Best test management software for regulated industries

Software testing in regulated industries is a delicate matter. Even if your QA specialists don’t interact with real client data, their work requires an extra layer of security. In this article, we will look at the best tools that deliver it.

Best test management software for regulated industries

aqua ALM

Overview

aqua is an Application Lifecycle Solution. Although primarily designed with testers in mind, it can be used for all stages of software development. The solution covers all of requirements management, defect management, and project management. aqua has been in the business since 2013 with the parent IT consulting company andagon created over a decade earlier. aqua has a vast track record among QA tools for governmental sector with 7+ German government agencies among the clients.

Regulatory compliance

aqua has both Cloud and On-Premise versions and provides extensive logging functionality. It is the basic expectation from test management tools for regulated industries, such as government and banking. aqua also makes it a point to highlight all the certifications that they (help) adhere to:

aqua complies with regulations

Extra functionality

Dashboards

aqua offers real-time bar graphs and bar graphs that can illustrate any data, including custom fields. KPI alerts are also available, informing you when certain metrics (e.g. defect rate) exceed a threshold.

Reports

aqua’s reporting wizard comes with 7 templates but also lets you create fully customisable reports. You can pull any data from aqua as well as add any external text or imagery. The reports can be easily exported outside of aqua. 

Automation & integrations

aqua goes the sustainable route of providing third-party automation tools rather than (re)inventing something themselves. You can connect about a dozen TOP tools for automated testing out-of-the-box. There’s also a Jira integration to work with devs if they stay there and REST API support to hook any other tool. The oauth2 token authorisation for REST API integrations makes them suitable even when it comes to test management for government.

Migration & sustainability

Moving to aqua takes one day on average, and the company provides a free tool to do that. The client portfolio includes companies with millions of items, and aqua doesn’t crumble under the load.

Polarion

Overview

Polarion is, too, regarded by some as the best testing tool for regulated industries. It was launched in 2003 and acquired by Siemens in 2015. Polarion is an application lifecycle management solution as well.

Regulatory compliance

Polarion has both Cloud and On-Premise versions. They have solid logging functionality and even offer running self-audits on the log. Polarion specifically advertise fitting needs of the medical industry as well as helping pass BaFin audits and complying with MaRisk requirements.

Extra functionality

Dashboards

Polarion provides meaningful dashboard functionality with various charts and graphs. They also have a neat option to define the frequency of data updates to conserve server resources. Polarion dashboards lack KPI alerts.

Reports

Polarion’s reporting is limited to Time & Progress, Baseline, Work, and CMMI reports. There is, however, some level of flexibility if you pull the data you need via a query. Custom reports are reserved to tech-savvy people that can navigate Javadoc documentation.

Automation & integrations

Polarion relies on third-party tools for automation, but provides fewer integrations out of the box. The less-than-ideal documentation for them is one of the few complaints about Polarion. Polarion supports REST API as well.

Migration & sustainability

Polarion is relatively fast on migration with new clients confirming that it is a matter of hours or days, not weeks. The tool’s architecture, however, can be a deal breaker for huge projects: the Subversion-based backend makes the tool slower as the number of items grows into hundreds of thousands and millions.

QMetry

Overview

QMetry is a purely test management solution launched in 2012. It is the only non-ALM solution on our list. QMetry specifically mentions BFSI as one of their key verticals with Allianz among the client portfolio.

Regulatory compliance

Just like Polarion, they tick all the essential boxes, even if not as broadly as aqua does. QMetry also has the eSignature functionality that is mandatory for the medical industry but can also be appreciated in other domains.

Extra functionality

Dashboards

QMetry dashboards are somewhat simple, but pie charts and bar graphs get the job done. Just like with aqua, you can share a dashboard with others or keep it to yourself.

Reports

QMetry offers 14 types of reports. These will usually be enough for you, but you might want to check the full list if you’re used to something more custom.

Automation & integrations

QMetry iterates upon Selenium and Appium to provide a test automation solution of their own. It can also be integrated out-of-the-box with over a dozen third-party tools, such as Jira and Jenkins. QMetry supports REST API for anything else. 

Migration & sustainability

QMetry’s migration has a reasonable timeframe, with the company mentioning a big client moving 56 projects in 25 days. There are no widespread reports of performance issues plaguing projects with a lot of items. 

Conclusion

All three tools are top picks as test management software for regulated industries. They all provide a solid baseline with some nice-to-haves. Make sure to read up on some caveats (e.g. Polarion not handling big projects well), check out reviews, drill the salespeople if you have any concerns, and level up your QA. 

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