The launch of new digital products is proving to be the key to survival for many businesses, allowing them to transform their business models and often enter new territories altogether.
Truly successful digital products come from companies that leverage the combined capabilities of the digital five forces to fundamentally reimagine their business and industry.
Quality assurance can play a key role in helping organizations traverse this new space. The following sections in TCS’ point-of-view, present a comprehensive assurance framework to ensure digital product quality and evaluate approaches on how the assurance organization can evolve as a business custodian. We also look at the journey of an information services company's launch of their digital content platform and how quality assurance was a key enabler of their success.
Planning Digital Product Quality
Now, more than ever, an 'assurance strategy' is critical when dealing with a digital product – what is the product expected to deliver; how will the customer like to use it; how many channels will the product span; what are the media and content formats involved; and so on. However, with digital products, the challenge often lies in achieving unified vision across the enterprise. This also applies to assurance – digital products need a unified assurance strategy and consistent execution of it.
To ensure comprehensive and consistent assurance of the product, companies need to develop a structured approach or framework that they can follow for all digital product launches.
Certifying Digital Product Quality
Quality assurance and testing can no longer function as a post-development exercise, but needs to be woven into the entire product development value chain, across functional, operational and customer experience aspects.
Some of the imperatives that the assurance organization needs to build upon for comprehensive digital quality are:
- Operational Quality: Operational quality addresses ISO standards requirements and includes aspects such as:
- Portability or mobility
- Product benchmarking: One of the key aspects of digital product certification is to ensure the product behaves better than competitive products or earlier versions
- Structural quality: Critical quality features of a digital product are its scalability, robustness, resilience, security and delivery of desired throughput with higher performance.
Delivering Superior Customer Experience
The challenge when designing and developing a digital product is viewing the functionality through the prism of holistic customer experience. It has often been found that despite launching a functionally sound product in the market, it is not accepted by customers. Customers expect their digital experience to be user friendly, fast, productive, as well as continuous over the entire experience cycle.
Assurance teams need to build their customer experience assurance framework around the following key themes:
- Ease of use
- Global standardization
- Cross-channel integration
- Business process automation
- Integration with social media
- Ensuring Faster Time to Market
Customer acceptance in the digital economy can be fickle with fast evolving technologies and innovations in customer engagement. This has led to accelerated launch cycles of products and services, with offerings being released in the public domain in small, compelling pieces, reaping the benefits of early and ongoing end user feedback. A low entry barrier for smaller, niche players also brings in cost pressures for larger organizations as they need to ensure that their offering can be launched at competitive prices.
In this context, assurance plays a vital role in the successful and quicker release of digital products. We look at two key transformations that can enable an assurance organization to deliver greater quality in lesser time:
- Closer integration of development and assurance
- Holistic automation
With a broader and transformed approach to its role, quality assurance can be a game changer in the launch of digital products; in fact, a robust assurance strategy is critical to their success. While the changes are still largely evolutionary across most companies, considerable effort is already underway, and businesses need to start working towards these transformations to be able to compete successfully.