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Business and Technology Insights

From Word of Mouth to Social News Feeds

 
February 2, 2016

Recently, I purchased a new phone. I posted about the gadget on social media platforms. And before I knew it, my friends were telling their friends about it. It was just a matter of a few days, and some friends and friends-of-friends too were proud owners of the same phone. My endorsement had resulted in additional sales for the phone company. In a digital world, the referral model when deployed and driven on social media, is as good as, or even better than word of mouth without its limitations.

Social media, has truly transcended the realm of personal networking, and has emerged as the medium for brand promotion, offering a never-before possible edge, over traditional marketing. Product launches too rely increasingly on social sentiment data.

While these strategies and methods will yield bottom-line benefits, its also important to be aware of the fact that social platforms are environments of zero tolerance. Small slips, minor errors or limited outages result in immediate adverse exposure to a global audience. In addition to dealing with the need to continuously listen and respond to social feeds, social applications must also address cross-browser, mobility, security, network and bandwidth challenges.

The Assurance Role in Evolution of the Social Marketing Model

Social platforms enable continuous, live, and real-time conversations, where traditional testing practices simply dont work. Given this reality, assurance for social media, must not just be efficient, but also vigilant. A holistic approach to assurance is needed, one which takes care of every aspect of social media and its challenges. For instance, in addition to managing testing and defects, assurance must also enable social conversation listening, and be involved in Social Reputation Management (SRM).

Here are a few test types that social applications must be subjected to:

  • Functionality: Confirm that the application functions as per requirements.
  • Usability: Ensure intuitive interfaces offer a pleasant user experience.
  • Security: Identify and fix vulnerabilities, and safeguard against security and confidentiality breaches.
  • Integration and Compatibility: Ensure application compatibility across platforms, devices and operating systems.
  • Performance: Ensure efficiency, responsiveness and consistent performance, in normal situations as well as conditions such as low battery, bad network coverage, low available memory, and high server load.
  • Load: Ensure application stability, by determining the applications behavior under both normal and peak loadconditions.

Social applications are accessed by a large audience base, in myriad ways. Hence it is also important to subject social applications to exploratory testing, to unearth defects or inconsistencies, which traditional testing cannot detect. An adaptive assurance strategy, localized for social applications, can enable your business to realize the real potential and power of social media.

Meena is a test automation strategist and consultant from Software Quality Guardian(SQG) Center of Excellence as a part of TCS Assurance Services Unit. She advises customers on product selection, deployment and effective use of static testing tools and also is part of a professional research team that evaluates and grades different static testing tools. Holding a Masters degree in IT post Engineering from Madras University, she started her career as a developer and has an exposure of working in multiple geographies, in various roles in Technology and Management. She has presented her papers on Static Testing in national and international testing forums. With more than 11 years of experience in the IT industry, she recommends customer's across domains and geographies in building high quality software by addressing their challenges related to code quality and post production defects.