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October 23, 2017

The fast-paced growth of digital is impacting businesses – IT departments need to manage the digital transformation of multiple portfolios, while maintaining the existing momentum set by digital. From a Quality Engineering (QE) and testing standpoint, it’s important to be both best-in-class and right the first time. In the digital world, competition is just a click away, and there are no second chances. Remember Pokemon Go, the location-based augmented reality experience that took the world by storm in July 2016, but could now be referred to as Pokemon Gone? The game generated immense interest, but was buggy and servers crashed on multiple occasions. The developers failed to engage successfully with customers, ignored their feedback, and made changes without considering the end customer’s needs. Pokemon Go has some important lessons for businesses, especially for development and QE units.

Usability cannot just be plugged in towards the end like an add-on feature. Design guidelines must be incorporated at the outset during user story creation. Along with analytics that measures development and deployment progress and success, alternate methods such as A/B testing (also known as split testing) are must dos. In some markets, accessibility testing is mandated by regulation. With data security and customer privacy gaining prominence, the good old performance and security testing cannot be ignored. Test data must not only be accurate, but also available at the right time, in the right size, and without compromising customer privacy. Additionally, replicating production data for testing, without the right level of masking and controls, is a big NO.

With digital, automation is default across units, including QE. On-demand assurance integrates with development tools and systems, and automates everything across the development and testing lifecycle – from environment and data provisioning to defect tracking, release management, and everything that falls under the Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) ambit. By enabling re-usability and seamless integration with enterprise systems, open source automation frameworks are making the business case for an integrated, end-to-end test value chain more viable. Techniques like scriptless test automation and seamless code deployment are gaining ground. Agile friendly test cases are enabling automated test execution. Mobile device labs and farms are enabling mobile testing across a range of browser, device and operating system combinations.

Digital’s most popular avatar, Artificial Intelligence (AI), is facilitating machine learning from past test data, intelligent defect prediction, automated root cause analysis, and proactive defect prevention. By auto-selecting most appropriate test scenarios and cases, these intelligent testing systems are enabling superior functional and non-functional testing, while increasing test coverage and reducing testing time, effort and cost. Armed with intelligent testing, testing teams can now detect defects 2x faster compared to traditional testing methods. Smart testing’s auto-generated, meaningful insights enable app owners and decision makers to develop self-healing IT systems. AI’s impact is not limited to on premise IT systems. On-field tests can now be triggered through mobile devices from remote locations, which is a boon for IoT testing in difficult terrain and adverse weather conditions.

With a focus on Agile and acceleration, digital is also driving big changes in the QE metrics and measurement space. In addition to traditional quality measures such as effectiveness and defect containment, QE metrics portfolios are according appropriate weightage to collaboration, backlog management and velocity metrics as well. Furthermore, regulatory and compliance metrics have made their way into the QE metrics space. As customer supremacy takes centre stage, metrics such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) are occupying premium positions on metric dashboards.

For QE, digital is an opportunity to innovate, scale, transform, and most importantly, embrace automation at an unprecedented pace. QE will then be able to manifest digital’s smartness and match up with Agile’s acceleration. My fellow bloggers at #ThinkAssurance are doing their bit to share their learning, best practices and guidance. Future #ThinkAssurance posts will focus on modern QE systems that connect the dots between conceptualization, implementation, and ultimately customer engagement, experience, satisfaction and delight. Because that’s what matters!

Nagarjuna Prabhu heads the Marketing, Analyst Relations & Alliances functions in TCS' Quality Engineering & Transformation (QET) group. He has been instrumental in ensuring market leading position for Quality Engineering in various analyst surveys for more than 4 years. He has worked extensively on building an ecosystem of partnerships with leading and emerging third party product companies that has enabled TCS to develop innovative solutions in Quality Engineering.


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