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Reimagining Assurance- The Evolution of Assurance as a Value Center

 

This Point of View discusses how the emphasis on superior customer experience is leading assurance organizations to transform themselves from cost centers to value centers, to meet the changing demands of the digital consumer in this Digital Reimagination™ era.

Enterprises are embarking on the path of Digital Reimagination™, which involves reimagining the business model, products and services, customer segments, channels, business processes and workplaces. All this, by leveraging the Digital Five Forces of mobility and pervasive computing, cloud, Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, and social media.

Approximately seventy percent of companies participating in the 2014 TCS Global Trend Survey – ‘The Road to Reimagination: The State and High Stakes of Digital Initiatives’ rate digital initiatives as important or most important to their success.

Under these circumstances, IT functions are under tremendous pressure to quickly deliver projects aligned with business needs.

Within IT, assurance (QA and testing) organizations play a key role in assuring that the implementation meets the needs of the business and end customers. Hence, it is important that assurance organizations reimagine themselves to live up to this demand and focus on the following areas:

  • Customer experience assurance
  • Accelerated assurance cycles and speed-to-market
  • Technology driven assurance
  • Workforce enablement

Customer experience assurance
Today’s assurance organizations are moving towards becoming the guardians of customer experience. Traditional testing metrics related to test coverage, defects and test effectiveness do not objectively assess the confidence level in deploying a release into production. To overcome this, organizations now rely on new metrics such as Earned Business Confidence, which plays an important role in objectively correlating the impact of testing to the business outcome or customer experience.

Accelerated assurance cycles and speed-to-market
Today, the focus is on how assurance can help in reducing the overall speed to market beyond the assurance cycle. Organizations are embarking on two key aspects to achieve this:

  • Automating the entire test value chain, including test design and industrializing overall testing activities in a true factory model
  • Focusing on overarching areas between Development-Assurance-Operations team such as release automation

Also, release automation ties-in closely with day to day assurance activities. Especially in the adoption of the DevOps delivery model, automation across the value chain becomes very important.

Last but not the least, achieving accelerated speed-to-market is not easy. Yes, they are moving towards developing custom code - and not just leveraging out of the box tools or functionalities - to automate.

Technology driven assurance
CIOs, CDOs, and CMOs often invest heavily to revamp the technology architecture with the goal of simplifying and enriching its throughput to meet the goals of Digital Reimagination™. These technology refresh programs largely focus on niche assurance areas such as high availability testing, structural code quality, fail over testing, and so on. Given that these types of testing are not very common, assurance organizations need to embrace newer tools and techniques to deliver them.

Workforce enablement
Reimagination will not be complete without the practitioner’s viewpoint on the workforce enablement required to drive these themes.

This covers aspects such as defining newer roles, novel ideas to cross-skill and/or up-skill assurance associates, and promoting the belief of being part of the assurance community. This requires substantial organizational change management and mindset change within the team.

A leading retail organization has gamified the whole workforce enablement process with an interactive curriculum and a scorecard that looks like a racing car’s dashboard.

The pace of business growth continues to accelerate, leaving lesser margin for error than ever before.

The assurance organization can no more be considered a cost center. By leveraging assurance as a strategic partner from the earliest stages of process and product development, businesses can realize real value. Companies can meet their ‘first time right’ objectives more efficiently, guarantee superior end-customer experience, adopt shift left techniques and reduce the overall CoQ.

Related:
Blog:
Stop Measuring IT Cost. Start Creating Business Value