Capping IT Off

Capping IT Off

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The World Quality Report in Focus: Customer Experience is the New Competitive Battleground (Part 1 - Processes)

Quality Breeds Loyalty

It’s no secret that our “always on” world has taken business customers’ and consumers’ expectations to new heights, with both groups demanding that apps and services deliver peak performance and optimum reliability, with a consistently seamless, multichannel end-user experience. But how does this trend affect Testing and Quality Assurance (QA)?

As the World Quality Report 2014-15 (WQR) key findings clearly show, IT leaders are recognising that, in order to create a loyal customer base, they need high quality applications which deliver a great customer experience. Nothing turns off customers like applications that don’t work or are difficult to use or non-performant, all of which can lead to in lost customers and lost revenue.   As a result they need to boost their QA activity; which is why the total per centage of IT budget devoted to QA has risen from 18% in 2012 to 26% in 2014. The WQR also indicates that 15% of the most forward thinking C-suite executives are already spending 40% of their IT budget on quality-related activity, with 1 in 5 forecasting a rise to this level in the next 2 years. The rapid advancement of Social, Mobile Analytics & Cloud (SMAC) technologies, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT), has led to 53% of the overall test budget now being allocated to new development projects. In turn, we’re seeing a distinct shift away from maintenance projects, testing new releases of existing apps and integration initiatives.

We will take a look at how digital transformation and customer demands are driving changes in testing and development in this 2 part blog. In this, part 1, we examine how customer demands such as being greener, meeting industry regulations and saving costs give rise to the requirement for a change in process and an increase in QA test budgets. We will also touch on how globalisation and digitalisation are driving a hybrid QA and testing activity solution. In part 2 we will look at live examples of how some of the new SMAC technologies are affecting digital transformation projects and positively impacting customer experience.

The Smarter Path to Transformation

With their Energy Data Management project in partnership with British Gas, Vodafone has wisely capitalised on the fact that the Energy & Utilities sector has been greatly unsettled by reports that Global energy demand is set to double in 2050, causing concerns about climate change and giving rise to more restrictive regulations about usage and emissions. This, coupled with time to market pressures and the necessity for a good customer experience, have outstripped even cost saving as a competitive differentiator in the Utilities sector!

The upshot of these industry concerns is an increase in digital transformation projects focussing on smart metering and smart grid with the result that Energy & Utilities (and also Transportation) have shown the biggest industry increase in QA spending, at between 27% and 31%. Vodafone and British Gas have identified these areas as their customers’ greatest pain points and offered them bespoke energy solutions that use Machine to Machine (M2M) and mobile recognition technology to give “real time” electric, gas and water stats every 15 minutes! This improved granularity enables them to identify where and when energy is used in your business, pinpointing wastage and resulting in up to 20% standard energy and cost savings, plus up to 25% savings on carbon tax. The fact that Vodafone and British Gas both use the technology to monitor their own usage shows their belief in the initiative!

Digital Adaptation

The World Quality Report shows that globalisation and the necessity for digital transformation are dissipating the trend for the pure centralisation of QA and testing activities in favour of a more hybrid centralised and localised solution, facilitated by partial outsourcing to a 3rd party expert test partner. In house testing has decreased rapidly year on year, from 51% in 2012 to 41% in 2013 and 30% this year. This new hybrid trend promotes shared responsibility and, thankfully, enables a much better level and quality of responsiveness to the individual needs of the various different lines of business. 
Paypal only began to establish localisation at a very late stage of their development and quickly realised that their global services were not meeting customer’s expectations. They sought to improve the quality of their regional products so they could support millions of customers in over 190 countries, in their own language. The overriding goal was to increase their Net Promoter Score (customer satisfaction rating) so they could determine how loyal their customers are to their brand. Initially, with the help of an outsourced partner, they created a centralised team in Beijing with multilingual QA engineers to support Paypal’s centralised Global Localisation Team in testing their major releases and country specific features. In the last 4 years they have eliminated the vast majority of bugs, achieved full localisation and automation and transitioned a team from solely dealing with Language Quality to fully supporting global payments in 25 countries. Paypal now provides localised web and mobile services in 21 world markets.

Sogeti Solutions for a Smooth Digital Transformation

For clients who feel offshore delivery isn’t the right option, Sogeti’s UK lab, Sogeti Studio, coupled with the Capgemini Group's highly skilled web and mobile testing resources, provides you with access to close collaboration, local resources and devices, and the opportunity to see your applications being tested in practice. 
Look out for part 2 of this blog post on Digital Transformation and Testing with SMAC technologies.

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Darren Coupland

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