Companies setting up e-commerce sites need to invest more in testing software to avoid costly system breakdowns and outages, analysts warned last week.
Ovum published a report stressing the importance of software testing for e-commerce sites, following the recent outages at the busy e-commerce sites eBay and E-Trade (see PC Week, 6 July).
"It is no longer acceptable to use customers as unpaid testers (for e-commerce systems)," Ovum said.
As companies open their systems to customers on the Internet, Web applications increasingly become critical to businesses. Ovum said the need to test software that can handle these Web applications is higher than that required by traditional application architectures.
Graham Titterington, Ovum analyst and co-author of the study, said: "The use of the Web for conducting business transactions has brought a much higher level of business exposure to software failure than did traditional IT systems. This brings the need to apply extensive testing."
Poorly performing sites were irritating to users, he said. "The user's perception of a Web site is crucial to whether a user does business with an organisation," he explained. "There is little consumer loyalty to a Web site."
The report predicts market growth in e-commerce software of an average 30% a year. The market for such software is now worth $450 million (£287 million), including maintenance, training and tool support, a figure that Ovum predicted would rise to $2.3 billion (£1.5 billion) in 2004, maintaining its 30% growth rate.
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