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The customer magazine of SQS Software Quality Systems

Business and IT Challenges Revisited

30 YEARS OF
QUALITY

2 /2012
Cover Story / Quality with tradition: a survey
Companies & Markets / Quicker checkout for retail shops
People / IT milestones: Rudolf van Megen looks back

Editorial / 01

Quality 2/2012

FROM 1982
TO THE
PRESENT DAY
Remember CASE, and the hopes associated with tools of
computer-aided software engineering 30 years ago? The
English version of Wikipedia puts it like this: CASE is meant
to result in high-quality, defect-free, and maintainable software products. This hope of automatically error-free software has unfortunately not been fulfilled. Just like cars or
food, without systematic quality management and continuous quality assurance, IT just cant work. This insight led
Rudolf van Megen and Heinz Bons to found SQS in 1982, ushering in three decades of unbroken corporate growth.

Automated testing for Teamcenter


Improved efciency and cost effectiveness with the SQS test framework

Whether for integration, deployment or customisation Siemens PLM customers can


now benet fully from the SQS automation framework for Teamcenter:
Reliable and scalable test automation
Optimal testing coverage and shortened release cycles
Business-critical functionality ensured when patches and releases are applied

Today, in the year of its 30th anniversary, SQS is looking


to its next major stage of growth. The issue of software
quality has become the subject for wide-ranging, milliondollar deals and software testing now ranks at the top of the
agenda of leading business and IT analysts. In this issue of
Quality our cover story explores the role quality has played
since 1982 in companies and on the markets, and what
importance is attributed to it today.
Besides this years anniversary of SQS and the change in
management from Rudolf van Megen to myself, Quality also
has something new for you. Starting from this issue, well
be informing you in just three, clearly structured sections.
Each current Focus (starting from page 4) will be followed
by background information and reports on Companies &
Markets (starting from page 14), while the concluding section People will focus entirely on the personal views of
management.
I hope you enjoy reading it,

Large-scale tests around the clock possible through using Test Automation FaQtory
SQS is the rst pure-play testing services provider in the Siemens partnership programme.
Take advantage of our unique expertise.
SQS. The worlds leading specialist in software quality.
sqs.com

Diederik Vos
CEO of SQS Software Quality Systems AG

02 / Contents

Quality 2/2012

Contents 2/2012
Cover Story
04 THE ULTIMATE GOAL: INDUSTRIALISED QUALITY
Business challenges revisited

08 QUALITY WITH TRADITION

Looking Back / 03

Quality 2/2012

1982:

THE PC AS THE NEW


AMERICAN DREAM

A survey of traditional professions

04

13 NEWS

Companies & Markets


14 QUICKER CHECKOUT

Automated testing speeds sales for South African retailer

17 ITS IN THE MIX


14

Best practices for test data management

20 WHAT COUNTS WHEN USING MOBILE BUSINESS SYSTEMS


The five most important factors for success

23 THE FIGURE
24 NEWS / RECOMMENDED READING

People
26 RUDOLF VAN MEGEN LOOKS BACK

30 years of IT milestones

32 MY DUBLIN

26

Presented by Irish repatriate Stephen Magennis

37 READER SURVEY AND PUBLICATION DETAILS

In 1982, TIME magazine broke with a 55-year-old tradition


by electing the computer its Man of the Year. The first nonhuman prizewinner beat off other contenders such as Ronald
Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Israeli Nobel Prize winner
Menachem Begin. Writing in TIME magazine, which viewed
this first wave of industrialisation rather critically, American
journalist Roger Rosenblatt described this step as the revival
of the American dream: Only they got out of hand, you
see, he wrote in a historic review, until all the lovely forever greens and blues got squeezed in a corner full of national
parks and the sky choked black with factories. That isnt what
we intended, though. Machines were meant to open the territory, not close it down.

With the PC, the American (machine) dream could now be


revived, because it would open up new intellectual territory.
The most idealist nations invent most machines, said Rosenblatt, quoting the writer D. H. Lawrence. Just like the railways
opened up the new country for everyone, the PC would now
allow access for everyone to the brave new world: Computers
give you time for dreams. 30 years on, its now clear: some
dreams have not been fulfilled. While computerisation may
have served to speed up our work, it has not given us more
time or leisure. Against this, other dreams of which no one
dreamt thirty years ago have become reality, for example all
the benefits of the Internet.

If you discover a code of this type in this


magazine: simply scan it using a suitably
equipped smartphone to view additional
background information online.

The TIME article Man of the Year 1982:


http://www.time.com/time/magazine

Or simply scan this QR code with


your mobile phone:

04 / Cover Story

Quality 2/2012

Cover Story / 05

Quality 2/2012

Software quality: what initially started 30 years


ago as a task for IT specialists now dominates the
outsourcing sector.

In 1998, a university faculty in Germany highlighted the lack of awareness about quality in the
IT world. That year, a survey by Cologne Universitys chair of systems development reported that
72 per cent of companies did not keep to their
test plans and only 43 per cent had professional
testing tools. The Cologne researchers determined that the prime reason was top managements minimal interest in quality assurance
measures.

The more businesses rely on standard


ised software architectures and increas
ingly complex technologies, the more
important software testing becomes.
Although some individual IT companies may
have stayed the same, the IT environment as a
whole has changed significantly. Now, quality assurance is at the forefront of international
business and IT. For the past five years, leading
international industry analysts, such as Forrester and Gartner, have published regular reports
and recommendations for senior management
on software quality, and they are continually
monitoring the market for testing tools and services. Demand for these services has also risen
over the past few years. Furthermore, today analysts are responding to an ever growing number
of search requests and enquiries from customers
about software quality.
Evidently, the findings of Cologne University in
1998, revealing that management was unwilling
to consider software quality issues, no longer
apply. But what has changed in these 1015
years?

06 / Cover Story

Quality 2/2012

The more businesses rely on standardised


software architectures such as SOA (service-
oriented architectures) and increasingly complex technologies, the more important software
testing becomes. Trends such as cloud computing further complicate the IT sector. As a result,
software testing, particularly in large com
panies, has become such a major success factor
that can no longer be ignored.

More mature organisations differenti


ate between value-added services and
industrialised, low-cost services, such as
automated testing.
Whats more, quality assurance and testing
resources (people and tools) are recognised as
providing added value and being business-crit
ical. Unsurprisingly therefore, C-level management is now looking for ways to further increase
the added value of software testing, without triggering a corresponding explosion in costs.

Managed Services on the rise


Like mainframe and, later on, software development services, software quality assurance has
become a firm fixture in sourcing strategies
developed by many business and IT managers.
The managed (testing) services market is booming. An example of this is SQS Software Quality
Systems AG. While in 2009, managed services
only accounted for three per cent of total turnover, by the first half of 2012 it had risen to a
third. In the same period, SQS sales also rose by
a total of over 50 per cent. In the next two years,
SQS aims to achieve at least 40 per cent of its
sales through managed services.
Analysts are of the unanimous opinion that
the market potential for Managed Services is
far from exhausted. Part of the reason is that
many IT departments are still immature. They
are primarily cost-focused, so tend to buy in
support for test performance on an ad-hoc time
and materials basis. More mature organisations, on the other hand, differentiate between
value-added services that enhance competitive-

i AUTHOR:
DIEDERIK VOS is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at
SQS Software Quality Systems AG. His know-how
and experience has mainly been gained at IT
service and consultancy companies such as AT&T
and INS/Lucent Technologies.

ness and industrialised, low-cost services, such


as automated testing, which can be assigned
to external service providers as output-based
managed services. This kind of low-cost standardised service provision is gaining market
share. In 2010, for example, Gartner predicted
that by 2015, approximately 30 per cent of all IT
services could be categorised as industrialised
services that reduce operational IT costs while
releasing investment for growth and business
differentiation.

Renaissance of testing tools

Quality then and now


In retail

In manufacturing

For the 1982 IBM 5260 checkout terminal, a few additional


processes and a data communication cable were enough
for what, at that time, was a complete merchandise management system. The unique terminal combined checkout
and data capture functions and saved sales data onto a
diskette which was later provided to goods inwards. By
comparing sales and goods inwards figures, payments
or cancellations, retailers were able to increase product
turnover efficiency significantly, while making better use
of storage space. Today, merchandising systems are a part
of an IT landscape jigsaw that often includes ERP systems,
e-commerce or special customer loyalty programmes.

In 1982, US market researchers Venture Development


Corporation identified the most important trends in industrial production as: industrial robots, CAD/CAM systems
and numerical control (NC). Analysts believed that automated manufacturing systems could increase efficiency
of approximately three-quarters of industrial production.
Their predictions were correct. What they didnt foresee,
however, was the way in which software would become an
intrinsic part of finished products. This is where the real
revolution took place some years later. Software replaced
and continues to replace mechanical components and
mechatronics with significant consequences for development and production. As regular standards of quality
management and quality assurance cannot be transferred
1:1 to the software systems that are increasingly built in,
manufacturing companies now have to be re-educated
in terms of IT. With Autosar, for example, the auto
motive industry has created a new standard for electronic
development. The introduction of the associated new QM
and QA procedures is currently well under way.

To ensure software quality supports an IT transformation,


checks not only have become more complex and varied,
they also need to be conducted more frequently. Extensive
regression tests are the norm for example, even when an
individual system is updated.

Cover Story / 07

Quality 2/2012

A renaissance in software testing tools can currently be observed, especially tools based on
industrialised and automated software testing.
Given the fact that these tools are replaced, on
average every three to four years, the focus is
increasingly on protecting investment in test
tools. Until now, when changing tools, all existing test cases and test frameworks needed to be
recreated. The new, comprehensive test management tools provide a solution, as they enable
technology-independent testing that is ready for
all future tool generations while also covering
legacy technologies. The basis is a code which
can be adopted by any third-party tool and used
to carry out tests. In addition, a test series and
related infrastructure can be migrated and
maintained at a comparatively low cost.
Companies cannot simply outsource quality to
testing providers to avoid industrialising and
standardising their own testing processes and
infrastructure.

On the contrary: the industrialisation of inhouse software development and quality assurance is a prerequisite for successful test outsourcing. Only mature testing processes can be
automated.

The industrialisation of in-house soft


ware development and quality assurance
is a prerequisite for successful test out
sourcing.
There is definitely a market need for quality. In
this respect, nothing fundamental has changed
since 1998, as news headlines continue to show.
A headline in the British magazine Computerworld from autumn 2012 read: More than 94
per cent of CIOs struggle to deliver application
projects on budget and around 38 per cent indicated that testing is their biggest challenge.

08 / Cover Story

Quality 2/2012

Cover Story / 09

Quality 2/2012

A survey of traditional professions

QUALITY WITH TRADITION


Renting out a private room or assembling bicycles have a lot in common with IT and software: the right working processes and employees determine the quality of products and
services. Five representatives of traditional occupations explain what quality means to them.

FRANZ TRLER,
Watchmaker,
Trler Uhren & Juwelen,
Zurich
BERNADETTE FLYNN,
Bed & Breakfast Landlady,
Bed & Breakfast Willow House,
Dublin

1. How do you define quality in your profession?


In my business, three things are key: I always have to be
ready to listen to what my guests have to say, so that they
feel safe and at home. The rooms always need to be comfortable and clean, and the breakfast has to offer something special. Get those three factors right and then youve
got a quality bed & breakfast.

2. Is your customers perception of quality still


the same as it was 30 years ago? If not, how
has it changed?
Peoples expectations in terms of quality have changed
radically over recent years and decades. Nowadays, I
have to offer en suite rooms, each with its own bathroom.
If you cant offer that, then the cards are stacked against
you. That wasnt the case even just a few years ago. As a
result, weve had to adapt our quality standards to those
of hotels naturally with the difference that, with us, you
still have to convey that family, personal feeling.

3. How do you reach the product/service quality


level you need in your profession?
By taking sufficient time to attend to it. Time is the factor
when it comes to achieving quality in a bed & breakfast
from many points of view. My guests will feel more at
ease if I welcome them personally when they arrive.
That means taking the time to do that. Then theres
the breakfast. What makes it so special is that I make it

1. How do you define quality in your profession?

fresh, every day. I dont buy in the porridge, fruit salad


or sausage and eggs ready-made, but prepare everything
myself. Sometimes I even bake my own bread. All that
calls for time.

4. When it comes to achieving quality in what you


do, what role does the way you work play and
what role do skills & materials play?
Having the right materials is always essential if you want
a quality result whether youre talking about the food
or the bed linen. Having the right working processes
simply adds to that quality. Nowadays, for example, I can
answer e-mails and enquiries quickly and simply using
my mobile phone. My guests appreciate that very much.
Apart from that, I have standardised a lot of the ways in
which things are done here, meaning I achieve high quality without having to spend too much time on it.

5. Besides your profession: how do you define


quality of life for yourself?
For me, quality of life is not having to think about the
business every minute of the day and being able to take
time for myself. Managing a bed & breakfast takes a lot
out of you, both physically and mentally. I really like to
unwind by going for a swim, for example. Bringing the
business and my own needs completely into balance,
though thats something Im still working on.

www.willowhousedublin.com

For us, quality first and foremost means precision


work. For that, you also need to have a commitment
to quality. We call it a culture of quality. Our watchmakers therefore have to devote themselves entirely to
striving for quality.

2. Is your customers perception of quality still


the same as it was 30 years ago? If not, how
has it changed?
Generally speaking, we have transformed over the past
30 years into a throwaway society. People dont get
things repaired any more, but almost always throw them
away. Nowadays, throwing things away is cheaper than
having them repaired. With our watches, however, customers continue to look for high quality and longevity.
Thats the schizophrenic thing: the same customer who
buys a computer and then replaces it after two or three
years will come to us to buy a beautiful watch, which will
last for generations. Its like someone eating fast food at
lunchtime and then going out for a candlelit dinner in the
evening, with champagne and caviar.

3. How do you reach the product/service quality


level you need in your profession?
Whats key is to select the best possible, the right employees. Then, continual training and retraining of the personnel, who always have to perform to the latest and
highest standards. This means not just their skills, but
also their quality as people. Here, we need characters who
live our culture of quality be that in watch manufacture
or in service. Not everyone has that sense of quality.

4. When it comes to achieving quality in what you


do, what role does the way you work play and
what role do skills & materials play?
Our product quality depends critically on having the
right working processes. These are highly standardised,
as they have evolved over hundreds of years. Each screw,
each spring, each bottom plate belongs in a predetermined place. While it may not be possible to completely
eradicate errors, our processes guarantee maximum
quality, as is confirmed by the satisfaction of our customers. With the materials, its simple: for high quality,
you need the finest precious metals, such as gold, plat
inum and stainless steel. Using brass or iron is out of the
question.

5. Besides your profession: how do you define


quality of life for yourself?
For me, thats when I myself can determine how I use my
time and live my life, and not be driven by others.

www.tuerler.ch

10 / Cover Story

Quality 2/2012

CHRISTA LUTUM,
Master Baker,
Beumer & Lutum,
Berlin

1. How do you define quality in your profession?


First and foremost: good baked products, made without
the aid of industrial baking agents. We use traditional,
non-industrial baking processes and get by without the
many aids that the big companies use. This approach also
secures our business, because we differentiate ourselves
by way of quality, by offering a difference when it comes to
ingredients and taste.

2. Is your customers perception of quality still


the same as it was 30 years ago? If not, how
has it changed?
Its changed completely. Thirty years ago, the craftsman
bakeries started to get squeezed out by major companies
using industrial resources. This brought with it demand
for new variety in what was offered. At the beginning of
the 1980s, the first organic bakeries started up. At first
they were sneered at, but now theyre firmly established.
Here, not only do customers appreciate the higher product quality, but also the sustainable way we deal with
resources and employees. Transparency is very important, too. Our customers dont want to eat anything of
which the origins cannot be traced.

3. How do you reach the product/service quality


level you need in your profession?
We depend on high tech to achieve product quality.
Our sourdough is produced by a computer-controlled
machine. Because there is no machine, however, that

Cover Story / 11

Quality 2/2012

WILCO KRUITBOSCH,
Brand Owner of Cortina bicycles,
Kruitbosch Cycle Universe,
Zwolle (NL)

could form our particularly soft dough, we work on it


again manually. In service, of course, we need employees who can stay friendly, even in stressful situations.
We help with that by treating our employees with respect
and on an equal footing and promoting team building in
the individual branches.

4. When it comes to achieving quality in what you


do, what role does the way you work play and
what role do skills & materials play?
High-quality materials and a clearly controlled manufacturing process form the basis. The education and
ongoing training of our 120 employees has proven to be
extremely important. Only if they are at the top of their
craft will we be able to keep customers over the long
term. For example, were always adding new items to our
range, otherwise it would become boring.

5. Besides your profession: how do you define


quality of life for yourself?
In my personal life, I expect the same sustainably
produced quality from products and services that our
bakery offers. That could be a holiday hotel or a tradesman in my home: if I get the impression for an instant
that Im just being fobbed off, then Id rather do without
it altogether.

www.beumer-lutum.de

1. How do you define quality in your profession?


We strive to progressively increase the quality of our
affordable lifestyle bicycles, both technically and stylistically. From a technical perspective one cannot exceed
the maximum, but style can continuously be improved.
In 2013 we will add fashion to our lifestyle bicycles. A
new fashion designer who helps propagate five styles:
Performance, Utility, Life, Classic and Special, will give
our products an authentic European feel.

2. Is your customers perception of quality still


the same as it was 30 years ago? If not, how
has it changed?
The 1,500 bicycle specialists in the Benelux that we supply,
still seek technical quality. But our end users look at bicycles in a different way than they did in the early years of
Cortina in the 60s, when it was a B brand. Five years ago
we observed that there was a need in the market for bicycles that reflect a particular lifestyle. Since then we have
taken a different approach. We focus on the age group of
16 to 40. This group wants comfort, appearance and lifestyle in their bicycle.

3. How do you reach the product/service quality


level you need in your profession?
We have a team that monitors the technical quality.
At various times in the production process we test the
safety of the bikes, like the strength of their frames. All
bicycles must comply with the European Standards regu-

lation. We also have a specific procedure, whereby we


check a number of models at random. Firstly in the preliminary stage. Secondly in the factory as they come off
the production belt, and thirdly, an inspection of each
truckload.

4. When it comes to achieving quality in what you


do, what role does the way you work play and
what role do skills & materials play?
The process is much more important than the material.
Parts of the bike, such as the Shimano nave, already meet
the standard norm. When we receive frames from China
for example, we do check them the moment they arrive.
Its all about how you deal with the quality: capture procedures and communicate about it. We determine when
a bicycle should be approved or disapproved and also
explain and record those choices in documents. We do
this according to standard documentation that is always
insightful for all our employees. In this way, we can focus
and drive on quality.

5. Besides your profession: how do you define


quality of life for yourself?
I am happy when I create designs and construct bicycles that make customers happy. By bike you see more
of areas, cities and cultures. Cycling is a high-quality
experience.

www.kruitbosch.nl

12 / Cover Story

Quality 2/2012

Cover Story / 13

Quality 2/2012

NEWS
Back-end IT jobs returning to UK
More entry-level software development jobs and apprenticeships will come back to the UK from India
as a result of that country scaling up its IT services and software integration sectors.
At a software innovation event hosted by SAP Labs in India this week, N. Krishna Kumar, vice-chairman of NASSCOM, Indias IT and business process outsourcing organisation, said BPO could now be
perceived as a commoditised business sector in India. As a result, he said, more Indian companies
were moving into higher-value consulting and software integration services, and away from lowervalue back-end functions like call centres and simple data processing.

JOHN RIDOUT,
Organic Farmer,
Huntstile Organic Farm,
Somerset (UK)

1. How do you define quality in your profession?


As an organic farmer, I see quality as the ability to meet
strict standards. The farm is subject to regular inspections from our industry body, the Soil Association; and
whether I am buying or selling organic produce I expect
to see a quality mark. As we hold events at the farm too,
quality is about delivering a memorable experience for
the hosts and guests.

2. Is your customers perception of quality still


the same as it was 30 years ago? If not, how
has it changed?
Thirty years ago, business was conducted in a less regulated atmosphere and was based on trust. Now, certifications and approval stamps are the norm. From the feed
store to our lorries, we are subject to checks and inspections. For the weddings and events held at the farm, our
customers dont want regimented venues which dominate the market today; instead they equate quality with
our unique venue and stunning location.

3. How do you reach the product/service quality


level you need in your profession?
I have processes in place to ensure that we meet the
exacting standards in the organic farming industry. The
farm has a great reputation and we work hard to maintain it, so we keep up-to-date information on all relevant
rules and regulations. On the events side of the business,
we ensure that our staff are trained to the highest levels.
They are interacting with customers who have high
expectations, whether they are at an Open Farm Day or
a wedding, so we make a major effort to ensure that our
staff are helpful and courteous.

i Source:
Computerworld,

3 October 2012

Its now not about simple offshored tasks western centres dont want to be responsible for, said
Kumar. Asked whether the knock-on effect of this move would be more entry-level IT services jobs
coming back to the UK after they were offshored to India by UK companies, Kumar said, There is
the possibility of this happening, yes.

4. When it comes to achieving quality in what you


do, what role does the way you work play and
what role do skills & materials play?
I expect my team to work to the best of its ability. From
growing the best crops to greeting event attendees, I have
high expectations and standards. New ways of working
are always of interest to ensure that the farm is at the top
of rankings. I am a seventh-generation farmer, but am
still learning through research and communication with
other farmers. Conventional farming is a new phenomenon
as all farms were organic until 1946. However, both
conventional and organic farming are still evolving with
new diseases and pests appearing, so we are constantly
refining and building on our skills and expanding the
range of tools that we use to succeed.

5. Besides your profession: how do you define


quality of life for yourself?
Quality of life is about doing something and being somewhere that you love. For me thats running the farm as
well as putting on unique events in a beautiful location.
Being a custodian of the land is a real privilege. Its hard
work, but so worthwhile.

www.huntstileorganicfarm.co.uk

Global testing services on the rise


Software testing is one of the most important tasks for 91 per cent of IT departments and almost
all believe it is crucial to outsource this activity, according to a recent report from analyst company
Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC). It also revealed that three-quarters of companies already use service providers with onshore and offshore capabilities to provide testing services.

Source:
Computerweekly,
2 August 2012

According to NelsonHall, the global testing services market was $8.4 billion in 2011, and although
2012 is expected to be flat, it predicts an average 9 per cent growth every year over the next five
years.

Mega IT outsourcing deals move offshore


Mega-deal outsourcing deals those contracts with a value of $1 billion or more picked up in the
second quarter of 2012, according to the quarterly Global TPI Index. Five mega-deals were signed
during the quarter compared with just one each in the second quarter of 2011 and the first quarter
of 2012. All five were awarded outside of the mature U.S. and Western European markets three of
them in India and Brazil.
The mega-deals awarded by companies in the telecom, banking and consumer goods industries with
a combined value of $6.3 billion, accounted for nearly 30 per cent of global contract value signed
during the second quarter. Four of them were entirely new deals, while one was a restructuring.
Additionally, 11 mega-relationships those with an annual contract value of $100 million or more
were initiated in the quarter, the most since 2009 and an increase of four signed the year prior and
seven in the previous quarter.
Taking into account all outsourcing contracts worth $25 million or more, $13.1 billion in IT outsourcing business took place in the second quarter, up six per cent year over year but down five per cent
over the last quarter due to light contracting activity.

i Source:
cio.com,

23 July 2012

14 / Companies & Markets

Quality 2/2012

Quality 2/2012

Companies & Markets / 15

Automated point-of-sale testing speeds sales


for South African retailer

QUICKER
CHECKOUT

Point-of-sale (POS) efficiency is critical to a good customer experience and the smooth
operation of a retail business. Without it, inventory problems, unrecorded sales and
a loss of staff time may result. So heres how one major retailer in Africa sought to
improve POS performance.

Its a typical story. A major retailer in a large


territory (in this case, Southern Africa) seeks to
improve POS performance as part of a broader
IT refresh.
South Africas Massdiscounters is an established
retailer, managing two operations: Game and
DionWired. Game is a discount retailer of general
merchandise, FMCG and groceries and operates
throughout South Africa and in 12 major cities in
sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, DionWired is a
South African electronics and appliances store.

Game is a discount retailer of general merchandise, FMCG, and

non-perishable groceries for home, leisure and business use, operating


throughout South Africa and in 12 major cities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Game currently has 106 stores.

DionWired is a South African electronics and appliances special-

ity store catering for the middle to upper-end income consumer. The total
number of DionWired stores is 16.

Rapid expansion
Existing IT systems could not keep pace with the
retailers rapid and ambitious expansion, which
included 50 new stores in two years and more
on the way. Thats why Massdiscounters IT team
introduced a new strategy to improve back-office
IT systems. The strategy included increasing the
number, frequency and speed of software releases into production, while reducing the overall risk associated with new releases.
POS modernisation was also part of the IT
refresh and represented a huge undertaking,
requiring updates to applications, operating
systems and infrastructure. Maintaining system
integrity and service at the POS was vital. Massdiscounters had to ensure system compliance
with PCI DSS regulations and that critical functions were not put at risk when new software versions were released.
Critically, POS testing could not be compromised and needed to be performed before every
major release. Previously, when systems were
updated, a single POS manager carried out a full

manual regression test of till functionality over


two weeks. This time-consuming testing limited
the pace at which projects could deliver but
was crucial to success.

Automating POS testing


Working with Massdiscounters, SQS used its
experience of testing retail systems and identified the POS testing challenge. The SQS team
recommended a regression testing pack to
ensure that changes to corporate IT systems did
not impact on new services.
The new POS regression testing strategy was
supported by the introduction of an easy-to-configure, scalable and cost-effective automation
tool, which radically reduced regression testing
time and effort.
The automated tool needed to support multiple POS managers, increase testing speed and

accuracy while reducing risk. However, the POS


automation tool also needed to be developed costeffectively and without impacting on existing
testing commitments.
An automation test framework and the POS testing tool were developed to integrate into Massdiscounters existing test environments. Open
Source automation toolkits kept costs down and
integrated the tool with proprietary POS and
back-office systems.

16 / Companies & Markets

Quality 2/2012

Companies & Markets / 17

Quality 2/2012

Test data:

The POS automation tool was sophisticated and


mimicked the actions a till operator might take,
breaking each process into a series of keyworddriven steps. The keyword-driven automation
framework means that maintenance and addition
of new scripts is quicker and easier than before.
Tests can be run simulating three different environments (rather than just one) which improves
the range of testing covered in regression. Over
1,000 different transactions can be performed on
the till, including discount and VAT settings.

POS testing is often a daunting task


as it can have dire financial consequen
ces if error-ridden software is put
into production.
Senior business analyst at Massdiscounters
Till functionality is hardware-dependent, so replicating the behaviour of each till type was also
important to ensure that all transactions could
be successfully automated. The new tool was
designed to capture all possible inputs including
data from the keyboard and also communicated
with Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) devices.

POS testing is often a daunting task as it can


have dire financial consequences if error-ridden
software is put into production, commented
a senior business analyst at Massdiscounters.
With multiple configurations and business
rules, theres very little margin for error as a
software defect could easily have a direct impact
on revenue. However, with SQS automation
framework and POS automation tool, we were
able to greatly improve quality, free up our POS
sales managers time and increase confidence of
POS delivery.

ITS IN
THE MIX
A NISATION
ORG

Faster, easier and better results


Before the automated regression testing, only
Game stores were included as part of the manual
regression run. But the automation pack changed
everything by increasing test productivity:
tests can now be run simultaneously on Game,
DionWired and various international store
settings during each cycle.
The automated POS regression pack runs five
times faster than manual execution. So when a
major release is now made, it no longer takes two
weeks to perform a full test on the controller and
till software instead, it takes one day per store
type with a configurable automation pack.
Automating a testing process that was time-consuming and inefficient has created more opportunity for Massdiscounters to concentrate on
future success and value added service delivery
thats something any retailer, anywhere in the
world, would surely be happy to achieve.

Test Case-Based
Search
(Data Reservation)

S
TE
Ageing
(End of Period
Processing)

Specification
(Synthetic
Data)

T A RCHI V

PROCESSES
in TDM

Obfuscation
(Data Compliance)

Extraction
(Production
Data)

Generation
(Mass Data)

More at:

i www.massmart.co.za

Or simply scan this QR code with your mobile phone:

K NOW-HOW

The comprehensive management of test data helps to prevent data misuse, accelerate
testing processes and increase the efficiency and quality of IT projects. A healthy
mix of synthetically produced test data and anonymised production data makes for
tests that are as clear as they are sparing on resources.

18 / Companies & Markets

Data leaks are about as much use to companies as product


recalls or falling sales. They can lead to a major scandal and
quickly destroy a companys image, as shown by the recent
cases of Swiss banks, the customer and account data of which
were burned onto CDs and offered for sale to the financial
authorities. While no one can guarantee 100 per cent protection against data theft, starting with the selection of test
data, using a smart strategy and, in particular, by including
synthetic test data, gateways for data thieves can be closed
and not just in banks.
Beyond this, functioning test data management does not just
address security aspects. Primarily, it serves to ensure that
software tests are conducted quickly and efficiently. Only by
working with correct and meaningful test data and being able
to provide these promptly and repeatedly can one avoid unnecessary extra costs and test with the necessary coverage.

Quality 2/2012

It doesnt work without production data


Putting together synthetic test data and therefore doing without the use of production data in testing and development
environments in so far as is possible essentially offers the
best protection against misuse. Besides this, authorisation
concepts and access limitations are essential to effectively
limit the opportunities for passing on or copying onto storage
media.
Production data, however, have properties which mean it
makes sense to use them when testing the associated systems
and databases. As a rule they will be high-volume, highly consistent when using multiple networked applications during
testing and can be brought into the testing environment
almost at the push of a button. At the same time, they also
contain the data trash which has been built up over time

TEST DATA MANAGEMENT


What it comes down to:

1. Anonymising production data and adding to it with synthetic data


2. Separating the production and provision of test data
3. Administering and providing test environments centrally
4. Shortening provision times and procedures in the testing process
5. Introducing automated regression tests
6. Using a consistent testing methodology and appropriate tools

Companies & Markets / 19

Quality 2/2012

and, particularly in settlement processing, can lead to errors


but which can be identified and removed over trials, as only
here is the sample in the test as a rule sufficiently large. Last
but not least, a certain amount of data is essential for stress
and performance tests.
However, production data gets old and corresponds exclusively
to defined standard processes meaning that, based on experience, they can only cover up to a maximum of 60 per cent of
test cases. The ideal way for a test data stretch therefore lies in
using production data selectively and anonymously. In exceptional and special cases such as with test cases that are
not covered but which also have to be simulated and tested
these need to be added to with synthetic data. In addition,
these have the advantage that they do not have to be protected
and can be reused for further test cases. Whats more,
synthetic test data can simply replace production data in tests
if the number of the systems networked in the test is not too
large. Ultimately, using them, the desired test coverage can
be achieved.
Attention needs to be paid to the fact that with the complexity and number of the systems to be tested, the expenditure
for synthesisation and anonymisation will also rise. The latter
of these also represents a small migration project. To bring
the costs, expenditure and (privacy) requirements of testing
as closely into line as possible, a mixture of anonymised and
synthetic test data is advisable.

Companies often lack expertise


When implementing test data management, the emphasis
is on recurrent test activities in particular, such as release
changes, platform changes, regression tests and ensuring
operational process quality. Optimum test data management,
from the point of view of applications and also the entire IT
architecture, takes the strain off departments due to the fact
that they already have the basis for successful test automation. Flexibility is called for in implementation, which may
make use of tools already present and/or place requirements
on an appropriate selection of tools.
There is often a lack of the necessary expertise in companies
and also tool support, for example for the development of tools
for test data anonymisation. It therefore makes sense and is
also efficient to set up central functions for test data manage-

ment (TDM) be it for a one-off, major project or even across


projects, which monitors the fulfilment of legal and compliance requirements on an overarching basis. Such a central
contact point can take over and coordinate both the techn ical
and the functional tasks of test data management. It can, for
example, also ensure that the anonymisation rule of three of
extract, transform and load is mastered, that experience
with corresponding ETL platforms on test data projects is
accumulated and that the rules for the masking of data are
applied. In addition, the synthesisation of test data enables
valuable and lasting know-how to be built up centrally about
company data storage. On this basis, together with IT and the
companys specialist departments, a data protection-compliant approach can be defined.
Alongside providing technical solutions, the most important
task of a central TDM unit is undoubtedly to embed the necessary processes in the company and to provide an organisational structure for them. Because with test data management,
whats most important is not so much the correct application
of tools, but embedding tasks procedurally and organisationally in the company.
Once the structures of test data management, environment
and processes are implemented in the company, the testing
and specialist departments can take over further execution.
In this way, sufficient know-how will also be accumulated for
future test projects, in which tools such as automation tools
can be reused. From many long-running test data projects,
SQSs experience shows that: when correctly applied, the
processes of test data management need to be reinvented for
every project just as little as the tools. Both can be used over
the long term and are easily maintainable.

i AUTHOR:
DR KAI-UWE GAWLIK is head of the
Technical Quality department at SQS
Software Quality Systems. In this role,
he also has responsibility for test data
and test environment management. He
has worked at SQS for over 15 years,
focussing on technical test support and
non-functional tests.

20 / Companies & Markets

Quality 2/2012

The five most important factors for success:

WHAT COUNTS WHEN


USING MOBILE
BUSINESS SYSTEMS

Companies & Markets / 21

Quality 2/2012

Mobile apps, for example, for smartphones or tablet PCs, promise companies greater efficiency and
productivity. Standard solutions bought from platform provider app stores will often only partially
fulfil this promise. In their place, individually adapted or developed solutions that connect companies to existing IT systems and databases are particularly beneficial. At the same time mobile
platforms, due to trends such as Bring your own device, bring with them many additional
challenges for use in a business environment. To ensure that these apps do not become a security
risk, while offering the desired functionality and efficient use when doing business, companies
should take into account the following criteria for success:

Precisely define what is required of mobile systems


Compared to stationary computers, mobile systems bring with them a range of new requirements that companies need to take into account.
Smartphones and similar, for example, are generally not connected with the rest of the company via a secure network, but use GSM, UMTS
or a public WLAN, depending on the location.
In addition, there is often a range of different,
some of them privately purchased, devices.
Companies need to take this into account as part
of their requirements analysis.

Business experts and Quality Assurance (QA)


also need to work closely together in defining
requirements. This ensures that companies
systematically and verifiably determine what
properties the mobile software should have. In
addition, the efficient definition of requirements
accelerates software development and testing.

Create a Quality Fingerprint


In principle, the quality criteria of mobile and
conventional stationary software are no different from each other. The focus has to be on
functionality, security, performance, ease of
use, reliability, portability and maintainability.
However, these criteria need to be weighted
differently for mobile solutions. Mobile software, for example, has to be as sparing as possible on hardware resources to extend battery
times. The Quality Fingerprint, therefore,
looks different.

SQS Software Quality Systems has defined the five most important criteria for success
for any company developing or using mobile software in a business environment. First
and foremost, companies need to precisely define which properties the apps and mobile
devices they use must have. Only then can they achieve the security and functionality
they expect from mobile computing.

The subject of security also needs to be taken


even more seriously with mobile systems than
with traditional IT. Mobile devices come with
substantially more interfaces. In terms of hardware, this may be Wi-Fi, in terms of software,
social media apps, for example. Mobile systems
permanently exchange data over the Internet
via these interfaces. Each additional interface
increases the security risk and is a potential
gateway into the device and thus into the companys IT.

Take a systematic approach to quality assurance


The basic procedures of software quality
assurance and software testing remain the
same with mobile systems. Companies should
therefore not reinvent the wheel and under
no circumstances introduce separate quality
assurance (QA) for mobile systems. Whats
much more important is to make the existing QA more systematic and professional, to

ensure that the particularly short time-tomarket can be achieved with mobile systems.
In particular, QA must ensure effective management of the many variants of mobile software for example, different operating systems such as iOS or Android, but also different
device classes such as smartphones or tablet
PCs.

22 / Companies & Markets

Quality 2/2012

Companies & Markets / 23

Quality 2/2012

THE FIGURE

1982: 240
Adapt the toolbox
The traditional procedures of software development and quality assurance continue to apply to
mobile systems. However with iOS, Android and
the like, the traditional tools can often no longer
be used. Companies therefore have to acquire
additional new tools and integrate these into
their standardised testing processes. In doing
so, its important to consider new testing tools to

be able to test quality criteria such as security or


efficiency, which have previously been taken less
into account. One example of this is fuzzing,
which bombards the interfaces of mobile systems
in a kind of stress test, with the aim of breaching
them. In this way, companies can detect any problems in the areas of security or robustness.

Choose flexible development methods


When developing and introducing mobile systems, flexible process models are essential, as
mobile products change more quickly and frequently than traditional information technology. Iterative-incremental or agile developmental
models are therefore recommended which test
the system requirements and their implementa-

The key element of the success of mobile systems in business use is the further systemisation
of software quality assurance. Sven Euteneuer,
Senior Research Manager at SQS, explains:
Only systematic quality management guarantees that mobile apps will work as desired, be
secure and be able to cope with the significantly
shorter development cycles of mobile business.
Anyone who does not go about this systemat
ically has already lost out, as they have to start
all over again in the event of software errors
occurring in each individual mobile operating
system, such as iOS or Android.

tion much more frequently than, for example,


sequential procedures. In addition, in the selected process model, the user should be closely
involved in the definition of requirements. Like
early definition of requirements and a systematic
approach to quality assurance overall, this then
substantially reduces the time to market.

More about security of mobile applications:


http://www.cio.com/article/714550/BYOD_
Security_Demands_Mobile_Data_Protection_
Strategy

2012: 850,000,000
What do the Pentagon, Stanford University, the Eglin air force base in Florida and the
Norwegian Norsar geo-scientific foundation have in common?

Or simply scan this QR code with your mobile phone:

In 1982, they are connected with each other via ARPANET, the
predecessor of the Internet. Around 240 host computers were
then feeding in content to the communications network. By
way of comparison: today, there are around 850 million host
computers on the Internet, with another two billion users
worldwide. One thing, however, has remained constant over
the past 30 years: the transmission protocol TCP/IP. In 1982,
the operators of ARPANET implemented it, in 1983 it began
its work.
The spread of what is nowadays the ubiquitous Internet protocol, however, was a little slow to get going. Even in 1985, the
Internet Architecture Board saw itself forced to set up a threeday workshop for around 250 companies from the computer
industry, to promote TCP/IP. The protocol subsequently came
to be increasingly used. It would be a few years, however, until
the standard was to establish itself beyond the USA.

By 1988, the Internet had 60,000 host computers. One year


later, the number was 160,000. The first commercial online
services, such as Compuserve and AOL, chose the Internet
as the basis of their business model. With countries such as
France, the United Kingdom and Germany, Europe too entered
the stage of the TCP/IP-based Internet. In 1991, the Internet,
now called the World Wide Web, had around 600,000 host
computers. Reason enough for the traditional providers of
telephony to get on the bandwagon not least because, in the
meantime, the PC had taken over not only offices, but also
peoples homes. Thats how, from the mid-1990s, the Internet
developed into the ever-present phenomenon we know today.

24 / Companies & Markets

Quality 2/2012

Companies & Markets / 25

Quality 2/2012

NEWS
Cloud computing increases IT security

Cloud is disrupting the outsourcing industry

Experts are convinced that the switch to cloud services can even raise the IT security of many com
panies. After all, a lightning strike can always incapacitate the IT department of a medium-sized
company as their data will often not be saved in duplicate. A hacker or employee could also steal data,
as the security measures are often far less strict than those of cloud service providers.

Cloud is starting to disrupt the outsourcing industry, in a very profound way. Thats the conclusion
of a new study from Information Services Group (ISG), which closely tracks and provides advice to
the outsourcing industry. The question is: will organisations begin to prefer more granular, clouddelivered services over larger outsourcing arrangements?

For medium-sized companies in particular, the change to cloud computing can mean a quantum
leap for security, says Peter Brutigam, a lawyer specialising in IT law: Cloud providers can call on
completely different resources than most of their customers to guarantee data security, for example
state-of-the-art technology and on personnel who concern themselves purely with the security and
maintenance of the data centres.

The percentage of ISGs advised contracts with cloud in scope has grown steadily, the firm reports
from 9 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent in 2011 to almost 27 per cent so far this year. The number of
purely cloud-related contracts also grew over the past year, rising from 109 to 223, for an escalation
of 120 per cent. Half of the outsourcing service providers studied claimed that one-fourth of their
pipeline of opportunities now included cloud-based services, ISG adds. The service providers also
expect cloud services to grow faster than traditional IT outsourcing, especially in the US market.

Source:
i Financial Times
Germany,

5 October 2012

Source:
Forbes.com
23 October 2012

Every budget is becoming an IT budget


Twelve years ago technology spending outside of IT was 20 per cent of total technology spending;
it will become almost 90 per cent by the end of the decade, according to Gartner, Inc. Much of this
change is being driven by the digitisation of companies revenue and their services.
Organisations are digitising segments of business, such as moving marketing spend from analog to
digital, or digitising the research and development budget. Secondly, organisations are digitising
how they service their clients, in order to drive higher client retention. Thirdly, they are turning digi
tisation into new revenue streams. Gartner analysts said this is resulting in every budget becoming
an IT budget.

R
ECOMMENDED READING

T
HE HIDDEN CHAMPIONS

Source:
Gartner.com,
22 October 2012

To address these changes, organisations will create the role of a Chief Digital Officer as part of the
business unit leadership, which will become a new seat at the executive table. Gartner predicts that
by 2015, 25 per cent of organisations will have a Chief Digital Officer.

SQS increases revenues and profit


Turnover at SQS AG increased by 7.9 per cent to 102.8 million during the six months ended
30 June 2012, while adjusted profit before tax reached 3.3 million. Revenue from Managed Services
contracts almost doubled, to 34 million and now represent 33 per cent of total revenues.
We have continued to outperform the software testing market, comments Diederik Vos, Chief Executive Officer of SQS, giving further evidence of the success of our Managed Services strategy. Our
strategy to grow Managed Services to at least 40 per cent of total turnover is delivering increased visibility and improved margins and these benefits will continue to improve as existing contracts further
mature. Adds Vos: Although continued economic uncertainties require us to remain cautious, we
expect operating margins to improve even further during the second half and are therefore confident
of meeting full-year market expectations.

i Source:
sqs.com

Finally, some good news for the western economy: Hermann


Simon, researcher, business consultant and author, remains
calm in his third book, despite all the frenzied prophecies of
doom and rash forecasts. For some 15 years now, the inventor
of the term Hidden Champions has been highlighting the
future potential of the traditional industrial countries, using
the example of world market leaders, concentrated mostly
in Europe. In his new book, too, which reflects experience
from the financial crisis and the recent rapid rise of China,
Simon convinces by taking a relaxed view and providing calm
analysis. Gloomy prophecies about the decline of the western economy, he concludes, are just as misplaced as excessive
euphoria about the future. In contrast to the bestseller written
by the American journalist Thomas L. Friedman, for example,
he postulates that: The earth is not flat. While globalisation
may be the megatrend of our times, it is only just beginning.

steady growth, a highly vertical manufacturing chain, a globally aligned marketing strategy, coupled with solid financing,
lean organisations and high investment in the companys own
employees.

There is therefore still lots to do and also to gain in particular for companies in industrialised countries, which cannot
be considered to be global. The Hidden Champions repeatedly
analysed by Simon are virtually predestined winners. And
because they do not focus, in the first instance, on mass and
market power, they are well equipped against the new players
from the Far East, India and South America.

Hermann Simon:

Simon excels in repeatedly and continually working out the


strengths and qualities of these Hidden Champions in his
books. What makes them so interesting to read is that the
Hidden Champions demonstrate, so to say under the magnifying glass, what creates long-term competitiveness and lasting
success in business. Among this, Simon counts, for example, a
clear desire to achieve market leadership, unexaggerated but

Each new book produced by Hermann Simon about Hidden


Champions can be seen as a kind of instruction manual for
business decision makers: chapter by chapter, he describes
the respective state of the art of successful company management. His assertions in doing so are made all the more
credible because he doesnt, like many other authors, rush
to make generalisations. Rather, he meticulously assembles
the most important key indicators, along with examples from
many companies and from practice. At the end of the day,
these speak for themselves.

Hidden Champions of the


21st Century
Springer 2009, 30

26 / People

Quality 2/2012

People / 27

Quality 2/2012

30 years of IT milestones

RUDOLF VAN MEGEN


LOOKS BACK

The Internet. Auto electronics. The mainframe computer. These three technologies have
had a lasting impact, revolutionising the business and IT world over the past 30 years.
Over the past three decades Rudolf van Megen has seen many trends appear and, in
part, also disappear. Meanwhile he has always stuck by his lifelong mission of software
quality. The rise of SQS to become the worlds leading specialist in software quality
is perhaps the biggest reward for his lifes work. But when did SQS actually place its
first website online? What experiences did Rudolf van Megen have with his first sat nav
system? And why are mainframe computers still there today, just as they were in 1982?
Van Megen looks back.

Rudolf van Megen on the Internet

I didnt really want to believe it at first. When


I was asked recently when did SQS launch
its first website, I bet on 1992/93. And yet it
was 1998 before we first established our own
online presence. So it feels like weve been
living in the Internet age for much longer than
is actually the case. This goes to illustrate the
true meaning of the saying: Internet years
pass much more quickly than real years.
The second aha moment when you look at
our original site is that an enormous amount
has happened since then. OK, the pages were
already translated into English, but when it
comes to matters such as interactivity and
design, the sites from back then can hardly be
compared with the Web portals that are now
standard.
At SQS, conquering the Internet was a very
pragmatic process. I remember that a colleague, who was then very young but with
whom I have now worked for many years, first
came up with the idea of having our own website. That suited him, as he was seen in our
company as modern because he came from

the object-oriented development world, which


was still very new. He was heavily involved
in introducing the object-oriented language
Smalltalk for tool development at SQS. Its
hardly used any more now, though.

Internet years pass much more


quickly than real years.
The Internet, in the form of the first e-mail
connections, arrived at SQS as early as
1992. Whats interesting is that, back then,
we focused less on whether it was secure or
whether we should allow it into the workplace.
The question was rather: do we really need
it? Is the Internet a passing phenomenon, or
does it open up positive opportunities for the
company over the long term? In the end, as
a medium-sized company, we were right up
there as one of the first firms to use a website specifically as a marketing tool. For our
seminar business in particular, our website provided a real boost at the beginning,
because it was much easier to communicate
to a wider audience than using brochures or
print adverts.

28 / People

Quality 2/2012

Of course, the Internet has also impacted us on


a personal level. Everything works much more
quickly. I can react significantly faster. And
people expect that, too. The use of fax machines
eventually died out, although in its time the fax
was an enormous asset. People easily forget
today that the fax, too, only became a mass phenomenon in companies in the 1980s.

In e-commerce, slow or inconsistent


performance eventually leads customers
to jump ship. Good quality assurance is
therefore called for.
Here we come to the points of quality and
security. Today, while using e-mail, its easy to
quickly shoot off a message that should really
stay in the company. In a competitive market,
the question of quality also looks quite different because of the Internet. Business processes
have accelerated significantly, which has created a lot of added value. On the other hand,
this acceleration has really shaken up the competition in many industries. Your competitor is
just a click away. Take retail, for example: in
e-commerce, slow or inconsistent performance
eventually leads customers to jump ship. Good
quality assurance is therefore called for.

Rudolf van Megen on auto electronics

To be honest, for a long time I didnt have a


sat nav in my car. Instead, I continued driving through the country carrying four maps of
Germany, plus a collection of city maps. This
naturally assumed that I know my East from
West. Ultimately, I felt I didnt really need a
sat nav. But at some point, of course, curiosity
took over the curiosity to know how it worked.
And very quickly, of course, I got used to its
many helpful features. At the end of the day,
there are better things to do than driving your
car and repeatedly glancing at the map.

People / 29

Quality 2/2012

In general, I think that the innovation drive


in auto electronics of the past few years has
first and foremost increased safety, and will
continue to do so. While older features such as
cruise control principally spared the wallet,
because it wasnt easy to drive too fast any
more, the new features have brought with
them substantial benefits. Because distance
control monitors the distance to the vehicle
in front and, in a worst-case scenario, also
emergency brakes, the driver is given extra
safety that would have been unimaginable a
few years ago. Looking back over recent decades, such innovations are only comparable
with ABS, which did away with a lot of things.
These days, who knows what intermittent
braking is? Now you can almost say: if you
need to, slam on the brakes, the vehicle will
take care of the rest!

Ultimately, the not so distant vision


today is, Ill just set my destination in
the car and the vehicle will get me
there safely on its own.
The flipside to the electronic revolution in
cars is that software applications are becoming ever more complex and thus potentially
error-prone. The question of software quality
is ever more important, particularly because
electronics are increasingly taking over functions that are crucial to safety. Ultimately,
the not so distant vision today is, Ill just set
my destination in the car and the vehicle will
get me there safely on its own. Even if this
vision is not likely to become reality for 20
years, were already getting closer to it. The
software built into the car for this needs to be
reliable and checked for quality. My forecast
is therefore that software quality assurance
in automotive manufacture will soon occupy
the same significance as the quality checks
for mechanical hardware components that are
standard nowadays.

30 / People

Quality 2/2012

People / 31

Quality 2/2012

Rudolf van Megen on mainframes

The astonishing thing about mainframes is


that they still make up the backbone of every
IT infrastructure, just as they did 30 years ago.
They are, so to say, the mercurial dinosaurs of
the computer age. As ever, they perform the bulk
of mass data processing tasks. Its just that while
once, every major company had these giant computers standing around in their offices, in the age
of cloud computing, theyre now located in server
farms which provide half the world with its data.
Whereas once every workspace had a direct connection to the mainframe, data nowadays passes
over the Internet to a host which may be on the
other side of the world. In this respect, the client/
server architectures which gained traction in the
1990s represent an exception, as they relocated
many of the calculating tasks of the mainframes
away to the computers in the workplace. But the
idea of the thin client soon gave way again to
central data processing, just now with a connection over the Web. This connection has since
become so fast that, as a user, I dont even notice
any more if Im on a mainframe.
In this respect, theres really nothing new in the
world, just that appearance and performance
are constantly changing. I recall, for example,
the software and IT services of a supplier to tax
consultants and auditors. Today, this supplier
naturally advertises that it can provide data processing quickly, securely and economically via
the cloud. But in principle, isnt that the same as
20 or 30 years ago? Even back then, SQS used
this supplier, but via data channels which, by
todays standards, were slow. We transmitted
files via dial-up networking, had them processed
and then sent back to us. Now, in the age of the
cloud, the principle is very similar but the reality
a lot faster.

Its clear from the history of the mainframe that


not so much has changed in terms of basic processes and procedures. The What has more or
less remained the same. The How, on the other
hand, has changed dramatically. Thats also evident in SQSs methodologies, the foundations of
which stretch way back to the 1980s.

The astonishing thing about mainframes


is that they still make up the backbone of
every IT infrastructure, just as they did
30 years ago.
What has changed is the business models. When
I look, for example, at Managed Services, a major
area of growth for SQS, I can identify serious
advances in respect of communication, standardisation and business efficiency. Here, the
Internet and similar have opened up completely
new potential. Once, we provided our services
exclusively on site. Nowadays, not only worldwide data communications, but also personal
communication via video and Internet meetings
are commonplace. Modern approaches such as
agile development and agile testing only work
on the basis of such networked communication.
Another example is India, which was only able to
make its appearance on the scene as an extended
workbench on major international IT projects
around 15 years ago because, with the Internet,
a worldwide communications and data exchange
network was now available. And what mainly
takes care of all these data transfers on the Internet? Mainframes.

32 / People

Quality 2/2012

Irish repatriate Stephen Magennis presents:

MY DUBLIN

People / 33

Quality 2/2012

After emigrating to the US it initially appeared that Stephen Magennis would follow
the same path as hundreds of thousands before him and end up settling permanently
in America. But then, after a few years in New York, he returned to do a postgraduate course in Dublin and stayed; even though that had never been part of his plan. The
reason? The Dublin he returned to had changed dramatically during his years away.
The route Stephen now drives to work every
morning runs through Phoenix Park a wide
open parkland thats home to the President of
Irelands house, the American Ambassadors
residence, as well as an open-air stage, skate
park, monuments, flower gardens and woodland.
For Stephen, his journey to work also provides
an opportunity to relax Practically every morning I appreciate that this is a fantastic route to
work. I dont believe theres anywhere else in
the world that I would rather be. Im not sitting
in the dark on the subway but enjoying some
of Dublins stunning and unique scenery, enthuses Magennis.

Stephens story clearly reflects the contrast


between underdog and tiger. After his degree
studies at Dublin City University he was lucky
enough to get a Green Card visa for the US.
He enthusiastically grasped the opportunity
to go and work in the US, first settling in San
Francisco and later moving to New York.

From underdog to tiger


In describing the park, the SQS Ireland sales
account manager doesnt highlight the obvious
features, as inhabitants of other cities might. He
could, for example, mention that Phoenix Park
ranks as one of the largest urban parks in the
world; almost twice the size of New Yorks Central Park. Magennis could also have talked about
the parks name which has nothing to do with
the mythical bird, but derives from the Gaelic
fionn uisce (clear water). Instead the SQS manager prefers to emphasise the atmosphere in the
park, describing the breadth of wildlife which
roams around free. He also brings up a very Irish
story: namely that of a small-budget film produced in Ireland, about a virtually paralysed son
in a 13-strong family. With the help of his left
foot, as reflected in the title of the film My Left
Foot, the boy succeeds in becoming a famous
writer. One key scene of the film, which went on
to win two Oscars, takes place in Dublins Phoenix Park. Christy Brown, the main protagonist
in the film, is representative of the underdog
spirit for which Ireland is famous. Or at least was
before the Celtic Tiger took off a few years ago
to begin a rapid economic catch-up.

Iveagh Gardens

Moving abroad wasnt unusual at the time for


Irish graduates. Around half of Magennis college year emigrated from Ireland after graduating and even his own brother had moved to
Scotland.

34 / People

Quality 2/2012

People / 35

Quality 2/2012

ish who make up the workforce. Integrating a


large, diverse group of people is not easy, says
Magennis. Nevertheless, we manage to create a
feeling of community; with activities throughout
the company including meals, social and charity
events. This way you go to restaurants, venues
and activities which you might otherwise never
have chosen. An Italian knows completely different places to an Irishman, a Pole or an Indian.
All nationalities have their very own subculture,
beneath the surface of the city.
All this sounds a lot like New York. So why didnt
Magennis stay in America, where he could have
had modern, pulsating Dublin many times over?
When asked about it, the SQS manager talks once
again about that special feeling he gets when

driving through Phoenix Park in the morning. He


adds that the city, despite many recent changes,
has retained certain qualities which he no longer
wants to go without. Maintaining a social life, for
example, is not difficult. Dublin makes it easy to
form friendships and achieve that much soughtafter work-life-balance. Although the city can
seem very large and bewildering, in everyday
life it still feels pleasantly small. In New York it
was quite normal for the Irishmans friends to
live an hours travel-time away from the city. An
evening meal or just a visit to a bar could turn
out to be a major undertaking. In Dublin, on the
other hand, everything is just around the corner,
or maybe the next corner. Hardly anyone living
in the city area lives further than ten kilometres
away from the city centre.

Smurfit Business School

In the US he encountered a dynamic and cosmopolitan environment which he still talks about
with great enthusiasm. As such, his return to
Dublin to study for an MBA at the Smurfit Business School was only ever meant to be a one-year
visit.

New Irish self-confidence


Upon his return, however, Magennis encountered a Dublin that had completely changed.
What hit me was the amount of energy; the same
kind I was familiar with in New York, he recalls.
A spirit of optimism had taken over the world
of work and business. Everything felt forwardthinking and full of confidence. I didnt want
to leave. Of course, there have been periods
of weakness since then, from an economic point
of view in particular. Nevertheless, for Magennis,
this is just a transitional phase. Even in a recession
you can see almost everyone putting all their energy
into making sure that things work out again. It
appears the self-confidence the Irish developed
during the tiger years has not been shattered.
They have constructed a solid foundation
for business. Although Ireland, and Dublin,
still suffer from the symptoms of recession, the
employment market looks quite different from
when Magennis was at college. In innovative
industries, such as IT, everything points once
again to growth. Companies are happy to hear
from any qualified applicant.
By the time Magennis returned, tourists were
also flocking to Dublin to view its landmarks: the
Viking settlement; the venerable Trinity College;
the Book of Kells, a 1,200-year-old richly illus-

trated manuscript of the four gospels; and Christ


Church Cathedral. In other respects, Dublin is
rising ever higher on the international events
calendar. Which other European city can pride
itself on hosting an American Football League
game that attracts over 35,000 spectators from
the US? And then, of course, theres the music.
When international music stars are on a world
tour, inevitably they can only appear in a few
countries or cities. Little old Dublin, with its rich
musical history, is almost always one of them.

A cool place to live


All of this contributes to giving Dublin the international reputation it currently enjoys as a cool
place to live. In particular, with English as the
common language, the barriers to communication are low. Its not just tourism and leisure that
benefit from this reputation, its also business.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Google, for example,
all have their European headquarters in Dublin,
which makes it easier for locally based high-tech
companies to attract qualified staff from across
the world.
This global mix of talent in the workplace was
yet another reason for Magennis to remain in
his home city. He explains it like this: Physic
ally we may be right on the edge of Europe but
we feel that were right in the middle. When
the Irish homecomer started at SQS, he had
around 25 colleagues, almost all of them Irish.
Today, with over 150 colleagues, the mix has
become much more cosmopolitan: together with
the Irish, there are now Poles, Germans, Italians, Indians, Spaniards, Portuguese and Brit-

MY CITY TIPS
SEE AND BE SEEN
Just a stones throw away from Grafton Street, the main
shopping street, theres a small crossroads where the new
Dublin presents itself as if on a theatre stage. On one side
a traditional pub, on the other a sandwich bar and a smart
caf. On the street stories are being played out of everyday
lives: business people in a hurry; slow-moving tourists; the
rubbish truck and young Dubliners in their sports outfits.
Exchequer Street/Wicklow Street/
William Street junction
- The Old Stand Pub, 37 Exchequer Street,
Tel. +353 1 6777220, www.theoldstandpub.com
- Butlers Caf, 24 Wicklow Street,
Tel. +353 1 6710591, www.butlerschocolates.com

THE BEST GUINNESS


Isnt Guinness just Guinness? Its a question that only a nonIrish person could ask. The black beer might come from the
same brewery, but how is it drawn? What temperature is
it served at? How does it make its way from the barrel to
the tap? And where do you get the best Guinness in the
city? There are almost as many opinions about this as there
are Dubliners. In any case, Stephen Magennis recommends
Kehoes or Mulligans, ideally on Arthurs Day at the end of
September, when all of Ireland lifts a glass to Arthur Guinness at 17:59 in remembrance of 1759, when Sir Arthur
was given his brewers licence.
- Kehoes Pub, 9 South Anne Street,
Tel. +353 1 6778312
- Mulligans, 8 Poolbeg Street,
Tel. +353 1 677 5582, www.mulligans.ie

PRAYING FOR LOVERS


The Carmelite church in Dublin claims to store the relics
of St Valentine, after whom Valentines Day is named. The
church is one of ten sites, including the Cathedral of Vienna,
to make this claim. However, Dubliners can point to a certificate of authenticity, issued by Pope Gregory XVI, who sent
the remains to Dublin in 1835 as a gift. To lovers, and those
in search of love, who visit Valentines shrine, that probably
matters very little.

In Dublin, the ski season begins at the end of September.


As the only available mountain slope is artificial, skiing
down in temperatures of 15 degrees Celsius is particularly
pleasant. The Ski Club of Ireland is located directly adjacent to the ski slope in Kilternan and offers courses and
equipment for ski fans and snowboarders of all levels.

Carmelite Church, 56 Aungier Street,


www.carmelites.ie

Ski Club of Ireland, Kilternan,


Tel. +353 1 295 5658, www.skiclub.ie

SKIING AT 15 DEGREES

36 / People

Quality 2/2012

Dublin for Dubliners


Yet, despite all its international appeal, theres
still a Dublin for the Dubliners. As an example,
Magennis names Iveagh Gardens, which most
Dubliners wont have even heard of. Just a short
distance away from the SQS office, the park
stands, even in sunshine, as a barely visited idyll
in the heart of the city. As there are only two concealed entrances to the park, most people walk
by without even noticing it. A lot of people therefore call the park Secret Gardens or Sunken
Gardens.
Dublin is full of such places. On Kilmainham
Lane, adjacent to the Guinness brewery, theres
a small pub called The Royal Oak. From the
outside you might think it closed its doors ages
ago. And yet its a hidden, fully functional jewel
that reminds you more of a pub in Galway, in the
west of Ireland, than a bar in the capital. Even
in areas which superficially seem to have been
taken over by tourists, the old Dublin life carries
on, says Magennis. Yes, its true: what was once
a very traditional district of the city, Temple Bar,
is now a very commercialised zone. Still, in the
middle of this is, Filmbase, a non-commercial
cultural centre for film-makers, which continues
to function. Stephen Magennis considers that
Dublin currently offers the best of both worlds:
on the one hand theres the cosmopolitan bustle
of modern Dublin, and, on the other, those
places, beneath the polished exterior, that make
it home for him.

Reader survey and publication details / 37

Quality 2/2012

READER SURVEY
What do you want from Quality?
Reading habits are changing. In the last few years in particular, the media and communications landscape has changed
radically. We want to continue to design Quality in such a way
that it presents the content you want in the way that suits you
best. Thats why wed really like to know what you want from
Quality.

Simply take part in the survey enclosed with this


edition, or complete the questionnaire online, and
you could win a new Kindle Fire HD the tablet PC
designed purely for games, apps, books, music and
videos.
SQS employees and their relatives may not take part. The winner will be
informed in writing.

TAKE

PART AND

WIN!

Heres where to find the reader survey:


http://go.sqs.com/reader-survey

Or simply scan this QR code with your mobile phone:

PUBLICATION DETAILS
Publisher & Supervision

Editorial Board

Printing

PR-Partner Kln Agentur fr Kommunikation

KESSLER Druck + Medien GmbH & Co. KG

Matthias Longo

Michael-Schffer-Str. 1

Breite Strae 161167

86399 Bobingen, Germany

50667 Cologne, Germany


SQS Software Quality Systems AG

Phone +49 (0)221 92150420

Picture Credits

info@prp-koeln.de / www.prp-koeln.de

iStockphoto, Fotolia LLC,

Marie Erdmann

Amazon EU S.a.r.l., Daimler AG

Stollwerckstrae 11

Graphic Concept & Layout

51149 Cologne, Germany

Aclewe GmbH Werbeagentur

Phone +49 (0)2203 91540

Marzellenstrae 43b

Other Authors

Marie.Erdmann@sqs.com

50668 Cologne, Germany

Ranbir Sahota, Vitis Public Relations

www.sqs.com

Phone +49 (0)221 91393630

www.vitispr.com

info@aclewe.de / www.aclewe.de

Temple Bar district

Photographer: Ben Knabe