When customers think of outsourcing software testing, they often think first of the major Indian-based giants who built their reputations on the process management skills so critical to the testing process. But as Steve Rudderham of Capgemini pointed out at the recent Nearshore Nexus conference, Latin America is rapidly closing the process gap with India and should be at par within two to three years.
One Mexican firm carving out a niche in the testing space is E-Quallity, which since its founding in 2003 has done work for clients including IBM, HP and Siemens. After finishing graduate school in Mexico and in Germany, the founders “came back to Mexico and saw a need that wasn’t fulfilled here,” said CEO Luis Leon Carrillo. The company has since grown to 50 employees, focusing on testing of applications build on platforms such as .net, Java, and C#.
E-Quallity’s prices are 40 to 60% lower than those of American competitors, and while they are “a little higher” than in India, Carrillo says that being in the same time zone as its U.S. customers, and the cultural affinity between the two countries, makes his rates “very cost effective.” Domestic customers account for about 85% of sales, with much of the rest coming from California and Texas, and Carrillo hopes Guadalajara’s location in the central time zone, and its cultural similarities to the U.S., will help it expand its sales there in the next year.
He also takes pains to say he competes on quality as much as cost, with a level 3 certification in TMM (Test Maturity Model) and a “proficient” level in the TPI (Test Process Improvement) methodology.
“Our mission is to reduce the costs and risks of software,” said Carrillo. It started focusing on testing for independent software vendors, but more and more business is coming from companies needing to test software they developed internally.
E-Quallity performs both “black box” testing (which only requires the tester know the test requirements, not the contents of the software) as well as “white box” testing “where we need to know the internals of the software,” said Carrillo. “We can do in-house testing, where we take the product from the client, launch a test infrastructure, using our certified, internal processes in our facilities, and take full responsibility for the testing,” he says, or do “component testing, with some (testing) in our facility and some in theirs, when the client has a testing process that is not as strong as they would like. We improve their process and complement their teams.”
While it currently makes up a small percentage of overall of revenue, E-Quallity also provides beginner, intermediate and advanced testing training. “We provide training for certifications, and provide test consulting, which involves an assessment, the development of improvement plans, and help (the customer) implement improvement plans so they can get certifications similar to what we have,” he said.
Grupo Vidanta (Mayan Resorts) hired e-Quallity twice, most recently this year for the functional and integration testing of a new enterprise resource planning, central reservation and customer relationship management system. Compared with other Mexico-based testing, e-Quallity’s cost less while delivering higher quality, flexibility and commitment, said corporate manager of IT projects Fernando Flores.
The company chose e-Quallity not only because of cost, but because it was easy to adapt their process and methodology to the project timeframe and it focuses on software quality without the distractions of other services. In addition, he said, e-Quallity was able to increase or reduce the size of the test team to minimize costs, and the fact they are in Mexico made it easier to meet and make quick decisions.