Will Software Testing Prove Digital Transformation’s Achilles Heel?
“MarketsandMarkets research estimates the global digital transformation market is expected to grow from $150.70 Billion in 2015 to $369.22 Billion by 2020”
Digital Transformation is on everyone’s lips today. Companies across the globe are looking at opportunities to use technology to transform business processes, improve enterprise performance, and consequently achieve better business outcomes. We have seen the adoption of analytics, embedded devices, business process digitization, rise of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) etc. as some elements of the digitization drive. Improved business models and operational processes and enhanced customer experience are the three key areas of focus. Enterprises are leveraging technology heavily to remain relevant and ahead of the curve in today’s digital enterprise. According to Forrester Research, the top three drivers of digital transformation are improved customer experience, improved time to market and increased the speed of innovation. Thus, the fact that almost two-thirds of CEO’s of the top Global 2000 companies plan to put digital transformation at the heart of their corporate strategy by the end of 2017 hardly comes as a surprise.
Our contention is that given that the heavy lifting for pretty much all transformation initiatives is done by software-driven technology, these initiatives can only be successful if software testing gets its due place in the transformation cycle.
While a lot of importance is placed on increasing the level of automation within the enterprise and streamlining processes when embarking on the digital drive, far too many organizations ignore the role of testing in making these initiatives successful. Since digital transformation initiatives demand heavy investments organizations can justifiably claim the rewards of the transformation initiatives only when software testing ensures software that works exactly as intended.
One of the key elements of digital transformation is Business Process Automation. Using technology enabled automation, organizations are looking at simplifying and improving business workflows and increasing efficiencies. Business Process Automation reduces human error and helps businesses adapt to dynamic market demands faster. During BPA, organizations have to focus on infrastructural upgrades and identify redundant processes and replace them with newer, efficient processes. In this transition period, the role of QA and testing becomes indispensable. In order to ensure that the new processes deliver on the promise of greater productivity, efficiency, and reduced errors, and to guarantee the quality and stability of the process, it becomes imperative to test early and test often. By testing the new business processes, its components and application area thoroughly, organizations can confirm that all business rules and business logic are working correctly. Any defects or deviations in the same are recorded and suitably amended before the process is launched.
Along with improving business processes and workflows, organizations are embarking on digital transformation initiatives to improve customer experiences. Driving good customer experiences has always been an enabler of business success. The customer of today is more technologically informed, digitally savvy, and on the lookout for differentiated experiences. Organizations thus, have to ensure that the quality of their customer experience lives up to these expectations. In order to deliver experiences of the future, organizations have to ensure the flawless quality of their products, as well as of every interface the customer has with the organization in buying or using the product or service. Whether it is an application created for customer experience or improving processes to deliver high-quality products, organizations have to focus on testing to deliver on these metrics.
The role of testing becomes even more pronounced in digitization initiatives when it comes to security. While digital transformation initiatives do benefit the enterprise, inadequate testing and QA strategies can leave the applications exposed to hacks, bugs, and vulnerabilities. Business critical applications that contain customer sensitive data must have the highest level of security and cannot be subject to vulnerabilities and risks. Security breaches can cost organizations heavily and lead to loss of customer trust and consequently the loss of market share.
Organizations are embarking on digital transformation initiatives to create value both within the organization and for their customer. With a plethora of technologies at their disposal, organizations are spoilt for choice to build the right experiences and services. The main aim of digital transformation is to drive quality transformation. In their digital transformation journey, organizations will witness the need to adopt new age technologies and will witness many challenges in the process of implementing digital change. Integration of new technologies with existing platforms, the efficiency of new business applications, the implementation of new technologies within the new work culture etc. are just some of the challenges. There is also the growing dependence on the digital backbone that gets created – in a sense, there is no going back but this creates a single point of failure too. These challenges become inherently easier to manage if the organization focuses on building quality assessment models and metrics to measure the efficiency of the digital processes.
With the rise of the digital enterprise, software testing cannot remain confined to the realm of the development lifecycle alone. To enable seamless integration and working of software systems and processes as demanded by digital transformation, it is imperative that organizations ensure that strong QA and testing processes become a part of the transformation initiatives. Otherwise, software testing will prove to be the Achilles’ heel in digital transformation journeys.