QA is evolving to a lead role in digital transformation

QA is not a mere support function anymore. It's role in software creation has grown a lot. Let's explore the new role of QA in digital transformation.

QA is not a mere support function anymore. It's role in software creation has grown a lot. Let's explore the new role of QA in digital transformation.

February 2, 2019
Luan Nguyen

Elevate Your Testing Career to a New Level with a Free, Self-Paced Functionize Intelligent Certification

Learn more
QA is not a mere support function anymore. It's role in software creation has grown a lot. Let's explore the new role of QA in digital transformation.
Software quality assurance has come a long way since the beginning. Testing and verification are no longer mere support functions. Today, many organizations view QA as critical to business strategy and customer satisfaction.

This is clearly seen in the latest World Quality Report. Researchers collected data from 1,600 executives in over 30 countries. The analytical focus was on processes and practices in many different industry sectors—from manufacturing to financial services. The report conveys a continuation of trends that appear to elevate the importance of QA in the pursuit of key business goals. Consequently, many leaders are saying, it’s time to embrace quality-at-speed. Moreover, these trends are in driving other secondary quality assurance trends.

In an increasingly digital economy, many companies see it as imperative to compete with faster innovation and higher-quality deliverables. They also must balance those goals with evermore stringent security. In addition, they must continue to optimize available resources and contain costs. Largely, these goals are achievable because of advancements in test automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

QA is now a driver for growth

Historically, much software testing has focused on merely identifying and mitigating defects. Companies that want to digitally transform their products and services are changing the role of QA.

For these innovators, the focus is moving to user experience enhancements and customer satisfaction. As a result, it’s no longer sufficient to merely report on past or current performance. The expectation of testers is expanding to include the gathering of intelligence that supports business growth.

The researchers for the 2018 World Quality Report found that businesses in all sectors continue to struggle with tech advancement. Most importantly, perhaps, is discovering that the adoption of DevOps and Agile is increasing development speed. Consequently, such organizations must take a different approach to testing and quality assurance. 

Below, we explore in detail the facts of testing automation and machine-learning intelligence. Unquestionably, these can enable QA to fulfill new business goals. Yes, testers must continue to ensure quality deliverables. In addition, they can now exploit new technology. With this new tech comes new approaches—enabling testers to contribute directly to business growth.

Don’t forget about IoT

Digital transformation must also encompass another major disruptive force. QA professionals must also grapple with the Internet of Things universe.

About 85% of respondents in the 2018 World Quality Report report that IoT is making a significant impact in their organization. However, a surprising 68% admit that they lack adequate testing solutions. Apparently, most of these companies are relying on device manufacturers for reliability and security validation.

Undoubtedly, there are challenges inherent in any disruptive new technology. But, there is also much opportunity. In this regard, there is at least one key recommendation that arises from the WQR research. Innovative companies should consider adopting intelligent, AI test automation tools.  

Business growth depends on better data and insights. Robust test automation platforms employ machine-learning to accomplish several major goals. Importantly, this includes automating many QA tasks and improving future testing. The best systems actually predict quality issues well before reaching production. Platforms such as Functionize go even further to provide deeper and more valuable business insights.

The critical role for QA in digital transformation

As people continue to embrace more technology, its influence continues to expand. Naturally, many companies want to exploit this influence. However, only those that are willing to enact a total digital transformation will be successful. These innovators will invest in process acceleration, research, and creative ventures.

Users want technology that works. Otherwise, they will readily seek a better alternative. Such demands will drive aggressive companies to position their QA resources in integral roles in the digital transformation journey. The placement of quality checkpoints along that path will improve business outcomes. Also, it will increase the value of the ultimate performance metric: end-user satisfaction. 

It’s essential to prepare well—and find the right tools to support the team. This is because a complete digital transformation affects business processes at all levels. Automating quality assurance will strengthen the product at each waypoint in the development lifecycle. In addition, it helps to mitigate the challenges that new technology presents. Many enterprises that are already advancing toward expansive digitalization have also recognized the risks. These companies have a clear view of the QA challenges. Consequently, these organizations aren’t hesitating to expand their quality measures and allocate more IT budget to QA.

How QA contributes to digital transformation objectives

Good quality assurance measures contribute positively to several major objectives of digital transformation.

These include:

  • protecting corporate image,
  • increasing awareness of quality, and
  • ensuring user satisfaction.

Let’s have a closer look at how QA plays a role in digital transformation.

Protecting the brand by ensuring user satisfaction. QA efforts ought to measure end-user experience in many digital platforms. This will improve access, reduce response times, and increase consistency in brand perception. Moreover, automation can greatly improve the efficiency of these efforts. 

A solid enterprise-wide QA program can meet all of the challenges in testing customer experience. It can achieve the following for single and multi-channel delivery types:

  • Achieving the complete coverage of requirements and user expectations.
  • Designing and automating test cases.
  • Implementing solutions and gathering test data for customer experience testing.

Delivery pipeline automation. QA accelerates digital transformation with application-level and pipeline automation. To be effective in managing multi-channel digital transformation efforts, testing automation must positively impact the entire product pipeline.

Increased awareness of quality. An effective QA program will provide a complete view of all quality metrics. This enables development teams to perform the right mix of manual and automated tests for all digital channels. This can be done side by side—for browsers and mobile devices—in actual end-user conditions. Moreover, this awareness and ability enable testers to align with a single quality strategy. In so doing, they can make major contributions in delivering high-quality, responsive, multichannel user experiences. 

Overall, QA can function as a full complement to the development team. QA will further ensure product reliability by pursuing a rich, reliable digital customer experience. This additional strength from QA staff enables innovative companies to move confidently toward complete digital transformation.

How test automation supports digital transformation

Increasing quality-at-speed for software-enabled digital experiences is necessary for the success of any digital transformation. To get there, it’s imperative to expand the delivery capability of your teams. Without question, this involves automating much of your testing program.

Testing automation technologies and practices enable QA teams to readily generate reusable test assets. This includes test data, test cases, and test automation suites. Test automation also enables your team to shift testing further leftward—or further back in the pipeline. Indeed, with a platform like Functionize, you can push many aspects of QA all the way back to requirements development.

Using natural language processing and machine-learning algorithms, it’s really possible. Today. All acceptance criteria can be captured in NLP test specifications. All of your user-story-based product requirements can be imported directly into Functionize and the test cases will generate automatically.

How test automation can directly benefit your delivery pipeline

Test automation can make a direct positive impact in various aspects of application development.

Here are some of the benefits:

Faster delivery — Businesses will forever be under pressure to release product updates more frequently. Configuring a CI/CD pipeline in which automated tests validate the build goes a long way toward reducing the time necessary to test. 

Multiple device and multi-browser testing — A major benefit of digital transformation is the ability to engage customers among multiple channels. This means that the QA must test the product on each of these channels. In addition, integrative testing is a non-negotiable (since many problems are found in this way). Test automation platforms such as Functionize can greatly improve the efficiency of such testing. 

Increase coverage — Typically, shorter pipelines equates to less time for testing. A lamentable result is that test coverage shrinks. By automating your regression suite, it’s really possible to enable testers to put more attention on validating new features. They’ll also have more time for manual, exploratory testing. Getting machines to maintain test coverage is sure to increase quality by a substantial multiplier.

More benefits

Integration testing — A digital transformation initiative necessarily involves extensive integration of various components. To successfully bring about the transformation, all of these integrations must be tested. It’s vital to ensure that no compatibility issues are lurking about. Every effort must be taken to avoid any such issues making it into production. The cost might be very high, since one issue may sour the user experience and end a business relationship.

Performance testing — A single-second delay in application load time is potentially harmful to your business. Performance issues have the potential to have a negative impact on revenue. Yes, every second matters. Technology has such a great influence that customers insist on responsive user experience. With Functionize, you can also automate performance testing with zero scripting. It’s simple to integrate many aspects of our platform into your CI/CD pipeline and identify performance issues that would otherwise remain hidden.