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April 22, 2016

With capability to transform businesses and offer superior customer experiences, Digital Reimagination is becoming a top priority in business and technology strategies. TCS CEO, N Chandra says, Digital is no longer an option. Its a default. And this default is compelling businesses to change – not just ways of working, but also perceptions and mindsets.

Global businesses are reimagining their business model, products and services, and more, through the strategic deployment of a combination of the digital five forces (i) Mobility and Pervasive Computing, (ii) Big Data and Analytics, (iii) Social Media, (iv) Cloud Computing, and (v) Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics. This Digital Reimagination, in turn is driving growth and profits.

The pace of change and innovation across industries is so fast that companies can't afford to innovate only once. The need to innovate rapidly also demands that the QA and testing function evolve, moving from traditional to contemporary practices that enable businesses to make the best of their investments in digital. However this isn't an overnight task, and a reimagined QA and testing function rests on three pillars – Process, Technology and last but not the least, People.

The Process front calls for the adoption and alignment of approaches that facilitate first-time-right – with DevOps, Agile, and Continuous Integration and Delivery being the most popular. But it's not just enough to change the traditional and adopt new processes. Test process strategies must be focused around customer experience. Testers must test with an exploratory mindset, apply diverse perspectives and approaches, and when required, even question functional design. This earlier post on exploratory testing shares interesting insights on this aspect.

Next, tools and Technology must be leveraged for a superior 'always-on' customer experience. Continuous innovation is not just the hallmark, but also a pre-requisite for continuous integration. The innovation ecosystem in organizations must be supported not just with financial budgets, but also with adequate and efficient infrastructure for collaboration. Only then can the Dev and Ops barriers be broken without causing chaos in production. And QA must supervise this barrier breakage, by seamlessly integrating itself in Dev and Ops. Transforming to a mature state can be achieved by embracing tools that support the core practices of CI-CD (continuous integration – continuous delivery), making the process more efficient and error-free.

Finally, People – quality and testing professionals have an anchoring role to play and need to collaborate with development, operations, and business teams much like an internal DevOps implementation for IT. The age old saying practice what you preach is more relevant now than ever! New testing roles such as quality engineers must not only focus on certifying quality but aid the other teams in enabling quality practices upstream rather than testing code and screens after the fact. The tester role must be reimagined as assurance strategist.

I'll be discussing these three aspects in detail at the Test Leadership Congress at New York, on April 27, 2016. My session, 'Reimagine Your Assurance Function in the Digital Era' will focus on how these three pillars can facilitate digital reimagination and re-shape businesses. This will be a good opportunity to discuss emerging testing trends, discover new ways of reimagining assurance and testing, and exchange insights and views with you.

These conferences offer me a great opportunity to connect with peers, learn, and ask questions. If you are in New York on April 27, block your calendar, and let's connect then. Look forward to interacting with you at the conference.

Shankar leads the Banking and Financial Services vertical in North America for the Assurance Services Unit of TCS. He has over 23 years of IT experience in program delivery, leadership and project management with specialized skills in testing. He has successfully led end-to-end life cycles of client transformation programs including establishment of Integrated TCoE operating models in large client organizations with both waterfall & Agile methodologies.


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