When Kamil Khaidir’s wife began complaining to him about the buggy and error-laden e-commerce platform she was trying to buy from, he came to a realisation—there were far too many software applications out there with problems and usability issues.
“With my background in software testing, I knew that the main issue for these apps were that they were released without proper testing,” he said. “And since I was also a freelance test consultant, I managed to discover from startup founders and SMEs that the number one reason for not testing was high cost.”
So with this in mind, Kamil eventually reconnected with his old colleague Faizal and began coming up with ideas for a business venture.
“I talked with Faizal about how we could help startups and SMEs ensure that they released high quality apps with minimal bugs and at the same time avoid bad user reviews, and how we could make it affordable and quick,” Kamil explained. “Faizal was interested, and now here we are.”
Stop Bugging Us
Simply put, what Kamil and Faizal do is take software applications made by others—be they for smartphones, web, or desktops—and put them through all sorts of tests to make sure they’re error free and work without any hiccups.
Each app worked on is different and can take anywhere from under a week to more than a month depending on what is demanded. Kamil explains that for his business, the workflow involves a two-step process, beginning with “test preparation”, or more specifically, the part where the team determine what needs testing, on what devices they need to be tested on, and then developing a plan for actual testing.
This is then followed by the “test execution” stage, where apps are actually put through their paces, with Kamil and Faizal employing external testers (who are personally vetted for knowledge and expertise) to aid with the process.
By using this model, they’re able to test applications for things such as functionality, usability, automation, and so on. Testing is charged on a per-day basis, with packages also available starting at RM80.
Kamil claims that while this process is also done in-house by many software companies, his service still has a niche to fill in the market due to the process of bug and error-checking being a task that is meticulous and time-consuming.
“Developers should focus on developing the app instead of finding bugs because we both know they don’t really have time to do anything else,” he explained. “Developers are meant to code while software testers should focus on finding bugs so that both of them can work together towards the main goal, which is releasing a high quality app.”
He added on to this by explaining that there was also the chance of a developer going the route of “happy testing”, or the habit of choosing to see only the good and ignore the bad parts of the application.
“By doing this, you will miss other bugs that impact the whole experience,” he said. “Also, when you see the same things over and over again, it becomes routine for you.”
“Therefore, you need a third eye that is independent and unbiased.”
To push drive the point home, Kamil explained also that there exists plenty of openings for a service such as his in the context of the worldwide market.
To illustrate this, he pointed towards the millions of car recalls by major automotive brands, incidences of Starbucks in the USA lost millions because of bugs in their point-of-sales systems, and the biometric system error in Malaysian immigration checkpoints that delayed travellers by hours in 2011.
“These errors are what can happen if you don’t go through testing,” he said. “As long as there’s an electronic instrument where human interaction with software takes place, it needs to go through testing.”
“If Only They Knew About Us”
But even with all this opportunity in the market, Kamil also admitted that his company still faces the challenge of awareness—or the lack thereof.
“One is the lack of awareness on the importance of testing that I believe we’re lacking here in Southeast Asia, and the other one is the awareness of our existence.”
To improve the situation, Kamil said that he and Faizal had put in effort to get themselves and the nature of their service noticed by the wider market.
“We’ve written quite a few articles regarding our service and have had them published on a few startup sites as well as Yahoo! News Singapore,” he said.
“Another one of our strategies is going to conferences—we’ve been to a few conferences already, including the recent RISE conference in Hong Kong,” he added. “In all of these conferences, we’ve gotten feedback like ‘it’s funny that we’re both from Malaysia, and I’ve only gotten to know you guys and your services here’ or ‘I didn’t know that this service existed here, this will help us a lot’.”
But even without a strong awareness level, Kamil and Faizal have already executed more than 76 testing rounds for clients such as WOBB, CIMB Bank, and HP, with 176 more already queued up in the pipeline.
“And another thing I’ve realised is that we have lots of clients from overseas come to us through our website,” he said. “The biggest achievement so far is when we got to sign with a big client from Japan who we can’t yet name.”
“It’s a big achievement for us when a company like that sees our capabilities and values our work.”
“Most of the time, our clients will go for the basic package to start, but then come back to us right away for bigger projects when they see the value that we bring to them,” he added. “It’s satisfying for us when we’re able to help our clients and perform beyond their expectations.”
Feature Image Credit: Bugs Detective