Quality Assurance for quality care: A healthcare perspective

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies

The rate of adoption of digital solutions in the healthcare sector has expedited in the last few months, courtesy the global pandemic, severe shortage of healthcare professionals, and high volume of incoming patients.

The healthcare institutes are compensating for the low doctor to patient ratio by deploying sophisticated digital health platforms and advanced medical devices to maintain the same level of quality while attending to those in need.

The pandemic has disrupted the normal ways of doing things, from how we engage in social events to how we get treated for a simple flu. Several healthcare organizations cancelled all the elective procedures and stopped attending non-critical patients amidst the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

In such a situation, embracing the path of digital transformation remained the only resolution to maintain the ideal equilibrium between the healthcare practitioners and the patients.

Despite the fact that the journey of healthcare on the path of digital maturity has been really slow, it has garnered the necessary speed due to the situational circumstances.

However, amidst all the chaos and the hastiness to achieve a ‘normalized’ version, it is important not to compromise on the quality of care, and that is where Quality Assurance comes into the picture.

Healthcare software solutions need to be thoroughly tested end to end from the multiple aspects of performance, functionality, security, privacy, and regulatory compliance.

A groundbreaking medical devices company leveraged end-to-end quality engineering services

An innovative medical device company, dedicated to making the lives of people with diabetes and similar conditions easier, offers a unique alternative to traditional insulin delivery methods for people with insulin-dependent diabetes through their proprietary insulin management system.

With the objective of simplifying and customizing delivery of complex drug regimens, the client is focused on innovating groundbreaking medical device technology and improving the overall quality of life. Since the technology and device developed is first-of-its-kind, a novel approach to test it was required. This involved multiple types of testing including the formal Design Verification (DV) testing using both Manual testing & Test Automation for various mobile applications & devices, as also the Medical devices.

They were looking for an organization that could provide a robust framework for integrating software, mobile devices, and medical devices. As the devices were based on the emerging technologies, they lacked test processes and artifacts. They also required certification tests to be conducted to ensure that their device is compliant with the standard protocols and interfaces.

The client chose Cigniti for our deep experience in the emerging technologies and in executing end-to-end mobile application testing to ascertain seamless performance across multiple devices.

The Cigniti team automated the end-to-end testing environment utilizing our Robotics-assisted test automation solutions. We implemented a shift-left strategy and utilized in-sprint test automation for testing the functionality and monitoring the performance and security of the application across devices. We set up a robust test environment to conduct end-to-end testing of the mobile apps, insulin administration devices, simulators, etc.

We implemented QA best practices and process framework across STLC to streamline the testing processes and ensure delivery of continuously high-quality products for the client. Our precision regression testing approach drastically reduced testing time by more than 50% and accelerated time-to-market.

Read the complete success story.

To reach out to our healthcare and lifesciences software testing experts, schedule a discussion with us today.

Reintroducing the Workforce to the New “Normal” Post COVID 19

We are all very immersed in supporting our companies and families during this global pandemic. With this comes a new set of challenges, that we don’t normally see as business continuity professionals, but are well within our skillset and should be brought forth to the appropriate areas of leadership. The goal is to ensure continuity of operations, or organizational resilience. 

I would like to take a different approach to continuity, one that will hopefully become extremely relevant, soonEmployee comfort and security first, operational adjustments second. 

Read full blog post.

 

Innovation in Times of Crisis: Be the Hero for Your Customers

Written by Mike Welsh, Chief Creative Officer, Mobiquity

The old adage “necessity is the mother of invention” is truer now than ever before. As the world reacts to living through a global pandemic, we reflected on other times we’ve implemented creative solutions to survive. According to Hubspot, the following companies were created during the 2008-09 financial crisis:

  • Venmo
  • Slack
  • WhatsApp
  • Square
  • Groupon

These companies were created to help people and businesses navigate a difficult time. While popular opinion is that starting a company during a global crisis is a bad idea, providing the market with a resource that solves a new unmet need makes for perfect timing.

What technologies will define the COVID-19 pandemic?

There have been numerous ways that communities and businesses have stepped up to make life easier during a time with so many unknowns. Technologies that were just beginning to gain acceptance have quickly become mainstream and companies that already invested in these technologies easily transitioned to life with social distancing. That’s because they made contactless experiences possible so that employees and customers were safe from the coronavirus.

One of the biggest heroes to come from the pandemic has been curbside delivery and pickup. This offering has been a huge saving grace for many consumers who want to support their local restaurants and shops without putting anyone at risk. Companies with established programs have also benefited as consumers have shifted their usual shopping habits to digital ones.

In addition to curbside delivery, we’ve witnessed many other digital innovations gain speed as the pandemic enforced limitations on in-person interactions, such as:

And we predict we’ll see even more inventions as the months roll on. Companies that don’t have their own mobile app are finding that customers are turning to apps like Instacart, DoorDash, and UberEats to get what they need. While all of these experiences are good, business leaders have the opportunity now – while we’re deep in this global pandemic – to stand out by solving their customers’ unmet needs.

But what completely new technologies will emerge from the pandemic?

We don’t have a crystal ball, but past experience tells us to look for points of friction to uncover the birth of new technologies and companies. These include but are definitely not limited to:

  • Homeschooling – With millions of children likely to be engaged in virtual learning for at least part of the 2020/21 school year, how can leaders improve upon the challenges of remote learning? Cloud migration will likely be a key to success.
  • Social distancing – Having to consistently maintain separation from other people creates challenges that technology may be able to solve. How can companies help people accurately track who they’ve come into contact with for contact tracing? How could technology ensure they are maintaining the correct distance from others?
  • Transportation – What solutions can technology offer to alleviate transportation issues as more people work from home while others need to find new ways to get to work without public transit? Or if consumers must use public transit, how could technology help them make choices that keep them safe?
  • Access to food and beverages – While many companies have figured this out with curbside, some are still struggling. Specifically, the adult beverage industry has been challenged by the reopening phases. Digital identity verification could be a huge game changer for them.
  • Personal care – Getting a haircut has been a hot button topic. What companies or new resources will emerge to help people feel good during these challenging times?
  • Shopping and celebrations – As we approach the latter half of 2020, many are wondering what happens as we get closer to the holidays. What will companies do to be the hero for their customers during Christmas in the time of COVID?

What innovations will you implement to provide great customer experiences?

If you’re starting to think about how you can get innovative during the global pandemic, let’s talk. Mobiquity’s experts spend their days thinking about digital strategies, creative innovations, and transformations that will make consumers’ lives easy. Reach out today to get the conversation started.

Domain’s SenseIT IoT with SAP HANA and Microsoft Azure

Contributed by Domain Consulting Group, Inc 

Domain, a partner of SAP, is happy to announce the successful launch of their newest business-enhancing information technology solution: SenseIT IoT. SenseIT is a condition-monitoring internet of things application developed by Domain to help businesses track shipments and product handling conditions in real time. Using sensors from various manufacturers, we upload collected data to SenseIT’s cloud, standardize the record format and insert it into an SAP HANA database. SenseIT resides on a hyper scalable infrastructure on an SAP HANA database and Microsoft Azure. With SenseIT, Domain’s customers can see the exact location of the truck, plane, or train that is transporting their products, as well as the condition of the product, thereby protecting their valuable property in real time with precision and ease.

SenseIT is designed for both manufacturers and distributors. One of Domain’s customers, StyleCraft is a manufacturer of fine cabinetry who has benefited by using SenseIT in a shipment from Lancaster County to Dallas Texas. In this case, the company needed to determine how drawer slides were being damaged enroute.  By setting low thresholds for G shock levels, we were able to determine at what level they were being damaged so that they could be packaged properly.  SenseIT also set thresholds minimum and maximum temperature and humidity to protect the integrity of the wood and finish. A real-time map allows customers to visualize all active shipments geospatially, and by clicking on individual shipments, they can view sensor readings. If a shipment is distressed, SenseIT sends an instantaneous alert via email that includes time, location, and cause.

Another Domain customer, Triose, is a life sciences logistics firm affiliated with United Health Services, a major health care provider. Domain has successfully implemented SenseIT in Triose’s pharmaceutical shipments. Pharmaceuticals are expensive, perishable, and valuable.  But the true value is the patient need. In this case, SenseIT tracked many shipments of  a specialty medication valued at $7,000 to 9,000 per vial.  Each package consisted of the drug, ice pack, and sensor, sealed in a Styrofoam container.  It was important to maintain a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. With SenseIT, we can know the temperatures to 1/100th of a degree. SenseIT can assist in helping companies like Triose achieve effective cold chain procedures so that medications can be delivered uncompromised to patients in need.

After completion of a product shipment, SenseIT automatically produces a COPH, or a Certificate of Project Handling. The COPH lists shipment details such as start and stop date and time, maximum and minimum sensor readings, including GPS location of the product at the time of the message. The COPH provides our customers with concrete information with which to supply their customers.

SenseIT IoT can be used with its own portal or tightly integrated with SAP Business One, or in combination of the two. Soon Domain will integrate SenseIT with other enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) such as S4/HANA and Oracle Netsuite.

As you look to the future of your company, let Domain help you get there and maintain that edge using the knowledge provided by the SenseIT solution.

Domain specialists are looking forward to speaking with you and your colleagues about how this solution can greatly enhance your manufacturing or distribution business, making it even more profitable than ever.

Call (610) 374- 7644 Ext 7005 to learn more about Domain’s state of the art shipment and monitoring technology.

Domain Consulting Group, Inc    https://www.domain-group.com/senseit-iot.html

Pivoting Around Healthcare’s Coming Regulatory Shift Means Taking A Hard Look at Innovation Strategy

By Mark Hughey & Kurt Schiller, Arcweb Technologies

The past few months have seen enormous shifts in the healthcare industry, and expectations are higher than ever. From the sudden widespread rollout of telehealth services to the dramatic increase in virtual visits and patient mobile app usage, the impacts of COVID-19 on the ways people use technology to engage with their health cannot be overstated.

But there’s another tectonic shift on the horizon, one that’s been largely overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s the 21st Century Cures Act, a piece of legislation passed in 2016 and officially put into effect on June 30, 2020, and it contains a series of dramatic regulatory changes that will totally reshape the way technology of all stripes uses, stores, and shares healthcare data.

This act is opening the door for patient data-driven companies and products from every conceivable industry—but effectively taking advantage of this opportunity will depend on a company’s ability to rapidly, measurably, and above all effectively innovate.

Why the 21st Century Cures Act matters

In the United States, while patient data is strictly regulated for privacy and other factors by regulations like HIPAA and HITECH, the data itself is generally acknowledged to be the property of the medical provider, not the patient. That means that with few exceptions it’s been the prerogative of doctors and hospitals (and ultimately, the technology vendors who manage the data) to decide who gets access to that data, and how.

“Data blocking” is one of the main problems being targeted by the Cures Act. Under the new regulations, providers, insurers, and software vendors (such as Epic and Cerner, developers of two of the most widely used electronic health record systems) will be required to share that data through standardized interfaces like FHIR and HL7.

In other words, vastly more healthcare data is about to become much more widely available to almost any business, app, or product (provided customers agree to share it, of course).

Finding opportunity in regulatory change

Regulatory changes like the Cures Act represent tidal shifts in the norms of industry, and they can spell opportunity or disaster depending on how your company and your products respond.

Could you tap into healthcare data to give customers better insight into their health? Or could your products tailor their experiences to a patient’s medical history? Might doctors find value in receiving critical insights about their patients—your customers?

If you haven’t previously thought of your business or products as existing in the healthcare industry, these may seem like totally alien concepts. Of course, the same could once have been said for now-ubiquitous tools like GPS, mobile internet, or high-definition video capture, which have made incredible impacts on industries as wide-ranging as retail, logistics, and events management. The availability of consumer-ready patient data tools like Apple Health have already spurred investment into healthcare use cases, and the Cures Act stands to drive adoption a step further.

Whether it’s GPS or healthcare interoperability, these major technological shifts are coming faster and faster, and it’s increasingly critical that companies are able to capably respond to them.

Unfortunately, when it comes to these sort of dramatic innovation initiatives, the track record is not great. In 2017, a survey of 450 CIOs found that 80% of all innovation projects fail to meet company expectations or goals, regardless of the industry — and in healthcare in particular, the American Hospital Association found that more than half of all healthcare leaders lack a standardized process for determining whether a digital project succeeded or failed.

While your business may not have literal lives on the line the way a doctor or hospital does, the cost of a failed innovation project can be significant, both in terms of sunk cost and missed opportunity.

The solution is to completely rethink the way that companies have traditionally handled innovation.

Upgrading your innovation strategy

Responding to a major change like the 21st Century Cures Act is a classic example of the need for a workable innovation strategy. In our work within the healthcare industry as well as the larger technology space, the team at Arcweb has found that the key to a successful innovation strategy is to adopt a standardized, measurable, repeatable innovation strategy.

One of the most common mistakes made by organizations beginning innovation initiatives is over-committing to a single idea. It’s easy to see why: given the difficulty of establishing buy-in, allocating resources, and getting an innovation project off the ground, a “one and done” mindset is an appealing idea.

But before deciding to double down on a single idea, remember the 20% success rate of innovation projects: there’s a very good chance that your initial attempt won’t pan out.

The solution, then, is to establish an “innovation pipeline”: multiple projects, features, and initiatives, each of which is given only enough resources to validate the basic idea and determine whether it has legs.

Looking to develop a patient data-driven feature? Rather than rushing to market with your best idea, launch several possible features as small pilots, each with a limited audience and minimal features – then measure the reaction, and see which opportunity moved the needle. If one of these limited projects is succeeding, double down on it. If it’s not panning out, reallocate the resources to one of the successes.

The other half of the equation, of course, is determining what “success” means for each project. More revenue? Better customer satisfaction? Press coverage? The desired outcome will be different for each company, or even each project—but if your innovation isn’t measurable, it will be impossible to determine if it succeeded.

Whether it’s COVID-19, a new regulatory regime, or other industry-redefining events, the worlds of business and technology have always changed rapidly, and there’s every indication that they will continue to do so. Learning how to innovate effectively, measurably, and within a standardized strategy represents the difference between successful adaptation and failure.

After all, innovation is a tool. And a tool is only as good as our ability to use it.

How testing IP can offer desired business outcomes in digital transformation

Contributed by Cigniti

Digital transformation is an ongoing journey. It is an initiative in which an organization evolves its business processes, business models, and organizational culture to adapt with a digital-first mindset.

Digital transformation is about continuous learning and applying the lessons for continuous improvement. What used to be a slow and steady journey of constant feedback and evolution, has turned into frenzy with the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, in response to the changing competitive, regulatory, and consumer landscape, organizations are employing a band aid approach to digitization, leading to short-sighted solutions and failed transformation efforts.

The average digital transformation stands a 45 percent chance of delivering less profit than expected, suggested a McKinsey research.

Diego Lo Giudice, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester says –

“There’s a connection between the different transformations and digital excellence. For example, what is it that makes a digital transformation successful? It’s software, and it’s the way you build, deliver, deploy, test and do all that to the software. There’s a need for excellence, which we haven’t fully mastered yet. Today, many are just scratching the surface in terms of the advanced practices of Agile and DevOps.

There are three aspects to digital transformation that Diego suggests:

  • Businesses must master digital to stay in business
  • Software powers the digital experience
  • Software execution excellence equals business execution excellence

These three inter-laced aspects of digital transformation points to the necessity to employ mature software testing processes to test more, test better, test faster, and test smarter.

The key to successful digital transformation is continuous testing that leverages next-gen smart automation technologies to deliver quality at speed in every release.

IP-led testing services

Kalyana Rao Konda, President at Cigniti Technologies, elaborates on the key components that organizations must master to successfully make the digital transformation effective –

“When it comes to the role of testing in the context of digital transformation we have to approach it from two different aspects – one is the skill set and another one is the mind set. As more and more organizations are moving towards digital transformation, the aspects of early testing and utilizing test automation in an optimum manner are very key components.

BlueSwanTM – the next-gen software testing platform

BlueSwanTM, the next-gen proprietary software testing platform developed by Cigniti, is a composite suite of varied testing frameworks in which each platform is tailored to serve a range of challenges that organizations might face. It aligns the organizational goals with the prevalent trends, assures optimal performance of your chosen framework through continuous QA, and accelerates the migration process with its intelligent proprietary tools. It fortifies our IP-led software testing services approach along with the Cigniti 4.0 services and domain-centric approach for offering world-class testing services to business across the different verticals.

Cigniti & Forrester are coming together for our upcoming webinar on “Delivering business outcomes in Digital Transformation initiatives leveraging Testing IP”. Register to save your spot and listen to the two industry leaders offer a detailed understanding on the utilization of testing IP to achieve digital excellence.

Read the complete blog here.

The need for Next-gen technologies in the BFS sector

Contributed by Cigniti

With user experience as the central purpose of the transformation, the BFS industry is gearing up and accelerating the digitization of their core operational activities.

As per a report, 75 to 80 percent of transactional operations (e.g., general accounting operations, payments processing) and up to 40 percent of more strategic activities (e.g., financial controlling and reporting, financial planning and analysis, treasury) can be automated. The BFS digital transformation is being propelled by the introduction of next-generation technologies including Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Big data & Analytics, and Smart contracts.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the sector to take immediate measures for ensuring that everything is running smoothly, the transformation is still a high priority and is expected to be addressed as soon as the situation normalizes.

The Everest Group, in their recent article about the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the BFS sector, suggested, “As an immediate response to the current situation, designing and executing customer assistance programs should be the top priority for BFS firms. In the medium term, the firms’ focus should gradually shift to modernization of legacy systems that slowed down banks’ agility and ability to respond to this crisis. Post COVID-19, BFS firms will need to reimagine their products, pricing, and channel strategies to fulfill evolved customers’ expectations.”

The next-gen technologies coupled with DevTestOps and Quality Engineering practices enable the industry to deliver quality services at speed. We talked about the integration of banking and financial services sector with these advanced technologies for leading them on the road of innovation, productivity, and user-centricity in our new blog. Read it here.

In our very first Virtual Round Table Conference, we have gathered four eminent industry leaders who will talk about how exactly the next-gen technologies help the BFS sector realize quality at speed. Join Ritesh Jain (COO, CTO, Former Head of Digital Technology at HSBC), Dr. David A. Bishop (CEO & Founder at Agile Worx), Avik Ganguly (Director of Engineering, DevOps, & Quality at London Stock Exchange), and Nanda Padmaraju (Senior Vice President at Cigniti Technologies) as they engage in an insightful discussion about the adoption of next-gen technologies in the Banking and Financial Services sector. Register for the virtual conference now to get your free access.

Capital Advisors Group Survey Finds Venture Debt Lenders Are Open for Business

The COVID-19 economic slowdown has stopped many startups and emerging growth companies in their tracks, but lenders who provide needed cash to them during good times are still open for business, according to a national survey (Webcast: https://www.capitaladvisors.com/pressrelease/survey-finds-venture-debt-lenders-are-open-for-business/) conducted by Capital Advisors Group. At the same time, lenders have tightened conditions for approval of loans, requiring more assurances that borrowers are positioned to emerge from the crisis with operations and business models intact.

“Of more than 65 lenders surveyed, 92% said they are still closing deals and negotiating new opportunities for young, emerging companies seeking cash,,” said Stefan Spazek, Capital Advisors Group EVP and director of debt placement. “But requirements are more stringent, and typical timelines to close new deals will likely be extended.”

“Even if lenders are much more cautious during the next one to two quarters, the survey indicates that capital will continue to flow now and as we emerge from the pandemic,” Spazek said. “But it’s also clear that most lenders will be, first and foremost, concerned about investments in their existing portfolios.”

Challenges for a multibillion-dollar specialty debt market

Capital Advisors Group has been advising growth-stage companies on debt financing transactions since 2003. The survey targeted specialty lenders who operate in a multibillion market serving venture backed startups and emerging growth and lower-middle-market companies. Many are still in R&D mode or early product development in high-growth sectors, such as technology, biotech, and healthcare.

“Venture debt” is a broad term that refers to loans that help new and emerging growth businesses extend cash life beyond the venture capital they have raised to reach development milestones. Borrowers may not be profitable or even generate revenue in some cases and may need additional financial support to continue product development, rollout new products or reach profitability. Therefore, they often fall outside the boundaries of normal commercial bank lending criteria.

The market for specialty venture debt financing is estimated at between $10 billion to $20 billion a year in the U.S. Lenders include venture banks, public and private funds, credit arms of business development companies (BDCs), private equity and hedge funds, and other specialty finance companies.

Lending continues with more stringent requirements

Capital Advisors Group fielded the five-question survey in early April to determine how specialty lenders are reacting to market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lenders were queried on whether they are pursuing new deals and funding transactions already in the pipeline, if and how their underwriting philosophies have changed, if they are still traveling and meeting in person to close deals and, if not, whether they are finding alternative virtual communications options are sufficient.

Among the vast majority who are continuing to lend, most said they have adopted more conservative guidelines for lending. Comments from respondents indicated they are requiring that borrowers have plenty of cash on hand as well as supportive equity sponsors and strong enough balance sheets to raise additional equity and debt in the future.

Virtual transactions replace in-person meetings

When asked how disruptive the pandemic has been to their normal course of business, 77% stated more than somewhat disruptive, and 23% stated it has been extremely disruptive. Nearly all (94%) said they are no longer traveling for live meetings to close deals as they once did.

However, the survey also indicated that sheltering at home during the pandemic may be driving some acceptance of virtual deal-making. More than half of the respondents (58%) said video conferences and other means of communication are sufficient to close deals.

The biggest disruption in venture debt lending since 2008

Spazek said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant disruption in the venture debt marketplace, there is cause for hope that debt financing for growth companies will remain more readily available than in 2008.

“In 2008 and 2009, equity and debt markets virtually froze for the kinds of emerging growth companies we work with,” Spazek said. “But there is now far more capital in this space than there was then. And the COVID-19 crisis is not driven by the same kinds of fundamental breakdowns in the financial sector that we experienced during the credit crisis.

Building a truly Agile enterprise with QA

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

The clarion call to embrace digital transformation is accelerating the pace of software development. Development teams are under pressure to deliver software quickly in response to increasing customer demand. However, going to the market as a first-mover can backfire if your software is not quality-compliant. In a technology-driven world where customer experiences have become the final differentiator in staying competitive, QA is integral to the development pipeline. If your enterprise is not delivering digital experiences of high quality, you risk becoming alienated from the end-users. Further, your market reputation can be damaged and market share lost should your software turn out to be bug-infested. Surprisingly, to beat the competition, enterprises often resort to transforming their software development and delivery processes without prioritizing software quality assurance.

As a result, QA teams are often stuck with ineffective and legacy solutions that are part of the waterfall model. So, as long as enterprises use the waterfall model, their digital transformation journey is bound to remain incomplete. This is due to the fact that in the traditional software development process where software QA testing is done at the end of development and integration, there can be issues galore. The reasons for the issues to remain entrenched in the software are as follows:

  • In the waterfall model of quality assurance and testing, bugs often remain unidentified due to the constraints of manual testing.
  • Since manual testing is taxing for the software quality assurance services, especially concerning repeated regressive testing, testers can falter in testing every piece of code.
  • The scope of testing gets reduced, especially when it comes to testing the code on a slew of platforms, browsers, devices, and networks.
  • In case any bugs are identified, the cost and time required for their removal can be huge. This is because the process would then entail unscrambling the integrated software suite to reach the right bug-infested unit.

To overcome the inadequacies of the waterfall model, enterprises should adopt the agile testing approach. In this, the software development process is shifted left wherein QA is conducted alongside development and not afterward. Let us understand the process better and find out as to what it takes to build a truly agile enterprise with QA.

What is the agile testing approach?

In agile, enterprises aim at becoming robust and flexible to prepare for unexpected events, challenges, or even opportunities. It incorporates policies and procedures that are focused on driving speed and transformation. This way enterprises can achieve continuous delivery of quality software products and services, quickly and consistently.

Any agile testing service has automation at its core. It helps testers by allowing a test automation suite to conduct repetitive tests saving time and cost in the process. Moreover, since the test automation suite can run tests under various test conditions for any number of times, the chances of identifying bugs are significantly high. Besides, running test automation can release manual testers to be deployed for other critical jobs.

How to build a truly agile enterprise

Agile can truly be transformational, provided it follows certain procedures. Let us discuss them in some detail.

Involvement of stakeholders: Since every organization follows a typical ‘work culture,’ which may not be congruent to the agile scheme of things, stakeholders must be taken into confidence. This is important as status quoist working in silos may challenge any change. This can create roadblocks for initiating the change. To overcome such a situation, the management should articulate a clear vision and enable the organization’s culture to be aligned with the vision.

Break the silos: This is a follow-up to the entrenched ‘culture’ where people working in departments or processes (read silos) may not follow a similar process across the organization. The agile process should take explicit steps to get rid of such silos and streamline the overall working environment. This entails better communication that is aligned with the vision of the organization.

Communication at the heart of scrums: In agile methodology, teams are supposed to follow processes that are transparent. To achieve the same, purposeful communication should be established across the scrum-led value chain.

Responding to change: Agile entails quick response to changes instead of following a fixed plan. The changes can come from customers’ feedback, the advent of new technologies, growing competition, or within the organization. So, in a ‘perform or perish’ landscape, agile will allow your enterprise to remain adaptable, sustainable, and result-oriented.

Conclusion

Agile has become a critical requirement for enterprises to remain competitive and cost-effective. It is arguably the way forward to address the changes that are driven by technology and customer preferences. QA has become the ultimate lynchpin upon which enterprises can ride their way to success or oblivion depending on the efficacy of their agile transformation.

Top Mobile App Development Tools for 2020

Contributed by Curotec.

Mobile application development is no longer an afterthought. Smart companies have moved to a mobile-first approach for both web and app creation, considering the features and functionality that will be most important to someone working on their phone or tablet before tackling the desktop version.

Whether you work for a mobile application development company or a company that is building an app for their teams or customers, it’s crucial to be aware of the tools that will make your job easier and ensure a better product. But mobile app development tools are constantly changing and evolving to adapt to device advancements, standards, and capabilities. We’ve compiled a list of modern tools that will help today’s mobile app developers create stunning and highly usable applications.

App Development Frameworks & Cross-Platform Development Tools

Xamarin

Despite being purchased by Microsoft in 2016, Xamarin remains cross-platform. It extends the .Net platform for mobile development and adds both cross-platform and platform-specific libraries, editor extensions, and support for XAML for building dynamic mobile apps using C#. Xamarin is free and open source.

Ionic

Ionic offers a number of tools for developers, including the Ionic Framework. This free, open-source UI toolkit for mobile development enables developers to create native apps for iOS, Android, and the web from a single cross-platform codebase.

Appcelerator

As its name implies, Appcelerator’s purpose is to accelerate the development of mobile applications for iOS, Android, Windows, and HTML5 applications. Pricing ranges from free for a single user to a Pro account with expanded features at $200/month. Enterprise licenses are also available. Appcelerator allows you to write cross-platform applications in JavaScript that run natively on devices.

PhoneGap

PhoneGap is Adobe’s answer to Microsoft’s Xamarin. Developers can use web development skills to create hybrid applications easily using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript giving you a single codebase to maintain. However, hybrid mobile applications come with compromises, so developers should consider the trade-offs of easy development and maintenance with reduced potential for functionality.

BuildFire

BuildFire marries no-code application development with custom development capabilities. It’s drag-and-drop interface makes it simple for devs and even business users to create interfaces quickly but also backs that with a developer SDK. BuildFire comes with hundreds of templates as well as plugins for common services like YouTube and Shopify.

Mobile Testing Tools

Experitest

Experitest is a powerful suite that offers mobile test development, execution, performance testing, and test analytics. Experitest integration with your IDE, allowing you to run Appium and Selenium test without changes. It works with a variety of testing frameworks, and tests can be developed in C#, Python, Java, Ruby, and more.

TestProject

Both cloud-based and free, TestProject is a community-supported end-to-end test automation platform for web, mobile, and APIs. As an open-source project, you can share actions with the community and leverage ones that other developers have built or download addons for the platform. And it’s built on Selenium and Appium.

Appium

Appium is a test automation tool for iOS and  Android versions from 2.3 and up. It’s open-source and supports a wide range of programming languages. It’s compatible with any testing framework. One of the most impressive things about Appium is the breadth of applications you can test, from hybrid and native applications to mobile web apps, making it a useful tool for web development companies that also do mobile development. 

Augmented Reality & AI Tools

Easy AR

The EasyAR SDK simplifies the development of augmented reality applications and functionality. With multiple subscription levels, app developers can use the SDK to create sparse and dense 3D mesh maps in real-time, track motion and relative positioning, and map and track 3D objects and planar images.

TenserFlow Lite

While TensorFlow opened machine learning to everyone with its open-source library, TensorFlow Mobile (and what will likely be its successor, TensorFlow Lite) open the world of AI for mobile development. TensorFlow Mobile gives developers access to functionality for speech, gesture, and image recognition, optical character recognition, voice synthesis, and object localization, and more. 

Geolocation & Push Notifications

Pusher

Pusher offers a number of tools to help mobile developers create rich experiences. Pusher’s APIs enable real-time communication features, including in-app chat and programmatic push notification. It’s cross-platform capabilities are offered through hosted APIs and offers automatic scaling and high volume throughput and batch processing.

Amazon SNS

Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (SNS) offers a fully managed solution for many-to-many messaging. Not surprising, but SNS can manage high-throughput, push notifications. It’s backed by AWS, so reliability isn’t a concern, and the system is heavily focused on decoupling publish and subscriber services.

Urban Airship

Urban Airship has been around for a while, but it’s still a top application to help companies reach their customer in the moment they are needed – what Google refers to as “micro-moments”. With Urban Airship’s push notification service, brands can reach out to customers with personalized messages that are specific to their actions and attributes.