nearshore partner. But now there is a new option for companies who need QA; using QA as a Service. This article will explore QA as a service, compare it to traditional QA services and discuss its advantages and benefits. 

What is Quality Assurance?

What is QA as a Service?

QA as a service is also called QA managed services and is essentially QA with a managed service pricing structure. With a managed service, the pricing structure is different, and allows QA services to be delivered with a fixed and predictable outcome. In comparison, standard QA services involve hiring a team and paying them their rate. Many engineering services businesses charge based on capacity, the number of people who are working for a period of time. Every person has a billing rate, and if there are ten people for a month, then the client pays ten times the monthly rate. Managed services, or QA as a Service, by contrast is charged based on a fixed unit price, usually based on the number of test cases to be completed. It’s quite a different approach, and it scales perfectly with the needs of any organization. Since it is not about people, clients don’t “hire a team”. Instead, clients provide units of things to work on and providers deliver units of output.  It is a completely different construct from hiring traditional QA services.


QA as a Service vs. QA Services

Traditional QA testing is outsourced to a third party. Outsourcing is a widespread, somewhat modern business practice dating back to the railroad age. Large corporations started using third parties for services such as manufacturing (previously done in-house) to save money and resources. While the use of the term has evolved over the decades, the core idea remains the same. When companies use this model for their QA testing, they usually receive very specific services from a team of engineers that have expertise and experience in QA testing. This model is ideal for defined, smaller QA testing projects like developing automated tests, executing script maintenance, and performing unit and regression testing. 

The core difference between standard QA testing and QA as a Service is their pricing structure (Units tested vs people hired). The quality assurance work done generally remains the same. 

How Does QA Testing as a Service Work?

The main difference between QA testing and QA as a Service is not about the type of testing being performed, but simply how companies agree to pay for that testing. Company’s work with another company that provides QA a Service. The first company selects the number of test cases they want to run, and is charged a flat rate per test. This allows the first company to establish a fixed amount to spend on QA that will only fluctuate a small amount, if at all. It is necessary for companies to have a clear agreement on the core services provided and any reasonable boundaries. While this requires effort on the side of both parties, QA as a Service stands to highly benefit both parties. 

Uses of QA as a Service

QA as a service is used for similar reasons as QA services; to find and fix bugs in projects before they go to market. QA as a service is highly flexible. It can be used once, throughout a whole project, for testing a single prototype or even features of a huge program. Like a microscope, the level of detail performed by QA as a service can be adjusted to the exact needs of a specific project in the moment. While QA as a service can act similarly to traditional QA services, the QA as a Service model offers a great deal more flexibility and scalability. 

Benefits of QA as a Service

  1. Delivers high quality software products.

  2. Reduces overhead costs for companies.

  3. Predictable spending for QA testing. 

  4. Companies receive quality results without needing to manage a vendor.

  5. Repeatable results are accessible with QA as a Service.

  6. QA needs are fully scalable based on client needs. 

  7. Offers testing for a wide range of use cases including database applications, Big Data/ IoT, web-based applications and client-server/desktop applications. 

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