More and more businesses are now focusing on performance testing as it has a direct influence on business revenue, brand image, organizational credibility and customer satisfaction. With high remedial costs associated to performance centric issues, system performance testing has become more critical than ever to ensure that a system conforms to key user requirements and industry standards. The earlier the performance testing begins, the higher the likelihood of identifying fatal defects in the system and fixing them. On the other hand, ignoring the importance and significance of performance testing can lead up to serious damages; some of which are:
• Lack of performance testing can most destructively cause a great loss of potential customers and sales when and if your system slows down or fails. For instance in 1999, Hershey’s Food company installed a new Supply Chain Management System (SCMS). Order management and warehouse implementation issues caused Hershey to miss critical Halloween shipments. Company claimed $150 Million is lost revenues, 19% drop in annual profit and 34% depreciation in the value of their stock.
• The inter-dependent functions of your system can fail to respond or be accessed while experiencing heavy loads and which can thus affect your transactions. Let us assume that in order to process an online order, a particular system requires 2 operators; where Operator 1 adds customer details, forward them to Operator 2, who then confirms the details and records orders. Now; if heavy traffic on the site makes it unable for Operator 2 to access the system; the transactions will be seriously affected and in cases, would be brought to a halt.
• Businesses that depend on your systems for their sales can be seriously hurt if your system fails to respond. A classic example of such loss occurred in 1990 when 75 million phone calls across the US went unanswered after a single switch at one of AT&T’s 114 switching centers suffered a minor mechanical problem, which shut down the center. The culprit turned out to be an error in a single line of code — not hackers, as some claimed at the time — that had been added during highly complex software upgrade. American Airlines, majority of reservations of which, depended on AT&T’s service, alone estimated this small error cost it 200,000 reservations.
• Functional and performance issues in your systems can result in duplicity of work and under optimization of labor hours. Employees might need to manually perform functions when the system is down which would not only be inefficient but would seriously damage productivity. Moreover, when the system is restored redundancy in tasks might occur as operators work to synchronize lost data with their automated systems.
• Due to poor performance of your systems; existing customers, and worse; loyal customers, can lose their trust in your company as they are subjected to experience inconsistent quality
• Ignoring performance testing does not mean you’re saving any money; in most cases, it means rather opposite. Glitches that are caused by ignoring performance testing can mean that you have to spend unplanned on software or hardware required to adjust those glitches in the least possible time. Even that can backfire in instances, for all of us who understand business know that a quick fix is not always the best fix.
• You might lose crucial marketing or advertising air time if you depend for them on your systems. Assume for instance that you expect maximum people to be exposed to your new offers during Christmas season as they rush onto your website to shop and thus you plan to save all budgets and marketing costs to be spent during this season. However, if excessive load causes your system to slow down or worse, stop responding; your marketing efforts would go wasted.
Having reviewed some of the several examples we have in history and some case scenarios it is quite understandable how important it is to test or get checked your software for its performance. Explained above are merely the physical costs of ignoring performance testing; the tension, embarrassment, damage to your company’s goodwill, frustration throughout the organization and lowered morale of the workers are some of the invisible and non-physical costs that we could never account for. Not only does poor performance affect the present but it brings huge damages to your brand and corporate image for a longer period of time than one would expect and hope. Customers might lose faith in you and vendors might avoid doing business with you for the sake of their own reputation. It’s time we recall the old adage and well known cliché; Precaution is better than Cure! Indeed, it’s much better!