In today’s business world, software is everywhere. In the whole process of software development, testing is a phase that is often overlooked. Everybody assumes that once the software is developed, it will work flawlessly. However, this is rarely the case.
Why do we test software? We test software to find bugs, i.e., errors in code. Testing is successful if software defects and/or security issues are found in the process of testing. If bugs are found and fixed well before the product is released to the customers, then testing has paid off to achieve the requisite software quality.
As more businesses move to provide online services, the need to invest in software testing becomes an ever increasing necessity. In fact, analysts forecast that the global software testing market will grow to USD 55.3 Billion by 2021.
In light of today’s reality, we are delighted to present Sixsentix – a leading provider of Software Testing Services, QA Visual Analytics and Reporting – helping enterprises accelerate their software delivery. Its unique risk-based testing methodology and QACube for testing analytics and reporting, deliver unprecedented software quality and QA visibility with faster time-to-market.
Sixsentix was incorporated in 2013 and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.
Interview Excerpt: Filip Milikic, CEO/Founder
Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
Sixsentix Serbia was established in 2012 as a Nearshore Testing Center, and a year later we founded the Headquarters Company in Switzerland. By 2014, we commenced the development of QACube, a software quality assurance platform, delivering analytics and reporting for software testing. That same year, we added an office in Austria to provide testing services to one of the largest banks in the region. In 2016, we expanded our offering to the United Arab Emirates.
Back in 2013, I recognized the problem that software testing was not being taken seriously. Most organizations believed that if you had the right software testing tools, you could test anything and everything. However, business processes had already grown so complex that we could no longer test everything using manual testing. With a traditional approach, clients were running out of time, money, and resources and still could not meet their testing objectives for high software quality.
Based on testing projects we had completed in large complex environments, we knew that testing tools alone were not the solution. In fact, the recipe for optimized efficiency and effectiveness needed to include a team of experts for agile software testing, which we named SWAT, with the right skills, a superior risk-based methodology, and extensive test automation. ‘No matter which testing tool you use, if you lack the right skills and methodology, you will not be successful’. Even today, these remain as the biggest challenges in software testing.
To solve this problem, Sixsentix introduced a highly successful testing methodology designed specifically for agile software development. We considered how we could make our testing teams fully autonomous with the right skills on the team and launched new high-value agile testing services.
What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?
The biggest challenge in the early days involved contracting issues. It was extremely difficult for us to become a direct vendor of a large bank or financial services company. To overcome this challenge, we needed to instill customer confidence in our ability to execute as well as work through established partners. In addition, our direct competitors were about 100 times our size. So we had to be highly skilled, more innovative, and proven, in order for enterprises to engage our testing services.
Establishing a Nearshore Testing Center of Excellence in Serbia, a non-EU Country, was challenging, and resource-intensive, yet it has been one of our most successful initiatives.
Getting clients to move to our testing methodology, and adopt an agile mindset, was also a key challenge as we were five years ahead of our time. Managing profitable growth as a private company, while using a self-funded business model, has been equally challenging, but we have made it. Of course, it’s a challenge to build a great team with the right people, but this is also our core competency.
Customer service varies, but companies can still be successful. How do you maintain your customers’ trust and loyalty?
Our SWAT, agile software testing services, is autonomous with having the right skills on the team, typically working side-by-side with our customers, both on site and with the nearshore testing teams. Challenges can arise; however, we pride ourselves on providing professional software testing engineers who can quickly propose viable alternatives in order to solve testing problems. This saves a considerable amount of time, and clients see the benefits immediately. The Sixsentix agile testing teams drive measurable value for our clients, resulting in trust and customer loyalty. We ensure that every customer team knows how to optimize our client’s investment. In one case, we even automated ourselves out of a project. With our value-based approach, we have been able to achieve a 98 percent customer retention rate in a highly competitive environment.
What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s reputation?
We have built a reputation as a company that provides proven value based on real-world experience and our highly professional agile testing approach. This reputation differentiates us from other service providers, including the global players. The company is on a mission to change the software development industry to improve software quality and DevOps performance.
If you have to list five factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?
Our biggest assets are our people and our innovation. I thought about the five factors, and it always comes back to having the right team, with the right skills, and empowering them so that they can do their jobs better, faster, and deliver continuous innovation. Our people are constantly on the lookout for new ways to automate and change the primarily manual landscape of software testing to one that is 95 percent automated. We do this in order to increase test coverage, which lowers the risk of software failure and improves software quality. Innovation is the driving factor of our success, and you can’t steal an innovative culture. It’s either in your DNA or its not. It’s the reason why we will continue to out perform our competitors. In fact our competitors may end up being our partners. Our people and our continuous innovation in software quality truly make the difference.
Do you have any new products ready to be/getting ready to be launched?
We are preparing to launch Agile Coaching for customers as many want to change their traditional approach and improve their outcomes in DevOps, including software testing. The coaching encourages clients to make improvements in their internal development operations way beyond software testing. We are currently delivering Agile Coaching in one of the largest postal financial service organizations in Switzerland with excellent results for optimization. In addition, QACube’s latest release for software quality has just been launched with new analytics features and functionality specifically requested by some of the world’s largest banking and financial services companies
As a question on sustainability, where do you see your company in a couple of years?
The software testing market is growing by 12 percent per year to 55.3 Billion USD by 2021, according to Technavio. Therefore, there is alot to learn and much more innovation ahead. We will continue our growth trajectory and enter a new international market each year. Our current customers and partners have locations in other countries, and we will join them.
The Man Behind The Operation: A Brief Background
Filip Milikic: Filip Milikic is a dynamic leader who has built up an organization of 170+ staff members along with a highly qualified and capable management team. Since 2013, Mr Milikic has grown Sixsentix by over 280 percent, in five locations, and was named one of the fastest growing companies in Europe and in Switzerland. Filip Milikic has the vision to disrupt the software testing market and the ability to hire and retain the finest talent in the testing industry.