Performance engineering and testing important in overall risk management

Johannesburg, 10 Sep 2021
Read time 2min 40sec
Caswell Mkontho , Head of Testing, Woolworths.
Caswell Mkontho , Head of Testing, Woolworths.

While many organisations are reluctant to invest heavily in performance engineering and testing, both are crucial components of overall business risk management and deliver measurable ROI.

This is according to speakers participating in an iOCO webinar on Black Friday & high volume readiness.

Leela Putten, IT Specialist Consultant at iOCO, said: “Performance matters as part of proactive measures to manage and mitigate business risks such as reputational, legal and commercial risk. For instance, 40% of online shoppers tend to abandon the transaction and 80% never return if a page takes too long to load – which is as little as three seconds. Even a one second delay can result in significant loss of revenue over time, as customers now expect their experiences to be continuous, customised and cross-channel.”

Putten said that in addition to needing to handle high volume events, applications and digital platforms must perform optimally in order to support scalability, availability, disaster planning and data analytics.

“Performance engineering is a practice that is everyone’s responsibility – from the time the project is initiated, to design, construct and build, all the way through to operations. We need to shift right and shift left to go from reactive to proactive and end to end performance engineering,” she said.

Performance testing is not a cheap exercise, but the price you’ll pay for not doing it could be tenfold.

Caswell Mkhonto, Woolworths.

In the past, performance teams tended to become involved after the fact, but through loss of revenue or reputational damage, organisations were now seeing the value of investing in performance engineering and testing, she said.

Caswell Mkhonto, IT Manager: Head of QA & Testing at Woolworths, said securing business buy-in and funding for optimal performance testing was still a challenge in many organisations. “Performance testing is not a cheap exercise, but the price you’ll pay for not doing it could be tenfold,” he said.

“At Woolworths, we see performance testing as something that has to happen throughout the year, with customer experience our primary driver. We see it as part of our culture. To improve our performance testing processes, after every major release or peak period, there is a feedback loop with regards to what we can improve.”

Twenty years ago, he said, performance testing was at the end of the value chain, just before applications went to production. "But you shouldn’t test to add performance to an application, you should design and build performance into the application from the beginning. Functional and non-functional requirements must include performance metrics, so developers develop with these performance requirements in mind.”

He said the right tools and partners were important to ensure effective performance testing: “iOCO has been one of our key partners in our Black Friday performance testing in recent years. I am confident that the testing we put through the systems ensures that they will not fall during peak periods.”

Putten added: “You also need the right test data and test environment to simulate the production experience effectively.”

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