How can QA deal with the challenges of Digital Transformation?

Can technology cease to surprise customers?

The services delivered by hovering drones, speaking robots, virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa, and smart home devices such as Amazon Echo and Google HOME are no more a surprise element for the end users. Customer expectations are increasing by the day, and it’s getting trickier to deal with these growing demands and ensuring a flawless experience. Quality Assurance (QA) and Software Testing have been enabling organizations to effectively adopt new and emerging digital technologies and ensuring desired customer experience. Hence, leading enterprises and top ranking CIOs are focussing specifically on QA to successfully implement digital transformation initiatives for their business requirements.

Impact of Digital Transformation on QA and Testing

With reference to customer-centric approaches to Digital Transformation, a new study has been conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of consulting firm Ernst and Young LLP (EY). In the report, Yang Shim, EY Americas advisory data and analytics leader for financial services, mentions, ‘An unrelenting focus on the customer allows companies to be innovative while satisfying customer needs and meeting financial criteria such as increasing revenues and profitability. The performance gap is huge between companies that take a more comprehensive and customer-centric approach to digital enterprise transformation and those that focus solely on cost reduction.’

Compelling customer experience is critical for businesses to sustain and compete in the current market scenario. All the possible performance gaps must be mended to ensure that the expected experience is delivered. This becomes an impending challenge for the QA folks, who end up facing a new issue or complication each day. Digital transformation has substantially impacted the way QA and testing are performed, and the expected results achieved.

QA is no more an activity that is conducted towards the end of the development cycle. With adoption of digital technologies, there is a growing need to conduct continuous testing and continuous integration. This implies that testing and development has to be a collaborative activity rather than testing being a sequel to the development process. Speed with quality is the need of the hour, which has influenced the way QA and testing are being conducted. Agile and DevOps practices are being adopted to ensure flexibility and accuracy for testing.

These practices can be implemented and results can be expected, but it is equally critical to set some ground rules to deal with the challenges that are thrown by the digital transformation initiatives.

How to not get blown by the Digital Transformation wave?

Digital transformation can be overwhelming for many organizations, as it impacts the functioning of almost every entity within the system. It can definitely help if certain fundamentals or protocols are established to deal with the uncertainties caused by digital initiatives. For instance, assume that a traditionally operating organization decides to go digital and adopt application-based mapping of various functions. It might create uncertainty and chaos. But if there are certain ground rules and processes set for the transition, it can definitely help in the process and ensure quality.

Create new roles for Testing

As the testing needs change, new roles are created to manage distinct functions and business operations. Roles such as Software Development Test Engineers (SDETs) are being created to address some fresh needs. These new roles are necessarily a bridge between development and testing, boosting collaboration between the two functions. Creation of these roles must be encouraged, as it will ensure business value and bring maturity to the quality assurance process.

As digital initiatives of an organization increase, the demand for these roles will only rise. Quality assurance will become much more integral to the organization’s functioning and existence.

Address the talent gap

Taking a cue from the last point, it can be accepted that digital transformation initiatives will need inventive ways for resolving issues and bugs. A tester with traditional ways might not be in a position to deal with such offbeat issues. Hence, organizations will have to train and retrain their resources to develop the IT skills and expertise to deal with the new technologies and support the transformation process. Nurturing new practices could be the best possible way to deal with random changes within an organization.

Quality Transformation for smooth Digital Transformation

If quality has to be ensured throughout the organization, it is important to implement quality transformation initiatives. This implies that there are set protocols and schedules to deal with regular quality hassles. It will ease out the excessive one-time efforts for teams to resolve issues and make it a seamless process to follow.

Leverage Test Automation platforms, bring velocity

If you need speed, you need automation. Organizations are leveraging Test Automation platforms to smartly address their testing requirements. It further helps them to achieve their DevOps and agile goals, and bring down their testing efforts. Digital transformation needs substantial amount of automation, hence, it is recommended to select a tool that fits your IT requirements.

Encourage Feedback mechanism

Digital technologies can work for you if there are open communication channels and the feedback loop is kept active. Swift inclusion of feedback is a key aspect in the digital evolution of any business. Approaches such as shift-left encourage teams to incorporate the feedback and even enable organizations to identify issues way ahead in the development cycle.

Over a period of time, organizations have realized that digital transformation cannot be successful without an overall business transformation. Every function of an organization must amicably deal with the changes caused. Business transformation is practically impossible without implementation and adherence to rules and protocols. That’s the way QA and testing can deal with the mushrooming challenges posed by digital technologies.

Can there be a permanent and definite solution? Guess not.

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