Creating an Effective Digital Test Strategy - World Quality Report Recommendations
With 66% of organisations having now appointed a Chief Digital Officer, up from 48% last year, it’s clear that digital is now a priority at a senior level for the majority of companies. Indeed 60% of the overall QA and Testing budget for new developments is being spent on digital solutions such as mobile, cloud, business intelligence (BI) and the Internet of Things.
~ Written By Lara Irwin
With 66% of organisations having now appointed a Chief Digital Officer, up from 48% last year, it’s clear that digital is now a priority at a senior level for the majority of companies. Indeed 60% of the overall QA and Testing budget for new developments is being spent on digital solutions such as mobile, cloud, business intelligence (BI) and the Internet of Things. This is a slightly worrying increase from last year’s figure of 53%. The interesting thing about this is, the World Quality Report (WQR) findings show that digitalisation itself is not driving up the cost of testing, but rather the increase in expenditure is due to failure to create and execute an effective digital test strategy that genuinely improves business outcomes like time to market and time to value. Here are some of the main testing challenges the new CDOs will be up against and some recommendations on how to deal with them.
The Man with 2 Brains
Organisations are rapidly adopting Bi-modal IT and each mode requires a different QA and testing strategy. Within the first more traditional, risk-averse, stable branch of IT, Testing Centres of Excellence have enabled a good level of testing maturity and effectiveness. Conversely in the more fluid, decentralised, agile, digital mode of IT operating in a DevOps environment we are seeing an upward swing in the challenges to achieving the desired levels of innovation, quality, speed and customer experience. The main barriers are identifying and prioritising what should be tested and when, creating multiple, reliable test environments that genuinely reflect the end usage and using automation in the right way to see a good return on the investment.
You Put Your Left Leg in…
“Shift left” has been a buzz word for a long time now, but with 88% of companies now working (at least to some extent) in a DevOps environment it’s essential that it’s actually put into action. Organisations need to integrate quality assurance and testing into every project from the outset and at every step of the DevOps lifecycle to push agile and lean ways of working right through to the deployment phase.
Similarly, everyone has been extolling the virtues of automation for a long while but, in this new DevOps world where velocity and agility rules, it is a necessity to prevent testing from becoming a bottleneck in development. The best way to approach this is to shift left and involve the test team in the initial stages, but to then take a right turn towards continuous testing and virtualisation to provide a flexible environment. It’s essential to accelerate your cloud journey and start to use the new cutting edge predictive analytics tools to mine data, map customer use cases, analyse the root cause of defects and the coverage and efficiency of test sets and identify anomalies. This test-driven, intelligence-led approach enables a more risk-averse, business-aligned strategy which will overcome the main barriers, assist the move away from manual testing and pave the way for the future of machine intelligence.
The velocity of agile and DevOps can also make it very difficult to gain insight into the bigger QA picture. To combat this the WQR recommends creating simple balanced scorecards that provide a centralised system for determining quality and speed for each line of business, application and process. Page 13 of the Report provides a simple outline for the minimum managerial performance and quality indicators required to achieve the desired results.
It’s like Thunder and Lightning
The most competitive businesses are accelerating their way to cloud at lightning speed now and this of course also has an impact on testing. The main cause for concern here is that 49% of this year’s World Quality Report respondents revealed that they do not yet have a specific cloud application test strategy. It’s essential to redefine your test strategy to accommodate your cloud migration and the specific risk profiles of cloud and software-as-a-service. For a deeper understanding of an effective cloud test strategy you can take a look at Sogeti’s Cloud Services here. Cloud is also one of the most important solutions to the challenges associated with Test Environment and Test Data Management which are resulting in spiralling costs and bottlenecks that slow down time to market and time to value. It is advisable to invest in virtualisation and cloud-based environments, managed by a dedicated TEM team and to establish service-based solutions for test environment and test data provisioning.
Just a Few of my Favourite Things…
The most obvious challenge the WQR uncovers relates to IoT. In spite of the fact that 85% of respondents use IoT products, a huge 68% of those do not currently have a proper IoT test strategy. It isn’t sufficient to assume that various manufacturers have tested component parts of the product and therefore it is secure, safe and liable to perform well. Businesses that don’t create an IoT specific strategy to include security, operational reliability, compatibility, installability, ease of use and performance, are risking their reputation in the marketplace. Few companies have the expertise and resources for IoT testing in-house so we have incorporated a comprehensive IoT testing suite into our Digital Lab, Sogeti Studio. IoT testing is an extension of our complete set of IoT High Tech and Engineering services. Take a look here.
Can’t Do Right for Doing Wrong
Challenges with mobile and multi-channel testing have increased in every area with the greatest being a lack of the right testing process or method, which has risen a huge 20% to 48% this year. The other front runners are a lack of an in-house test environment, insufficient time to dedicate to testing, and a lack of test experts skilled in mobile. Test teams need to be focusing on integration and asking pertinent questions such as: what does the ideal integrated user experience look like and how can we secure data sharing and storage? The WQR offers some excellent technical test strategy advice that is outside the scope of this post, but well worth a read.
Creating a test team with the right skills is a crucial success factor. For the agile organisation, don’t go for pure automation specialists, hire test environment and data management strategists. To facilitate TDD and BDD you need a skill set beyond functional automation with white box and virtualisation capabilities. The Report also proposes that one of the best ways to overcome all of these strategy challenges is to create a centralised Quality Management Office that can address the requirements of both branches of Bi-modal IT.
So it’s clear that as Digital continues to advance, test teams must learn to determine how QA and Testing can improve delivery of the top priority business outcomes from customer experience to revenue growth. This post has given just a few of the World Quality Report’s digital strategy challenges and recommendations; for a more detailed analysis of the current state, the barriers to success and the best methods of overcoming them, you can download your free copy of the World Quality report here.
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0330 588 8200