Is your Enterprise Big Data Tested?

Is your Enterprise Big Data Tested

The Startup buzz is gaining grounds and it has transformed the way enterprises strategize and operate. Startups are known to leverage various technologies that boost cost effectiveness, efficiency and time to market. For instance, thanks to the Open source platforms, today Startups have access to the best Big Data infrastructure and testing tools at ‘zero’ cost. They run a mile further in optimizing the Cloud to reap the most from their Big Data investments.

Big Data implementation for enterprises can work wonders. What you need is a robust application that is rigorously twisted and tested to fit your organization’s requirements and objectives.

IDC (a market research firm) estimates 50% increase in revenues from the sale of Big Data and business analytics software, hardware, and services between 2015 and 2019. Big Data and Analytics Sales are expected to reach $187 Billion by 2019.

How does Big Data Empower Businesses?

Big Data has proved to be a game changer for American retail stores, as they have been able to further analyze and effectively segment the customer database and market. This has enabled to create customized marketing campaigns and offer relevant deals. Further, they have been equipped with information to schedule their deals and offers as per the data drawn by the application.

It is further predicted that government organizations across the globe will leverage Big Data to radically reduce government expenditure. High profile statisticians and officials will be replaced with Data Scientists to derive the required numbers.

After the super successful and intense Climate Change talks in Paris, there is going to be a whole lot of difference in the way Climate Change is perceived. It will not be alleged as a matter of threat, but an enabler for Market Capitalization purely on the basis of Big Data technologies. For instance, Big Data will analyze climate change views and expert comments across Social Media and Internet, which will help determine the impact rather than just depend on the conventional Meteorological reports.

Big Data implementations have brought remarkable results for enterprises who knew and kept their conviction towards the business objectives. However, it can be a major disappointment for organizations that miss out on the underlying purpose of Big Data implementation.

If the data is managed methodologically, it can empower an organization to make informed choices while venturing in the market place.

What does Big Data Testing Entail?

Big Data testing involves authenticating various data processes and not just the features. Performance and Functional testing work effectively for Big Data applications. While testing their applications, QA engineers process three types of data – Batch, Real time, and Interaction.

Collaborating with an experienced testing partner is absolutely key, as it is important to devise a high level test strategy. Moreover, before the testing starts, it is important to check the data quality and confirm related factors like data accuracy, duplication, and validate whether the existing data is all-inclusive.

In this article, we would like to highlight some prominent benefits of Big Data testing, assuring desired results that can enable informed decision making and ensure higher ROI.

Eases Downtime

The emerging concept of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) and implementation of Cloud services facilitates anytime, anywhere access to enterprise applications. Due to this there is a rising dependency on the organization’s data to run these applications. This sometimes affects the performance of the application. So, it is important to test the Big Data applications that are expected to be available for employees 24*7. It will avoid bugs, enhance data quality, and ensure seamless functioning of the application. In summary, reduce any expected downtime.

Eases Operating with Large Data sets

With Big Data Applications, development begins with implementation of small data set and then moves on to the larges data sets. As expected, the glitches occurring with small data sets are way lesser than with larger ones as the development process matures. With a view to avoid breakdown of enterprise level applications, it is crucial to test the application’s lifecycle and ensure flawless performance irrespective of changes in data sets.

Maintains Data Quality

Integrity and quality of data is immensely vital for an organization’s growth and attaining overall business objectives. Big Data is increasingly getting popular today, as it empowers enterprises and top management folks to take informed decisions based on historical as well as contemporary data points. Testing these business critical applications helps you avoid duplicity and redundancy with the data sources.

Strengthens Credibility & Performance of Data

The effectiveness and performance of Big Data applications depends on the accuracy and authenticity of the existing data available within an enterprise. Big Data testing involves verification of these data layers, data sets, algorithms, and logic. This efficiently ensures performance of business critical Big Data applications.

Authenticates Real-time data

As mentioned earlier, real-time sourcing of data defines the effectiveness of Big Data application for enterprises. Performance testing of the required data is important to confirm its operational efficiency in real-time. Time is the key word and testing is the only mechanism to determine the ‘time’ factor.

Digitizing data

Organizations across the world have data stored in hard copies, which needs to be cleaned and digitized. Testing helps to scrupulously assess and ensure that no data is not corrupted or lost. The data is converted into various digital formats as per the organization’s requirements. This further ensures availability of essential data in real-time and optimize the processes.

Checks Consistency

When data is digitized, it gets converts into various formats. With Big Data applications and predictive analysis, there are chances of inconsistency over a period of time. Testing brings down these disparities, thus reducing uncertainty.

A comprehensive Big Data and Predictive Analytics strategy enables enterprises to be more analytical in their approach, ensuring higher ROI. Today, enterprises are rapidly seeking Big Data and Analytics solutions. It is predicted by market research firms that the utilities, healthcare and BFSI sectors will bring fastest revenue growth in Big Data and Business Analytics.

Collaborating with the right partner is the need of the hour. Gallop has worked with global enterprises to devise a resourceful Big Data Testing strategy. Connect with our experts and understand the various facets of Big data testing.




The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

FinTech Revolution and the Growing Need for Performance Testing

FinTech Revolution and the Growing Need for Performance Testing

During his tenure as Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund, Raghuram Rajan (now the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India) delivered a controversial paper that addressed certain issues in the financial sector and introduced the term ‘tail risks’ and its impact on the banking sector. These and many more reasons were addressed, which could lead to global financial crisis.

This was followed by the global financial crisis of 2007-09, considered as the worst after the Great Depression of the 1930s. While we could focus on few factors, it was practically an outcome of combination of various factors that resulted in the crisis. Post the entire turmoil, there was a conscious awakening in the financial services segment and many necessary amendments and reforms were made.

Financial Technology, popularly referred to as Fintech, are organizations / start-ups that leverage various technology platforms to efficiently offer financial services. Essentially, Fintech is considered as the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, which has impressively created waves even at a nascent stage.

Fintech firms are here to revolutionize and offer a secure interface for taxpayers and the customers in the vast economic diaspora. It is a joint venture of software geeks and Venture Capitalists, who plan to create a phenomenal shift in the way economies perceive the financial services market.

This phenomenon is definitely creating a buzz with the kind of investments it has attracted. It is estimated that these start-ups have attracted $12 billion of investment in 2014, which is $4 billion more than in 2013. Goldman Sachs estimates that the total worth of the Fintech market is worth $4.7 trillion. Fintech firms cover an entire gamut of services in the financial services domain, namely, online utility payments, wealth management, and Crowdfunding.

Fintech start-ups have successfully got their hands on the pulse of the consumers today, where there is a soaring demand for credible and secure interface for accessing digital services.

This growth and upsurge has been triggered by various surveys and studies done by market research and analyst firms. An analyst report projects that the global Fintech investment market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 54.83% during the period 2016-2020. By drawing this kind of attention, the Fintech revolution has attracted eyeballs and massive expectations.

As we understand, the Fintech industry segment is evolving rapidly and the growth index has been set. Now, the way forward is to focus on the most crucial factor – Customer Satisfaction. Today, Fintech firms are in the process of conceptualizing and offering business critical financial applications for the banking sector, financial institutions, and even directly for the customers.

But as they say, with great opportunities, there come greater Challenges!

Operating in the financial services domain poses a lot of challenges, as it entails tremendous risks. Irrespective of the domain of business, Fintech firms deal with sensitive data and customer base to process and serve. Secure interface and robust performance defines the success factors for this domain. Additionally, the industry has to adhere to various compliance guidelines and regulations governing the financial services sector.

Consequently, testing the performance of these business critical applications is imperative for evaluating their speed and effectiveness in the marketplace. Specifically, in a socio-economic environment which is highly volatile and prone to risks.

For instance, while dealing with banks and financial institutions, Fintech firms have to conform to various compliance issues of the banks. This specifically pertains to hosting on the Cloud.

In such an ecosystem, it is essential to collaborate with a strong and experienced partner for a comprehensive testing framework and strategy.

Let’s encapsulate the compelling reasons for Performance testing and its importance.

  • Dealing with sensitive financial data
  • Managing complex customer database
  • Mitigating risks across a digital platform
  • Implementing Compliance / Regulatory issues in the financial domain
  • Managing performance of critical applications across devices and environments

Apart from the various reasons for Performance testing, we will also shed some light on the best practices in testing. These practices can help ensure seamless performance of business critical applications that are being brought to the market today by Fintech firms.

Shift-left for effective Performance Testing

Performance of a software or application comes down to the phrase ‘now or never’. Your application may fulfil the functional aspects, however, it is important to gauge whether it is been done in a particular time frame and under a particular environment. This is where the challenge arrives.

Performance Testing or Load testing (for critical applications) is crucial in the financial services domain. Experts with a contemporary and fresh perspective recommend that Performance testing should start early in the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). The boons of this approach are validated and endorsed by experts.

The Shift-left approach brings down the changes of major architectural changes and reformation at the final stage. It takes into consideration every functional and performance related aspects along with the development of the application / software. Ultimately, this results in timely solutions that ensure cost-effectiveness. Rationalizing the costs is, and has been, one of the concerns of every start-up organization today.

Shifting Performance Testing way early in the testing lifecycle ensures cost-effectiveness without compromising the quality.

Service Virtualization for effective Performance Testing

There are many tools available to simulate the environment to Load / Stress test the application and gauge its performance. Performance testing helps stress the application under normal as well as excessive loads, which helps in estimating the possible impact on the application and its performance.

Service Virtualization emulates various heterogeneous components in a particular environment for the Application Under Test (AUT). This further aids the Performance testing efforts, as it helps to test the application against an array of functional and performance conditions, which is scalable on-demand.

Collaborating with an experienced testing partner also gives you access to an emulated test environment, where small and large organizations can test their applications with a minimum set-up.

Testing Performance on the Cloud

Fintech ventures have to adhere to guidelines and regulations defined by the financial world. The major challenge occurs when business applications and sensitive data is loaded on the Cloud. Testing in a Cloud environment comes with its own set of challenges that require expertise on the part of the testing partner.

Performance testing on the Cloud computing environment comprises of testing the network, the server, the database, and the application. The testers are required to check the interaction amongst various components in the ecosystem. At the same time, it is important for the tester to anticipate risks and gauge the application’s performance in an unknown and alien territory.

Nevertheless, Performance testing on the Cloud also comes with its intrinsic benefits, typically, lower capital and operational costs, accessibility for distributed development teams, and effective scalability.

Thus, ultimately, what is a Fintech’s core secret to success? If defined, the underlying purpose is to offer innovative services with high security and by aligning with stringent compliance standards. Gallop’s dedicated Performance Testing CoE focuses on providing solutions around performance testing & engineering for our global clients. Collaborate with our experts to devise a comprehensive testing strategy.




The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

The Challenges of Testing in a Cloud Computing Environment

The Challenges of Testing in a Cloud Computing Environment

Cloud Services, as the experts say, are here to take enterprises from the Industrial era to the era of Information Accessibility.

What could be the most apparent instances of operating in a Cloud-based environment?

  • Updating your Mobile Applications on the go
  • Mailing / accessing some work documents outside your office premises
  • Updating your Facebook & WhatsApp status while commuting
  • Accessing your bank accounts and making transactions while you travel

These and many more benefits are today enabling small, medium, and large enterprises to solve small as well as big challenges to reach their highest potential.

Additionally, there are some evident reasons why big and small enterprises across the world are moving to the Cloud. Namely, higher efficiency, flexibility, disaster management / recovery, easy updates/upgrades, better collaboration, anywhere/anytime access, competitive edge; additionally, it also encourages to make the work environment more eco-friendly.

Sig Nag, research director at Gartner aptly states, “The market for public cloud services is continuing to demonstrate high rates of growth across all markets and Gartner expects this to continue through 2017”. With the trending growth of start-ups globally, there is a rising need to cut down infrastructure costs, faster time-to-market, and achieve higher ROI. These are amongst the most prominent reasons for the increasing popularity of Cloud services globally.

According to a recent Gartner report, Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market is estimated to reach $204 Billion in 2016. The highest growth will come from cloud system infrastructure services, which is projected to grow by 38.4 percent in 2016.

There is rising trend amongst enterprises today to adopt a digital business strategy, as the focus is shifting from redundant IT systems to a cloud-based environment.

Market reports estimate that as many as 90% of the organizations in UK are implementing Cloud-based services to meet their specific business objectives.

At the same time, the Cloud Computing environment poses a set of challenges, which organizations have to deal with. While this article intends to deliberate on the testing challenges in the Cloud Computing environment, it is imperative to get a quick grab on the challenges that the Cloud poses.

Mentioned below are some highlights:

  • Security Aspects: While the Cloud environment offers you a ready back-up and a robust disaster recovery plan, there has been a persistent concern over the security aspects of hosting your data on the Cloud. It ranks amongst the most prominent concerns mentioned by users, as an essential chunk of services are outsourced. This results in risks like data integrity and availability of services.
  • ROI Estimation: In spite of the fact that Cloud ensures higher ROI, there is a concern amongst business folks about the commercial viability or business outcome of Cloud adoption. Nevertheless, this aspect can be addressed by mapping the same with the organization’s objectives of adopting Cloud services.
  • Quality of Service: Considering specific services on the Cloud are outsourced to third parties, businesses are sceptical about moving business critical application to the Cloud. There are concerns pertaining to factors like availability, accessibility, performance, and scalability.
  • Performance Related Issues: There is a concern regarding the network bandwidth offered by Cloud services. This may negatively impact execution and delivery of complex application, as Cloud applications still continue to be bandwidth intensive.
  • Integration Related Concerns: Some applications in production need to integrate / connect with other Cloud applications, which could be on-premise. For instance, applications that are currently operating with existing data structures. There is uncertainty amongst businesses regarding the interoperability of these applications hosted on the Cloud.

While robust testing frameworks and strategies help enterprises get the most of their investment in the Cloud, there are a set of challenges related to testing on the Cloud. The foremost factor to focus on while testing is to ensure that the specific functional requirements are addressed. Let’s take a quick view of the 2 fundamental aspects of testing in the Cloud environment.

  • Functional Testing: With this you can evaluate and ensure that you are getting value for your buck. It further confirms that the business requirements are met. Functional tests such as System Verification testing, Acceptance testing, and Interoperability testing ensure that the business requirements are being met.
  • Non-Functional Testing: The Non-functional testing approach focuses on web application based tests that help ensure that all the expected outcomes are met. Some key areas of non-functional testing are: Accessibility, Performance, Security, Recovery, and Scalability tests.

Challenges of working in the Cloud environment intersect with the challenges of testing applications on the Cloud. The reason being, it entails testing applications across various modules and environments to identify issues.

The recommended way out is to utilize test services that operate on the Cloud, which provide the required environment for testing.

Depending on the Cloud for performance and all the possible boons is a choice that enterprises are making consciously. Drilling down, let’s focus on comprehending the testing challenges in order to address them effectively.

  • Developing the environment: There is a need for specific configurations for testing purposes, for instance, related to servers, storage, or network. This leads to issues during testing, as it is a challenge to emulate the specific customer scenario / environment in the Cloud environment.
  • Interaction between components: Another challenge that is commonly faced is during integration testing, where the tests are conducted on the network, database, servers, and various devices. When the applications are hosted on the Cloud, testers have inadequate control on the environment. This further amplifies when there is an interaction between all the components, where there could be risks pertaining to crash, breakdown of the network or crashing of the servers.
  • Replicating the user environment: The business applications to be tested are installed in an environment that is not under the control of the tester. The tester is expected to test the applications in a scenario where the user would operate. This poses a challenge for the testers to create a similar environment for testing purposes.
  • Testing on the Internet: There are a lot of security concerns while testing on the internet. The tester has to ensure that there is no leakage of data that is available over the Internet while the testing is in process. It is important to have a back-up plan and test before the business applications are released for the users.
  • Testing across the spectrum: Cloud Testing entails testing the network, performance of the server, the available database, and the application. Keeping these requirements in perspective, the testers need to validate the interaction across various components and layers. At the same time risks have to be anticipated, for instance, loss of connection, crash of the software, etc. Moreover, the tester needs to anticipate and test beyond the aspects under control in the existing environment.

So we infer…

It is imperative to comprehend and address these challenges with a clear perspective to ensure that the various business applications are operating effectively and securely on the Cloud. Moreover, it is important to confirm that the entire process helps gain competitive edge in the marketplace. Irrespective of the existing challenges, Cloud Computing will sustain and empower organizations to stay ahead and continue to remain competent.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

The Need of Test Transformation in the Financial Domain

The Need of Test Transformation in the Financial Domain

The Great Recession had darkened the global economy in the first half of 1900s, which took a while to recover. The last decade has witnessed some phenomenal changes in the financial domain across the globe and has created remarkable opportunities not just for the strong economies of the world, but also for the emerging ones. Nevertheless, along with opportunities it has equally posed challenges.

To begin with, let’s consider the challenges & opportunities created by the Internet and Mobile revolution.

Today, imagining a day or week without online payments / transactions can give a sinking feeling to every customer / user existing and operating in this fizzing global economic environment. The financial services domain has gone through an enormous amount of digitization. It has been further triggered by the advent and proliferation of various mobile devices and mobility services.

The growing mobile penetration and increasing density has resulted in a paradigm shift for the financial services sector. Technology innovation and varying customer expectations has positively impacted the massive progress experienced by the sector.

A study by IDC on the financial applications software market estimates that it will reach $24.2 billion by 2019. Whether it is an online / mobile interface for a retail bank or an e-wallet transaction, financial services govern every aspect of our existence.

A report by Allied Market Research states that the global mobile wallet market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 127.5% from 2012 to 2020. The key growth driver for this is, effectively managing customer expectations and experience.

Additionally, a recent report released by International Trade Administration mentions that the global Financial Technology (FinTech) activity has increased considerably in the last 2 years and is creating ripples globally. The fundamental concept is to merge financial services with technology to refurbish the financial services domain for cost effectiveness and raising the quality index

The underlying purpose is to create a much more consistent and secure financial domain for the consumers and economy at large. Incidentally, most of the ventures in this segment are predominantly start-ups. Further, Goldman Sachs estimates that $660 billion in revenue could migrate from traditional financial services to FinTech payments, crowd funding, wealth management and lending.

This implies that the sector is creating waves of opportunities, resulting in a pressing need for a robust back-end strategy and IT back-up to manage several aspects pertaining to secure and user-friendly interface. Software testing for super performance is the need of the hour and has been witnessing a surge.

Investing time & resources in devising a Testing strategy is like investing every day for assured returns in the long run and optimistically in the short run.

Specifically speaking, testing transformation means a set of processes and practices followed to attain the defined business objectives. The core purpose is to constantly foster an environment that improves processes and enhances quality standards for its stakeholders. So, the constant focus is on maintaining and improving quality standards along with developing this sense amongst every person within the system / organization.

Nevertheless, the standards of quality may differ across organizations and industry domains. It can be defined or will primarily depend on the organization’s overall vision and goals. Testing transformation process involves changes at various levels in an organization, as it aligns with the culture, technology, processes and overall performance expectations.

Some much needed investments / prerequisites for implementing Test transformation are:

  • Creating a Center of Excellence (CoE)
  • Test Data Management
  • QA practices & standards
  • Test Automation methodologies
  • Standardized Testing strategies

There are immense benefits of a scrupulous testing transformation strategy. Having a testing transformation strategy in place:

  • Results in cost effectiveness
  • Helps attain higher quality standards and faster time to market
  • Establishes a robust testing framework for any kind of testing needs
  • Provides elaborate plans and benchmarks for defining business goals
  • Sets focus on key business areas

Testing transformation brings about a change in the way you evaluate your testing needs and overall plan the entire process. It endeavours to take your testing experience beyond the basic testing benefits. It brings about a cohesive approach towards delivering tangible results and takes quality to a higher level of optimization.

‘Business Assurance’ is the new ‘Quality Assurance’

Ensuring quality is the most rational way of ensuring business effectiveness; a constant endeavour to ensure performance and desired outcome confirms absolute commercial success. The term ‘Business Assurance’ signifies various factors, namely, Risk Assessment and Mitigation, Compliance Management, and Business Continuity Management.

All this precisely boils down to ensure that your business processes continue to work smoothly and securely with the required compliances.

The financial services sector is prone to a lot of security issues / lapses and stress in terms of delivering desired user experience from time to time. Testing Transformation determines an integrated approach by:

  • Rationalising costs and enhancing productivity of the testing function
  • Successfully establishing a Shift-Left approach that reinforces the constant involvement of testing across the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)

This injects the need and importance of testing within the overall functioning of the organization and makes an external impact while delivering quality and secure interface for the customers. The word ‘testing transformation’ predominately emphasizes on delivering ‘next-generation’ or ‘phenomenal’ experience to the customers in this constantly evolving and steaming economy.

While Manual Testing still prevails, Performance testing and digital testing are gaining further ground. Considering the challenges in the financial services domain, it requires long-term efficiency that facilitates repeatability of tests and at the same time accelerates the speed with which the tests are executed.

Mentioned below are some logical steps that can revolutionize the contemporary testing platform and further strengthen the financial services domain.

A modernized testing framework with the required tools and methodologies provides:

  • Developers with feedback and ultimately empowers the Agile Development process
  • The testers a better environment to automate the process and align it with the application development
  • Testers the environment to build capabilities to execute Continuous & Regression tests
  • Better documentation by getting the Business Analysts involved in the testing process

Testing transformation comprises of a range of methodologies, processes, and accelerators, which subsequently speed up time-to-market by ensuring cost effectiveness.

This can be achieved by collaborating with a Testing partner who can enable your business and forecast future changes that would help businesses take much more informed decisions.

Connect and collaborate with Gallop’s ‘test transformation consultants’ to reap the benefits of transformation for your enterprise.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Empower your business with effective Salesforce Testing

Empower your business with effective Salesforce Testing

Today, we are witnessing a phenomenal surge in E-commerce sites and start-up ventures with some vibrant and offbeat ideas. What is everyone trying to achieve? Is it only commercial success? Guess not, the definition of success for enterprises today is no more confined to monetary gains.

The secret spell for long-term success is ‘sustained customer satisfaction’.

In a market spending survey by Gartner Research, 89% of the enterprises stated that by 2016 all the business ventures would compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. This means that you need to build robust business processes that enable your Sales and Marketing efforts, which would be possible by implementing the right tools to do the needful.

A strong Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool / platform is today the need of the hour. A CRM platform brings a set of practices, systems, technologies, and strategies that enterprises implement to manage customer communication and customer data through the business lifecycle. The essential objective is to strengthen business relationships and further assist in retention of customers for sustained business growth.

As per industry and Analyst reports, Salesforce is currently leading the bandwagon of preferred CRM software vendors. Gartner states that Salesforce leads in terms of revenue in the sales and Customer Service and Support (CSS) segments of CRM, and is now third in terms of revenue in the marketing segment. This competitive gap keeps on widening.

Ease of implementation, Scalability, or Agility are cited as some key reasons for Salesforce’s popularity.

However, deploying Salesforce and effectively testing it within the business ecosystem is an absolutely critical and strategic move. Salesforce implementation across the organization is defined by its vision and underlying business goals.

Effective Salesforce implementation ensures:

  • Faster closure of deals
  • Sales & Marketing Automation
  • Sustained growth opportunities
  • Strong customer communication
  • Upselling & Cross-selling opportunities

Apart from realizing the testing needs, it is crucial to adopt the right approach towards Salesforce testing. Creating a robust Test framework is indispensable, which is possible by collaborating with an experienced Testing partner.

Salesforce applications are getting complex, with shorter development cycles. This triggers the need for a comprehensive test plan, which ensures significant Code coverage and not just target minimum required test coverage.

In this article, let’s direct our focus on adopting the best approach for Salesforce Testing, which can ensure business enablement and growth.

A few good practices to keep in mind when implementing Salesforce are:

  • Understand the Level of effort

Primarily, evaluate features as per ease of implementation, ease of adopting them within the business ecosystem and ultimately calculate the training period required. The best way is to bucket your features into categories and then gauge their impact on your business. This can help you straighten up your testing road map and get your system ready.

  • Go Agile

A consistent regression test framework is required for ensuring that the ongoing functions are not affected during the sprints. Executing an automated suite of regression tests improves the ability to deploy these applications rapidly and without compromising on the quality. Moreover, considering an Agile approach enables Continuous testing during the implementation process.

  • Testing in fragments

With an agile approach you can test various features of Salesforce and align it with the functions to seek buy in from the respective users. Implementing it across the organization and then testing the entire spectrum could be a massive task to cover. However, if you break it into fragments and test in accordance with the respective functions, it will be more productive and effective.

  • Test Automation boosts the process

Test Automation boosts delivery of applications and facilitates agile sprints with end-to-end testing. This results in cost effectiveness, reduces manual intervention, and mitigates risks with constant integration on Salesforce platform.

Following are some key benefits that Test Automation holds for testing Salesforce Applications, resulting in successful implementation:

  • Enables shorter Test cycles within shorter time-frames
  • Brings down the costs
  • Helps address defects / issues before the Go-LIVE stage
  • Attains improved test coverage for every release
  • Helps validate the integration with third party applications
  • End-to-end automation helps mitigate business risks
  • Performance Testing

With increasing number of applications being deployed on Salesforce Cloud, it is important to ensure the functional efficacy of the applications with Performance testing. Performance / stress testing emphasizes on validating the functioning of the applications in a particular environment with the required data.

  • Training your team…

As much as it is important to deploy a CRM, it is equally crucial to train the people who are going to use it. It will help the organization gain more mileage out of the tool and use it effectively on a routine basis. Moreover, this is the right audience who will help you identify the smallest defects and address them at the right time.

Salesforce is loaded with features and offers much more than CRM specific functions. With an experienced implementation and testing partner you can build a long-term road map to reap benefits from Salesforce for your organization.

  • Collaborate with the right Salesforce Testing partner

The most logical step for long-term benefits and seamless implementation is to on board an experienced Salesforce testing partner. Choosing the right testing partner can help you reap better ROI from your Salesforce applications.

An ideal testing partner comes with expertise across domains, testing capabilities, astute team and appropriate advice on the timelines and budgets.

It is recommended to on board a partner who will not just execute testing job for you, but will also advise you on the right strategy and build a robust test framework that brings consistency in the testing process.

Gallop experts bring comprehensive experience and expertise in Salesforce Testing. Connect with Gallop experts to gain from the extensive experience of its Salesforce Test Architects and witness business transformation for sustained growth.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Robust Testing Strategies for Successful Salesforce Implementations

Robust Testing Strategies for Successful Salesforce Implementations

When it comes to establishing a benchmark statement for customer satisfaction, Walt Disney’s popular quote resonates well.

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends”.

Consistent feedback and working beyond the realms of this feedback marks success for every business venture. It holds significance for an organization’s commercial success and performance in the economic sphere.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is fundamentally defined as an approach that helps enterprises to manage and communicate effectively with their current as well as prospective customers. Key functions of a CRM tool are developing and sustaining relationships with customers through marketing initiatives, managing customer communication and relationships as they mature through various stages.

A CRM tool can empower a business across 3 areas, namely, Sales automation, Marketing automation, and Service automation.

The underlying objective of implementing a CRM tool has defined its current popularity across industry domains. The latest enterprise software forecast from Gartner estimates that the global CRM market will reach $36.5B by 2017. This is a weighty increase from the $20.6B forecasted in Q1 of 2016. Moreover, CRM also leads all enterprise software categories in projected growth, showing a 15.1% CAGR from 2012 to 2017.

Amongst the leading names in the CRM vendors market – SAP, Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft, Salesforce is leading the bandwagon. According to one of the Gartner reports, Salesforce dominates the worldwide CRM market with 18.6% market share, and 28.2% revenue growth from 2013 to 2014.

The Popularity of Salesforce

Salesforce entered the CRM solutions market much later than the other leading names. It segments its products under a range of cloud-based products/services comprising Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud, and Analytics Cloud. These offerings / solutions can be customized to best fit your business requirements.

The reasons for its popularity could be multiple, however, some highlights are – Ease of implementation, Scalability, or Flexibility.

The industry mainly endorses the platform for boosting productivity by managing the contacts, opportunities, leads, and partners.

Nevertheless, there are tremendous challenges that one can encounter while Salesforce implementation and integration takes place within the dynamics of an organization’s ecosystem.

The process of Salesforce implementation begins by defining the business objective and understanding the underlying purpose of implementing a CRM solution. It is important to take all the concerned stakeholders into confidence. This will boost the acceptance levels and help meet the desired goals.

Acceptance amongst stakeholders is the initial & fundamental step to avoid any failure in Salesforce implementation.

Testing for Salesforce

Salesforce (CRM) Testing entails Functional testing, Unit Testing, Manual Testing, Automated Testing, Deployment testing, and Security Testing. Nevertheless, an ideal implementation partner may recommend Sandbox testing, User Acceptance Testing (UAT), UAT Support, and Production Testing as well.

We can speak at length about the various testing types, however, it is important to adopt a Test strategy and fit in your testing needs accordingly. The key aspects to consider during testing is functionality, performance, security, and scalability.

Before the implementation / deployment process starts, experts advise to focus on Data cleansing to get rid of unwanted and duplicate data. During the Sales & Marketing cycle, loads of redundant data gets generated. For instance, customer data that doesn’t anymore qualify as a Lead could be part of the database for years.


Robust Testing Strategies for Successful Salesforce Implementations cycleCreating a Data Map that connects every data field can work wonders for an organization!

With this prelude, let’s further discuss the various strategic approaches that an experienced Testing partner would take for successful implementation. These would be the best practices an experienced partner would bring to the table.

  • Understand the business objective

It is imperative to align various Salesforce CRM features with the business objectives. Understanding the underlying purpose of implementation is crucial. For instance, are you getting a CRM tool in place to automate your Sales or enable you in executing Marketing Campaigns? This will help you devise a rational and fitting strategy.

  • Explore the latest features

It is recommended to consider the latest features on the Salesforce platform and align it with your organization’s business objectives and requirements. The concerned teams must ensure that every functionality introduced must add value for the business and eventually boost ROI.

  • Take a Test drive on Salesforce platform

Pre-release trial is a special program that enables you to test your application on Salesforce before it goes into production. It is a testing platform that can be leveraged to try new features. This would not be linked to your production system, so the data in the LIVE environment would not be available. However, this could be an effective approach to test your various Salesforce applications in a test environment.

  • Focus on functionality

Salesforce testing must ensure excellence in the functionality of various applications. So, testing from a user’s perspective is very much required. Additionally, this ensures maximum test coverage and enhances overall code quality.

  • UAT makes all the difference

User Acceptance Testing holds utmost relevance, as the most minute issues / defects can be fixed when it is reviewed and operated by the end users. As thorough testing by the user would certify a final sign-off for the project.

  • Record the Tests

Reporting the tests is the most logical practice that one must consider. The testing framework has to incorporate templates to report tests that business and Salesforce administrators can consider to address risks, defect, and test results from time to time.

Every software / tool enhancement in your business ecosystem has to bring value and higher ROI. This is possible with a robust Test framework.

Summing up…

Salesforce implementation if done successfully can bring business transformation and translate into commercial success.

In essence, it is important to test it methodically, which can be done by collaborating with a partner who has extensive experience in Salesforce implementation and testing. Gallop brings extensive experience and expertise in Salesforce Testing. Connect with Gallop experts to leverage the experience of its Salesforce Test Architects, IP-led Hybrid Testing Frameworks and speed up your Salesforce implementation without compromising on quality.


The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

The ‘Mantra’ to Attain Effective ERP Testing and Implementation

The ‘Mantra’ to Attain Effective ERP Testing and Implementation


The global audience has been witnessing a surge in the number of Start-ups, and the specific requirements they have, for a robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, which can specifically address issues coming up in the ‘start-up’ environment. Hence, whether small or medium – medium or large, every organization requires an ERP solution to manage various functions and accelerate growth.

According to a new report by Allied Market Research entitled, ‘Global ERP Software Market – Size, Industry Analysis, Trends, Opportunities, Growth and Forecast, 2013-2020’, the global ERP software market is expected to reach $ 41.69 billion by 2020, registering a CAGR of 7.2% during 2014-2020.

According to Gartner, an ERP system impacts a broad set of stakeholders.

Today, large organizations are moving their ERP solutions to the Cloud and this further emphasizes the application of consistent and meticulously planned QA checks for robust practices to test the ERP solution.

Majority of the ERP Implementation projects fail because of inadequate test planning resulting in ineffective testing. ERP systems can prove to be instrumental in integrating various functions of the organization and bringing together various capabilities with swift communication channels. Within an organization, the ERP system touches various functions, processes, people, and functional issues as well.

The relevance of ERP has gone beyond mere corporates. Today it is being considered by leading educational institutions to replace redundant legacy systems as well. This has resulted in attaining operational excellence and boosted communication amongst the various functions of an organization (irrespective of their domain of business).

An ideal approach to test ERP applications within a specific business environment is to consider a 360-degree perspective and focus on the underlying business objective.

The key reason is that an ERP system is expected to integrate various functions, where the testing effort can complement the development effort as well.

ERP Implementation Testing

In this article, we would try to address the best practices in ERP testing in large-scale organizations. This will additionally help us to understand and highlight its relevance / implications across a larger enterprise.

A well-integrated ERP solution brings efficiency and competence in the business processes, and enables enterprises to seek required information on time.

The magic ‘Mantra’ to attain effective ERP testing and implementation = Analyzing requirements + Defining the testing needs + Specifying testing goals + Stating business objectives + Describing the testing strategy

A few good practices to follow while implementing an ERP System for your organization are provided below.

  • Requirement gathering & Planning: Collecting relevant information helps take stock of the various touch points in an organization, which subsequently helps in effective planning. One of the reasons is to achieve enhanced test coverage and manage the tests better from inception of the project.
  • Setting the goals: When goals are set with precision, it ultimately determines the particular type of testing to be implemented and the required resources to execute the same. Goal setting helps set specific test objectives and test plans, and define the team structure.
  • Attaining test goal: Achieving enhanced test coverage and effective testing is the underlying objective. Implementing Test Automation helps reduce the testing efforts and attain the defined test goals.
  • Identifying test cases: In order to ensure maximum test coverage in the defined scope, it is important to identify all the test cases for the various types of tests to be performed. Additionally, it is imperative to document the key business processes, where the ERP solution is going to be implemented.
  • Setting up a test lab: It is recommended to set up a dedicated Quality Assurance test lab for testing the ERP system. When all the machines are configured with the desired specification, it takes away the performance issues while testing.
  •  Conducting Regression, Performance, and Security Tests: Regression testing, Integration testing, Performance testing, Usability, and Security testing are important for ERP testing, as the system holds an organization’s critical data. This helps save time and costs, and enables continuous monitoring of the systems.
  • Scrutinizing defects and creating test reports: When all the testing components are tested, it helps determine the ERP application’s swiftness within the organization. This also helps in analyzing the failure aspects, which could be expected in real environment. All these processes and defects should be documented as test reports for future reference.

While today many organizations are considering online self-service systems for effectiveness and ease of implementation, but whether or not this is recommended is a question to be answered yet. That said, ERP has evolved and established itself to be a popular modern business lexicon that provides long-lasting benefits for enterprises over the years.

Agile and DevOps hold utmost relevance for successful ERP implementations and ensure the desired outcome. Gallop’s focused ERP Center of Excellence (CoE) has delivered verification & validation services to large enterprises

Connect with Gallop’s ERP Test experts to devise end-to-end Test framework and get the most out of your ERP solution.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Stress Testing ERP systems for Operational Excellence

Stress Testing ERP systems for Operational Excellence

Organizations, or enterprises, are like ‘brick-and-mortar’ on wheels. They are in a constant state of work-in-progress. This requires various elements and functions of an enterprise to work seamlessly on a day-to-day basis, which ensures consistent growth with continuous enhancement. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), a business-management software helps bridge the gap between all the functions to set the organization into motion as an integrated system.


Today the relevance of ERP has gone beyond the manufacturing industry, from where it began. It is instrumental in integrating and automating various back office functions, namely IT, human resources, operations & various administrative services. This also inherently implies that any hiccups in the ERP software may lead to disruption in the functioning of the organisation.


An important question to bear in mind is what could be the best possible solution or preventive measure for implementing a seamless ERP system?


Experts suggest ‘Stress Testing’ or ‘Performance Testing’ before it goes LIVE, which often goes unnoticed while the implementation is taking place. The term ‘Stress Test’ holds more relevance in the context of critical software, for instance, Web interface for Retail banking or some critical software for an Airline.


The reason being that Stress Testing emphasises on robustness, readiness, and error handling capacity of a software. In essence, software that has been stress tested performs flawlessly even in business-critical situations where things are falling apart.


Following is a checklist that answers the question ‘Why Stress-Test’ and how?

  • Readiness check: Stress Testing, a software testing activity ensures that the chosen ERP solution is enterprise-compatible-ready. It is important to confirm that the software operates effectively in a real production environment. ERP testing is generally performed in isolated settings in fragmented subdivisions of the entire eco-system. It is critical to test it in real environment, where it performs under pressure and performs as expected.


  • Planned failure: It is important to plan the testing and segment it – specific use of the software, kind of transactions and determine the expected results. When you plan for failure to occur, you are ready to rectify and avoid similar errors in the future. Remember the adage – ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’?


  • Open Communication platform: An open communication environment for all users is crucial, as it will bring out actual feedback and lead to steps for resolving the same. Experts suggest that this could be done by assigning a (Stress Test) Manager to answer and record these questions for future reference.


  • Resemblance to Production: Considering it is critical to get actual-environment-performance from the software, it is advised to perform stress testing on a server that closely resembles your production server and not a server merely used during training period.


  • Planning the Network and required groundwork: Before you plan the stress test, it is important for the internal team to get a quick check of the required network and get the actual production environment in place for executing performance testing activities.


  • Dealing with External factors: Normally, the external or third party factors (if relevant) are skipped during the testing process. So, it is absolutely imperative to consider unique situations occurring due to external factors and incorporating them during the testing process. It would be difficult to do the same after the ERP system goes LIVE and could lead to waste of time and costs. This approach also gives the enterprise a holistic view of the ecosystem in which the software will operate in the future.


ERP Testing Ecosystem

As they say “A stitch in time saves nine’’


What if there is an absolute rush from the concerned stakeholders to go LIVE, which somewhere undermines the testing time and need?

Let’s understand the repercussions.


  • ‘We will fix it later’, does not make sense: It is important to understand how it works in the actual environment, as fixing it later can lead to exhaustive tons of rework and could incur costs.


  • Test run for the users: Users need to get a hands-on experience with the software, which they are probably going to operate on a day-to-day basis. If the software goes LIVE without any practise, the users will have to dive in without any required training or hand-holding. This could lead to problems in handling issues and unnecessary consumption of time.


  • Plan for the outcome: If you have no plan and testing done to reach the desired outcome, it will lead to hiccups during the implementation. So, it is recommended to reach the finish line before you even start the actual race!


  • Check the Checklist: It could be a checklist or a task list. It plays a crucial role in testing all the aspects of the ERP solution and save you during error-handling situations. A meticulous review of this list along with the internal team is crucial.

The ultimate solution for this to devise a Test plan.


Whether it is a new implementation or merely an upgrade, the test plan helps you sail seamlessly through it and answers even miniscule queries such as:


  1. What is expected from the ERP solution?
  2. Do the users know their specific roles and responsibilities in the entire system?
  3. How can you collaborate with your ERP partner to develop a test plan and execute it effectively?


Though this might sound quite cumbersome, it will definitely ensure effective implementation, operational excellence, and a seamless experience for all the stakeholders.


Most importantly, it is best to plan for the worse. It is impossible to evade errors completely. However, expecting the worse and testing it, makes you more confident and market-ready.


Gallop holds extensive experience in ERP Testing and has helped clients get the best possible outcome by implementing the software in a test environment. This has significantly enabled them to mitigate risks and achieve cost-efficiency resulting in attaining Operational excellence.


Connect with Gallop experts to devise best in class ERP Testing strategy for your organization and experience a smooth transition.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Shift-right for ‘Performance Engineering’, a potent approach?

Shift-right for Performance Engineering

Whether it is a device, hi-end software or a simple application for the end user, flawless performance and seamless experience is at the core of every business venture. The market place is bursting with tremendous competition. In this challenging scenario, a strong testing framework and test strategy can indisputably get your application market ready.

‘Performance Engineering’ comprises a gamut of skills, tools, practices and activities at various stages of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). It ensures that the application’s Non-functional requirements are met. These non-functional requirements comprise all factors that monitor the overall functioning of the system rather than just specific behaviour types.

Performance Engineering is known for:

  • Improving the software/application speed and robustness without necessary rebuilds
  • Ensuring optimum performance from the existing systems
  • Enhancing application/software’s performance for commercial or business viability

Shift-left or Shift-right?

There is an exhaustive amount of discussion around adopting a Shift-Left / Shift-Right approach for Performance Engineering. With the shift-left approach, testing starts way ahead in the development process. The sheer purpose is to detect and check defects early in the SDLC. This helps reduce the risks and ultimately brings cost-effectiveness. The underlying purpose is to adopt an approach that focuses on prediction and prevention from the project’s inception.

Shift-right approach takes you ahead of the development curve, where the user experience and feedback is gathered post the development stage. This feedback plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall experience and gets your software / application market ready.

Basically, do everything right to get your software / application effectively in shape for the consumer / end-user.

So, how can Shift-Right testing approach hold more relevance for implementing ‘Performance Engineering’?

In today’s challenging market place, it is imperative to incorporate and consider user experience to confirm various aspects of the application / software, especially, user-interface, security, accessibility and ultimately ensure that the application / software delivers the intended business objective. Ultimately, this determines the success of the product in the market and how well it performs over a period of time.

Today, competition is all geared up to adapt the market trends and steal substantial share of your consumer base. For instance, Apple lost its customers to Android mobile devices after releasing iPhone in 2007. So, ensuring desired consumer experience is crucial across any business domain.

Shift-right for ‘Performance Engineering’, a potent approach?

User feedback and constant vigilance in the post development phase proves to be time and cost-effective, resulting in a robust and market ready product/application.

  • It helps boost business revenue by ensuring that the system works in tandem with the user experience.
  • It minimizes system failure and avoids the development efforts from getting wasted due to failure in performance.
  • It enables timely deployment of the system due to performance related issues.
  • It minimizes rework, waste of time, and efforts due to performance issues.
  • It brings down software maintenance costs that arise due to performance problems during production.
  • With constant check on the performance along with user feedback, the project is able to reduce Software maintenance costs.
  • Further it detects future hiccups and possible performance issues.

Finally, it is important to build a robust application/software that hits the market and makes big bucks. Experts also suggest that testing should be considered at a macro level, where it takes a holistic view on the development process. It’s like a game of chess; play it right at the right time. Moreover, it’s about having the right mix at the right time.

Performance is at the core of every delivery/product/application. Across industries and domains, experts are working toward enhancing performance for desired user experience. Shift-Right testing approach plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between development and users.

With a view to ensure quality, enterprises are constantly making efforts to automate repetitive tasks and minimize errors. This could be a bit off-track, a recent PWC report states that over the years manufacturing sector has gone through a revolution. Industrial robots are transforming the manufacturing sector. They are taking up a range of activities starting with mundane tasks to some high-end technical activities like testing or inspecting products, or assembling minute electronics. It is estimated that today 59% of manufacturers are using robotics technology for various tasks.


Eventually, this comes down to the core point that monitoring and ensuring precision in performance is key to every industry. This effort will be futile if user feedback is not taken into consideration. Gallop experts work with customers across industry domains to advise them on the most applicable testing approach. Connect with Gallop Solutions to get the right testing strategy for your business.


The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Manage Your Test Environment Better Using Service Virtualization

Challenges in Test Environment Management


Software solutions and applications cannot be developed in silos without considering the possible consumer / user environment. In the current consumer scenario, it is inevitable to consider all types of scenarios that might arise and pose a challenge for the software/application to execute and operate effectively. It is imperative to break down the silos to build a cohesive and an all-inclusive environment for development. By offering an emulated environment, Service Virtualization (SV) makes this possible for the overall development process.

Service Virtualization is an inventive approach offering developers and testers the space to test their applications in a constantly evolving environment. By adopting this approach, the entire application/database is not virtualized, it is only the behaviour that is required for the testers for used cases is created.

While originally, ‘Service Virtualization’ was conceptualised to direct the focus on emulating web services, the new approach towards SV significantly brings down the configuration time, data management efforts, and hardware overhead required for building up and managing a workable development and testing environment.

Testing Environment Management (TEM) with a boost of Service Virtualization is specifically apt for developing and effectively implementing enterprise class solutions and applications. As the testers on the project keep varying and at the same time the testing environment keeps on evolving constantly, there is a need to set up and manage a Testing Environment.

Moreover, dedicated Test Environment Management enables organizations to cut down on costs, achieve faster time-to-market, and meet desired quality standards.

Challenges in Test Environment Management

TEM offers developers a steady test environment for testing software/applications in a LIVE production environment and replicate bugs. These Test Environments need to be managed and kept up to speed with the sheer purpose to get the desired outcome and meet the testing requirements.

It is estimated and validated by experts; a major issue that teams face with their testing environments is its management, which consumes approximately 40% of software development efforts.

Following is a list of a few key challenges faced in the management of a test environment:

  • Regulation of test environments for serving ongoing and future projects
  • Implementing accurate capacity and forecasting demands
  • Creating a testing environment with heterogeneous assets
  • Effective resource allocation process and standards
  • Responsive, adequate support for any probable issues in the test environment
  • Consistently taking up onus for any activity in the test environment

It is observed that when the software development scenario starts getting complex, enterprises are pushed to choose between time and quality. However, Test Environment Management can be maintained even in this scenario, where some simple steps / practices can be adopted to keep up the quality and stability of the test environment.

Best practices by experts recommend that the initial step to build a sustainable TEM is to assign the ownership to an individual, team, or function. If the ownership is shared, it leads to chaos and mismanagement. Most importantly, it provides a single point of contact for people across the organization.

Benefits of Test Environment Management in Software production

Every investment is expected to produce an optimal ROI. Enterprises invest substantially in the development and sustenance of an effective and responsive test environment. So, it is essential to understand the best practises to seek the desired outcomes, namely, enhanced software quality, faster turnaround time, and quicker time-to-market.

Encapsulating and comprehending it further:

  • Rational selection and optimization of test assets brings down the testing cost
  • Standardized procedures for allocation and provision of test capabilities, test automation reduces testing time
  • A resourceful TEM team can optimize test requirements and test cases
  • A dedicated TEM team can develop test strategies and tools to enhance test coverage and quality
  • TEM facilitates the project test teams with acquisition, analysis, processing, and deployment of production-level data essential for conducting tests during the initial stages of development.

Environment Virtualization

Speaking of Environment Virtualization, Service Virtualization enables organizations at the infrastructure level, where any of the VMWARE compatible images can be made available on the cloud. Cloud services can be leveraged by enhancing scalability as per the requirement.

Unlike physical test environment labs, TEM in Cloud deconstructs the complexity of Test Environment configuration and capacity. It leverages the cloud by offering the clients on demand access to the test environments. This is offered without any resource constraints and also brings down the overall expenditure.

Service Virtualization offers an emulated environment with essential components that would be present in the final production environment, which allows complex applications to go through integration testing way ahead in the development process.  Moreover, it helps identify and cut down key bottlenecks that could delay production, turnaround time, and time-to-market for an Application Under Test (AUT).

What do we gather?

Specifically, when it comes to developing enterprise applications, the developer has to rely on various system component to work cohesively. This is exactly the space where Service Virtualization fits in the overall Testing ecosystem, wherein scenarios and components are simulated to offer a volatile testing environment.

Furthermore, TEM enables development and QA teams to readily access the specific environment and accelerate the development process. It further identifies test environment issues and helps evaluate its impact on the application at hand.

Is your enterprise is considering to implement a dynamic Test framework and well conceptualised Service Virtualization strategy? Collaborate with Gallop experts and implement effective SV practices to acquire higher ROI with faster time-to-market.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.