Chris Rolls, CEO of The Testing Consultancy explains how they help companies test and optimize software for release to market.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Welcome back to the show Texas Business Radio. Texasbusinessradio.com is the website. 844-814-8144 is our 24-hour call-in line. Get your calls in, get your questions in.
We’re talking about IT, we’re talking about software, and we have a very interesting segment here talking about how do big companies test the software that they write, because it’s fine to make it, but it is very, very hard to test it. It’s expensive to test it, and if you can automate that, you’re going to increase your efficiency, lower your costs, all kinds of things.
I’m your host Matt Register, Jay Curry is over in the Co-Host chair. What do you think, Jay?
Jay Curry: Got to feel the same way. Very complicated process of testing software, very sophisticated. You find a niche, the old story, you find a good niche, you fill it, you fill it well to be a heck of a business. That’s what we’ve got with Chris. It’s really interesting.
Matt Register: Chris Rolls, CEO of The Testing Consultancy. Is a New Zealand company, has a presence here in the United States, and is taking over the software-testing market. Chris, welcome to the show.
Chris Rolls: Hey, thanks for having me.
Matt Register: Talk to me about The Testing Consultancy. What do you do?
Chris Rolls: Right, so we’re a software-testing consultancy, we’re a global company, we have offices in New Zealand, in Singapore, in the Philippines, and three office here in the US. Houston, Cincinnati, and New York, Jersey City.
What we do is we test software. We do functional testing, we do test automation, performance testing, security testing, very important these days, test strategy and consulting.
That’s the services we provide, but what we really try and help companies do is release quality software while reducing their costs, reducing their risks, and decreasing their time to market.
Matt Register: Who do you do this to? Because it has to be a fairly sizeable company to be able to have software on the scale that you guys need to be able to efficiently do this, right?
Chris Rolls: That’s right. We typically work for enterprise-level companies, so large oil and gas companies, banks, financial services. We really span across industries, we’ve got manufacturers, auto manufacturers, retail, but they do have to be an enterprise-level company.
These are companies who are developing their own software internally, or buying off-the-shelf software and customizing it, configuring it, integrating it.
We do all of that, but really focused on software testing, making sure that the software is of quality, and helping them with innovative ways to do software testing.
Matt Register: Interesting. We were talking during the break, and tell me if I understand this correctly. Right? Bottom line is software is moving to the Cloud, and what the Cloud allows you to do a lot of things.
One of them is to constantly improve, right? Some of the larger … You know, the Facebooks, and Googles, and stuff, are constantly updating, like many times a day, updating.
Manual testing of the software is problematic. Correct? Give me … Walk me through this.
Chris Rolls: Yeah, that’s right. There’s a couple of trends that are important. The first trend is like you mentioned, moving to the Cloud, and more broadly, releasing more often.
Software used to be like construction, right? You would have a long-phased approach, you would release software after maybe a year, or two years, and it was a very long process. Nowadays, the Facebooks, the Googles, the Amazons, they’re releasing hundreds of thousands of times a day.
The other thing that’s important here is that almost every industry is being disrupted by technology companies, right? The largest companies in the world are technology companies. Amazon’s disrupting retail, Über is disrupting the transportation industry, every industry is being disrupted.
My view is not just that technology companies are technology companies, but that almost every large organization needs to shift to be a technology company, which means-
Matt Register: No doubt about that, right? I mean, they’re going to have to get into that business to be able to compete and stay relevant, right?
Chris Rolls: Exactly right, yeah. That means taking modern processes and techniques, and applying them, just like Googles, and the Facebooks are doing; so they shift to what we call DevOps.
Almost all enterprise companies are doing it these days, and testing is the biggest bottleneck, because like you said, people are testing everything manually. We have hundreds of people in some of these organizations, sitting there, hammering away at a keyboard, pretending to be a user.
We need to automate that. Right? Because the manual process is ineffective, defects or bugs slip through, it’s inefficient, it costs too much, and it takes too long, which is really the killer.
Jay Curry: Sure.
Chris Rolls: One of the key things that we do is we take modern tools, which can allow us to automate our software testing, we design these tests, and then we can execute them again, and again, and again. So if you’re releasing hundreds of times in a year, you’re not having to manually spend all this effort to make sure it works.
Matt Register: Got it, so you spend … You have a one-time spend on developing the software, to test your software, right? To develop the program to test your software, and then running it then becomes pretty quick and efficient, right? So every time, or every other time you make a significant release you’re not sitting there wondering, “Is this going to affect the … going to break the system?” Right?
Chris Rolls: Exactly right. It’s almost like insurance, it’s risk-mitigation. No one wants to release software, particularly when it’s enterprise-critical, and it breaks. We’ve all had the experience, we’ve bought an app, it hasn’t worked, and we’ve said we’re never going to go back to that company again.
The same thing as if your bank released software, which messed up your funds in your bank. You would go away.
Matt Register: Yeah, that’s not funny at all. It’s got to be right. Right?
Chris Rolls: Exactly. Yeah.
Jay Curry: This is a little bit like the onion. You do it the first time, you create a level.
Chris Rolls: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jay Curry: In my background in IT, what we found was if we had three new transaction types, we’d go test those three, but we don’t go back and test … We didn’t screw up the ones we had before. This makes sure that that happens every time.
You have a core, and then you had three transaction types, you created another level, and you just keep going, but you’re always going back and testing the entire system, not just the changes you made.
Chris Rolls: Exactly.
Jay Curry: Huge difference.
Chris Rolls: It’s a safety net, and with these critical components of software, often people are going back; but because it’s manual it’s costing them a lot of money.
To give you an example of the kind of savings companies typically see with this software testing. They can get up to a 90% reduction in the time it takes to test software-
Matt Register: Yeah.
Chris Rolls: And, always difficult to put a number on it, but a 50% cost reduction, as well.
Jay Curry: Okay.
Matt Register: Interesting stuff. Now, just curious, when do your customers call you? They call you after they screw this up? Or do they call you proactively?
Chris Rolls: The kind of companies that we work for, yes, people do call us when they’ve stuffed something up, or when one of their existing vendors isn’t doing a great job. But, we are looking for enterprise-level customers who are … who … Quality is important to them, who are looking to make a shift to focusing on technology, and have a burning need to do so.
Jay Curry: So if they have a huge staff that are doing nothing but testing because they’re into this, the potential you have to save them money is huge.
Chris Rolls: Exactly right. We’re a challenger brand here in the US. We’re coming in … if someone’s charging you five million dollars for software testing, we can do it for two. Whatever the number is, we can reduce that cost. We don’t have the incentive to keep and maintain a huge team for you if it’s inefficient.
Matt Register: No, it makes sense. What’s the easiest way for somebody to learn more about this, should they want to learn more?
Chris Rolls: Best way is to jump on to our website, testingconsultancy.com.
Matt Register: Testingconsultancy.com. We’re going to have that linked directly from texasbusinessradio.com, as well, if you’re driving and can’t take notes.
Chris Rolls, CEO and Executive Director of The Testing Consultancy, here in the United States. New Zealand company, all over the world, here in the United States. Multiple locations, but The Testing Consultancy is the name of it, testingconsultancy.com is the website.
Chris Rolls, thank you very much for joining us, sir.
Chris Rolls: Thank you very much.
Matt Register: Interesting stuff. We’re going to be back right on the other side of the break with a whole lot more Texas Business Radio, don’t go anywhere. We’ll be right back.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.