Nearly half of large UK corporates do not undertake any form of software testing when implementing new applications or changing existing ones, leaving them vulnerable to bugs.
In research published today, market research firm Benchmark Research found that of 210 UK companies - more than half with an annual IT spend of over £1 million - only 51 per cent of them used testing procedures. Of those, 82 per cent still did all their testing manually, rather than using automated software tools.
Those respondents that used software testing allocated less than 10 per cent of IT budget to testing and only 22 per cent had any company policy in place on testing procedure
Use of software testing tools was expected to rise. In future respondents expected to test 60 per cent of their software installations.
The survey did not look at testing in the small and medium sized business market: "My hunch is that [SMEs] are not testing at all," said Guy Washer, managing director at Benchmark Research.
Testing software before, during and after implementation of new systems is important to irradiate bugs, particularly in customised software. But testing has become more important as companies invest in ecommerce systems - 24 per cent intended to rollout ecommerce systems in the next 12 months. Ecommerce applications need extensive testing for reliability, security and scaling, as well as coding glitches.
But it not just new systems that need to be tested the slightest alteration to existing systems, such as rewriting dates for the Year 2000 date change, also need to be tested.
"We are telling our customers that they must test their systems," said Graham Titterington, senior analyst, at analyst group Ovum, "It is highly likely that Y2K work will have caused other bugs."
Programs that are most likely to be at risk are those that rely on the dates to make calculations, these will include financial programs, like interest calculations, planning and maintenance programs.
The research was conducted on behalf of Mercury Interactive, which makes software testing tools. Mercury is expected to announce a suite of products next week, which will stress test ecommerce applications.
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