In search of smarter, automated QA and testing processes in the TME sector
The highly customer-driven telecom, media and entertainment (TME) sector is automating its QA and testing processes at pace, according to the latest World Quality Report from Capgemini and Sogeti, in partnership with Micro Focus, published in November 2020.
From high time-to-market pressures and a growth in the installed base of internet of things (IoT) devices, the quality assurance (QA) implications for TME companies are clear. They need to test faster, and they need to test more. So, it’s no wonder that one of this sector’s most important objectives in the latest World Quality Report survey was to make QA and testing a smarter, automated process. This was rated highly by 70% of TME participants, against a survey-wide average of 62%.
When you consider the complexity of telco systems, which are highly coupled from the back to the front end, the value of test automation becomes even clearer. It’s almost impossible to isolate a system in this environment. What’s more, these systems are disparate, and while many of them are new, some of them are legacy, which introduces integration challenges that must be addressed from a QA perspective.
Growing use of agile and DevOps
Releasing new software ahead of the competition is important for competitive advantage, and TME companies cite better control and transparency of test activities, along with a reduction in test cycle times as benefits of their test automation efforts. Yet, fewer of them (when compared to other sectors) reported reductions in test costs or better test coverage. This situation might improve when, as 57% of TME respondents declared, there is greater use of model-based testing tools.
It is impossible to talk about QA and testing without referring to how the applications being tested are developed. To start with, TME companies reported higher-than-average ratings for the completeness of their testing, the sufficiency and availability of their tools and methods, the achievement of end-to-end automation, and the clear definition of requirements. There was a gradual rise in their use of agile and DevOps environments, although 53% of TME respondents said they had difficulties with aligning the tools for automated tests, and 48% had a lack of professional test expertise in their agile teams.
The impact of COVID-19
With the survey for the latest report being conducted in June and July 2020, the impact of COVID-19 was already being felt. Externally, for instance, many customer organisations had to reconfigure their call centers to enable staff to work from home, which had significant implications for QA teams. Internally, we saw many capex projects being shelved to free up budget for fixing operational issues. It was also interesting to observe the extent to which TME organisations seemed to be re-evaluating their approach and their goals in the context of COVID-19. For example, a higher-than-average proportion of them strongly agreed that they needed to empower teams with more responsibility for quality (82%), and that they needed to build a stronger QA community culture (87%).
Looking ahead, our findings suggest that TME organisations need to adopt a more strategic and holistic approach to quality assurance. The current tactical approach of swapping automated test tools in and out to see what works would be better replaced by more strategic working within a single, consolidated ecosystem.
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