When testing complex software integration projects, developers often have to write huge volumes of test scripts. "In a true integration test there maybe tens or hundreds of thousands of testing steps in a script," says Antti Laine, CEO of Conformiq Software, a supplier of quality assurance and conformance testing tools. That equates to an extremely laborious task for developers.
By automating the process of script generation and running the tests for extensive system integration work, Espoo, Finland-based Conformiq claims it can significantly reduce the time to market for software products.
Conformiq was founded in 1998 to commercialise a complex software algorithm developed over ten years in Finland by government-funded research institutes and business partners, including KONE, a large Finnish manufacturer of elevators, and Finnish telecommunications equipment vendor Nokia.
Based on this technology is the company's core product Conformiq TG. Conformiq TG is server software, which automates the manual process of writing scripts. It also comes with tools to help developers analyse testing phases, making it easier for them to identify defective system behaviour and identify where more tests are needed, claims Laine.
The company is primarily targeting telecoms and manufacturing organisations, but is also trying to break into the financial services sector. A telecoms vendor, for example, could use Conformiq TG to test the connectivity of mobile handsets with its back-end servers, security standards or the latest mobile communication standard, such as the universal mobile telephony services (UMTS) network, or third-generation networks.
Despite its impressive technology, Conformiq has made slow progress. Its product will not be commercially available until later in 2002, although customers can license it after working first with Conformiq consultants. So far just six customers have done that.
The company will have to move fast, mainly because the US-based application modelling tool specialist Rational Software ominously has moved onto its radar, by acquiring Attol Testware, a French supplier of software generation tools, in March 2001. Also, to expand out of Finland and into other European countries, Conformiq will have to add to the €1 million in funding that it has already received.