According to recent mobile research by Google, 87% of us look at the advertising that adorns our screens when we’re choosing restaurants, playing games and buying clothes, the average user has 25 apps downloaded and 80% of us never leave home without a mobile device of some description.  79% of us multitask; with 39% using a mobile while listening to music, 55% while watching TV and 25% while watching movies! Our smartphones and tablets are clearly now an intrinsic part of our everyday lives and for many they are virtually glued to our hands throughout the day. This means that the majority of your customers are potentially connected to your brand every minute that they are awake. It’s important that you optimise your marketing, sales and testing strategies to leverage this fact and capitalise on the opportunities available. So we took a look at Google’s 2013 mobile consumer research and their Mobile Play Book to bring you some invaluable stats and a game plan to get you more engaged with your mobile customers.

Oh Behave!

Performance is fast becoming the biggest competitive differentiator in the mobile market with speed, capability, security and the information available being the 4 most important elements to customers. So, take into account the following customer behaviour before you embark on creating your mobile and testing strategies:

  • A delay of 250ms when a mobile website or app is loading causes a customer frustration, with 60 % of customers saying that they will abandon it and never return to it again if it takes more than 10 seconds to load. Amazon.com makes about £41 million in sales every day. It could lose £1 billion in sales per year over a 1 second web page delay.
  • The ever increasing trend for BYOD means that your native or web app needs to be supported across a full range of platforms and devices so all employees can access it, otherwise a company may decide not to adopt it at all. Multiple platforms make testing both more complex and more critical, as quality and performance promote loyalty, trust, recommendations and repeat business.
  • BYOD also leaves applications open to more threats and risks meaning that your security testing needs to be particularly rigorous. These security concerns are compounded in the consumer market with 46% saying they don’t trust mobile credit card security so, if you can prove your security is better than your competitors’, you’re already ahead of the game.
  • 73% of users have researched a product or service on their device and 39% have purchased direct from their mobile while 87% of smartphone users look for specifically local information with a huge 76% taking action such as visiting a local bank branch, restaurant or retail store.

Appealing or Appalling?

The whole purpose of an app is to make it possible for your customers to engage with your business 24/7, often in real time, on the mobile device of their choice, from an airport lounge, on a train or even first thing in the morning while they’re still in bed.  Here are just some of the capabilities your mobile app needs to have and the associated risks and problems your app strategy will need to overcome:

  • Customers love real time information and in some industries such as Finance, Banking, and Gambling or in certain business situations such as when you want to show a supplier your current stock levels, it’s essential.  This results in Big Data, greater complexity and more opportunity for error so your testing strategy becomes even more crucial to success.
  • Business customers and consumers alike want lightening fast app development and regular, relevant, highly functional feature releases. This accelerated delivery cycle requires an equally fast and effective test cycle, so you need to have the capacity for agile development testing.
  • Even when your app is a roaring success there are pitfalls to watch out for. If there is a sudden spike in demand, how easy is it for you to scale up to meet it? You can rely on the cloud to a degree but you also need to be considering factors such as load balancing and your bandwidth capacity, or you will fall foul of the essential performance elements we have looked at.
  • Security and data protection are not just huge competitive differentiators; they are also of course legal obligations that carry hefty financial penalties when breached.  A recent study of 40 of the 60 most prominent global banks revealed that 90% of their mobile banking apps have serious security vulnerabilities, putting their client data and their reputation at risk. In industries where customers feel at risk of important personal data being exposed, giving security top priority in your development and testing strategy will promote great customer loyalty.
  • When Internet performance fluctuates or network pressures lead to dropped signals and slow load times, your overall app performance also drops and customers are inclined to blame the app itself. This can be exacerbated if you choose the wrong approach to data streaming. Legacy technologies may be cost effective but they usually utilise a disproportionate amount of bandwidth and slow the app down. REST APIs may simplify the app writing process but they don’t have the capability to deliver constantly changing, real- time information. The key is to strike a balance by examining the type of data the app uses and implementing the most efficient, responsive and user-friendly streaming technique for that data.

This Time It’s Personal

When creating your mobile and app strategies you should also consider how you will maximise your advertising power, integrate your digital advertising and open up additional revenue streams, for example by allowing other relevant brands to advertise in the app:

  • 46% of mobile users surveyed have performed a search on their smartphone after seeing an offline advert, so by devising an integrated strategy, you can drive greater cross channel consumer engagement.
  • 41% of users have seen an advert on TV and then researched the products and services on their mobile – no doubt whilst they are still watching the TV if the stats above are anything to go by! Similarly 40% of users have seen an advert in a web app and 39% in app and have then gone on to research the brand on their mobile device.
  • The biggest criticism mobile customers in this highly targeted world have about these adverts, is that they are not directly relevant to their requirements, lifestyle and buying behaviour, with only 30% saying that they relate to the ads they currently see.
  • In-stream native ads could be the antidote to this as end users are more aware of and receptive to these with greater tendency to purchase or recommend to a friend.
  • The biggest takeaway from this is that your mobile users expect mobile adverts to be highly personalised in terms of their taste, browsing history, the time of day, location and environment as well as being fully integrated with your offline and other digital marketing to deliver a relevant, seamless, cross-channel customer brand experience.

 

Automate & Emulate to Accumulate

So customer behaviour and mobile trends, performance, quality, time to market and cost effectiveness are all of paramount importance. The secret to success is to devise a clear mobile and testing strategy that enables you to factor in these key elements:

- Don’t simply adapt your desktop strategy for mobile, ensure that you understand your mobile customer’s behaviour and create a mobile strategy with a value proposition that specifically meets their needs.

- Make mobile a key metric on your management dashboard and identify someone in your business who has a genuine interest and understanding of its benefits and appoint them to be your Mobile Champion.

- Determine how critical your mobile strategy is to your overall business success and, depending on the level of mobile maturity, determine whether you want to centralise or decentralise the accountability for executing it. As mobile grows in importance it is a good idea to separate it out from the more general digital umbrella, so that there is always a mobile representative at business-wide strategy meetings.

- Testing mobile web applications raises several challenges in the form of devices, network, and scripting. For native mobile applications, it’s essential to test on the physical devices supported by your application but this can be expensive and manual testing can be inconsistent. Emulated devices may not offer sufficiently comprehensive testing as it is hard to replicate the individual quirks of each one. A combination of manual and automated testing on emulated devices and real devices in the cloud is often the most effective and least expensive solution captured and shared with cross functional teams.

Sogeti’s local UK web and mobile lab, Sogeti Studio, and our Mobile Testing Centre of Excellence (CoE) in India, combined with our highly skilled mobile testing resources, means we have comprehensive services available to support your mobile strategy and mobile testing needs, from definition and challenges in design to development, testing and delivery; ensuring you always provide a high quality, consistent, seamless and secure mobile experience to your customers.

AUTHOR: Sogeti UK Marketing team

Posted in: Internet of Things, mobile applications, mobile testing, Opinion, Research, Sogeti Studio, SogetiLabs, Technical Testing, Technology Outlook      
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Discovering the Business Benefits of Microsoft Azure

It’s been a stellar year for Microsoft Azure with Gartner recognising the brand as a leader in the Enterprise Application Platforms as a Service (aPaas) market in January, Microsoft reporting an average of 8,000 new customers a week and 200 new services added to Azure in the past 12 months. Having already seen a revenue increase of 103% in the first quarter of 2014, Microsoft pledged to continue to deliver their Cloud OS vision to their developer and IT customers by further integrating their tools, management products and server platform with Azure.

So does the reality of Microsoft Azure really live up to the marketing hype and the statistics?

Well in my opinion, it’s a clear yes! Some of my main reasons for thinking this are outlined below:

  • When you need to increase your computer capacity for existing applications but you don’t want to add more servers to your own datacenter, Azure enables you to instantly self-provision as many Windows and Linux Virtual Machines as you need and create the required infrastructure for your application development in Microsoft’s managed global data centres, using familiar Windows skills and software with end-to-end MS enterprise support. 
  • The Integrated Visual Studio tooling enables you to develop, test, debug and iterate apps with greater speed, accuracy and efficiency while the Azure Virtual Network ensures you can scale up, scale out and generate load for faster delivery across the whole enterprise.
  • It has never been easier to test the capacity and performance of your web applications with Azure’s cloud based Testing as a Service (TaaS) model.
  • You can easily develop new websites using a wide range of web application frameworks such as ASP.NET and Node.js or open source applications such as WordPress and Joomla.
  • Azure also has multimedia capabilities enabling you to provide live and on-demand video streaming, protect content and concert media to other formats.
  • Azure also lets you gain control of your Big Data by providing a platform for vast quantities of mixed data and built in tools for data warehousing and business intelligence solutions to improve your analytics and give you a competitive edge.

And I’m not Azure’s only fan. When Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota wished to enhance the content for their Japanese site GAZOO.com, they decided on Azure’s scalable cloud solutions to rebuild the web portal, increasing scalability and reducing the cost of ownership. With 16 sites and 300,000 pages of content to condense and 100 million page views per month, an enhanced customer experience and scalable solution were of paramount importance. The Toyota team also credited the highly customisable functionality and efficient features of SharePoint 2013 running on Azure, as crucial to the success of the project.

Since the completion of the site, Toyota has been making regular new releases, primarily concentrating on using Azure to optimise the content for mobile devices and provide customers with an enhanced social networking experience. By enabling Toyota to deliver Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and negating the need to buy and maintain onsite hardware and also by allowing the company to add additional resources without purchasing physical servers, the GAZOO.com project clearly demonstrates the scalability, reliability, flexibility and low operational costs of Azure.

In addition, Actuarial firm Milliman has used Azure to help its customers meet the heightened responsibilities brought about by more intense regulation of the insurance industry. They have launched a low cost client system requiring minimum resources while delivering a scalable and powerful processing capability to minimise the cost and complexity of the IT systems needed to achieve compliant actuarial analysis and regulatory reporting. Explaining the business benefits and ROI of using Azure, Milliman’s Global Sales Director, Brian Reid said “We estimate that if a grid is used 60 percent of the year, running MG-ALFA operations on Windows Azure can cut the traditional $3 million cost for a traditional on-premises system by at least one-third.”

So, it’s clear that there are a huge range of business benefits that come with Azure. But how does it perform in comparison to its main competitors, Google and Amazon? Well according to tests carried out by InfoWorld in February this year, Amazon is the most expensive option and Google the cheapest, with Azure coming close behind Google for great value. Amazon offers a higher degree of control over the machines and software but if, like me, you have stateless applications or websites that don’t require persistency and you can run your code without this control, then Azure is the less expensive option.

Although, from experience, Azure can be slower at times than the other two brands, I for one love its simplicity and InfoWorld praises the fact that Windows sells machines in a wide range of sizes with the CPU power and RAM for the most part increasing in lockstep, “roughly doubling” at each increase. The Windows Azure pricing calculator also makes working out your costs much simpler.

Sogeti’s highly unique portal, OneShare, is really exciting and I think is a fantastic way to harness Azure for highly efficient Development and Testing. OneShare allows customers to load, test and manage their environments and users can copy and deploy test infrastructure or move applications into production in one click of a button! New environments can be fired up quickly, giving access to the latest test and development tools such as Visual Studio IDE and HP IT Management SaaS software. It enables businesses to develop and test applications faster, at reduced cost, and with the deployment flexibility of a cloud environment.

Further reading:

Discover all about Sogeti’s partnership with Microsoft here, or click here to learn more about OneShare.

Kevin Whitehorn AUTHOR: Kevin Whitehorn
Kevin is Head of Delivery for all Infrastructural and Developmental engagements with Sogeti clients in the UK. The engagements he looks after range from Desktop Transformation, Hybrid Cloud implementations and Application Portfolio Refreshes, to the introduction of fully Managed Services.

Posted in: Azure, Cloud, Developers, Infrastructure, Microsoft, SMAC, Software Development, Software testing, Test environment, Test Environment Management      
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28.Oct.14

Selfies 2.0

monalisaducklips (1)Meet Nixie, a finalist prototype on Intel’s “Make it wearable” contest. Nixie is nothing more than a drone, with a camera attached.. sounds familiar right?; what makes this little guy so special are the wings that support the rotors can actually bend around your wrist and you can wear it as a bracelet. Now that’s cool!

recently wrote about how you can be uber innovative with the things you have around you; I believe these guys did exactly that, and took it to the a huge next level; now you can be literally the center of your own reality show with this little gadget buzzing like a fly and recording every minute of your day; simply impressive; just the thought of GoPro’s response or attempt on this; makes the business side of this story mouthwatering.

Now, let’s take it to yet another level; suppose you now develop a smart app on your phone that the drone can ping to find your location; let’s say something as simple as pairing it with your built-in Bluetooth signal; now; there is a unique identification, pairing and more importantly, video and audio streaming up to about 30 feet for real amazing perspectives; like I said, your own little reality show. Take this to other uses, How about to follow felons who wear tracking devices?, embedding a chip on the clothes they wear to make the private and secure pairing possible.

On the dark side; well, many people may use this for recording their own “private” shows; hey, don’t complain if it ends up on some tabloid; I’m pretty sure it’ll have some fine print written somewhere.

Wearables dominated 2014’s CES event in Las Vegas, NV.; the speed at which late model smartwatches and smart bracelets are being upgraded threatens to outpace established smartphone and tablet markets according to a research made by Visiongain; they calculate that the global wearable technology market will attain a value of $5.26 billion in 2014 alone.

In a white paper written by HIS in 2013, they mentioned that the future of wearable technology will center around Social and infotainment quickly followed by health, wellness and medical applications; I think they were spot on.

So, there you have it; not really a reason to keep taking selfies, but a reason to pay attention to what surrounds us as humans and the possibilities for an interconnected scenario.

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: SELFIES 2.0

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Yvan Hernandez AUTHOR: Yvan Hernandez
Yvan Hernandez has been with Sogeti Chicago for the last 3 ½ years. Started as Manager Consultant specializing in SharePoint and .Net and quickly became an SME for SharePoint leading the SharePoint community of practice for the next 2 years. Yvan was promoted to Senior Manager in December 2012 and currently leads the Business Applications practice. Within Sogeti USA, Yvan actively participates as SME within the Microsoft Alliance Group for Yammer after securing partnership level by obtaining his Power-User, Administrator and Community Manager certifications in 2013 and with the Business Critical SharePoint (BCSP) group; he is also a member of the National SharePoint leadership group.

Posted in: Business Intelligence, communication, Developers, Digital, Digital strategy, Innovation, Uncategorized, Wearable technology      
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PineEconomies evolve, produce wealth, and remain vital when the process of ever-changing markets, offerings, and enterprises “incessantly revolutionises the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism.” The famous Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter told us this in his groundbreaking book from 1947, Capitalism, Socialism, & Democracy.

To withstand the Schumpeterian gale of creative destruction, the enterprise must be “destructively recreating itself over and over again by innovating within the enterprise at least as much as is going on in its ecosystems. Anything less and the enterprise will eventually get blown over by others moving faster, operating better, and creating greater value.”

The situation today is essentially the same however more intense at the same time. Schumpeter’s waves accelerate. We used to think that:

  • goods and services were enough
  • we could invent great products & mass produce them for years
  • materiality conferred advantage
  • the best way to manage was to optimise the enterprise.

THIS IDEOLOGY IS WRONG! Now instead we must:

  • stage experiences and guide transformations
  • mass customise & constantly renew our offerings
  • fuse the real with the virtual
  • adopt a way of managing with the intent to vitalise the enterprise

In this context, Joseph Pine puts forward The Law of Vitality: only the enterprise that attains vitality, through its incessant destructive recreation, produces the wealth necessary to survive!

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: THE FINE ART OF DESTRUCTIVE RECREATION BY JOSEPH PINE

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Jaap Bloem AUTHOR: Jaap Bloem
Jaap Bloem is in IT since the PC and now a Research Director at VINT, the Sogeti trend lab, delivering Vision, Inspiration, Navigation and Trends.

Posted in: Business Intelligence, Innovation, Opinion, Publications      
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BonnetDidier Bonnet from Capgemini Consulting was very clear: he has never seen a company successfully transform into a digital master without clear top-down vision and mandate. A pure bottom-up transformation does not exist! That said, adoption and engagement ARE key ingredients, just like governance and – of course – technology.

Capgemini and MIT examined many companies and plotted them according to two measures: how mature are their digital capabilities and how mature is their leadership capability. Four quadrants describe the different types of companies there are, and… when correlated to financial performance, digital masters really outperform the others. The researchers are fairly confident that this is true causation and not just correlation, and in any case: it pays to learn from the top-performers.

So how to become a digital leader? There are four leadership capabilities that make you a digital leader: creating a transformative vision, design engagement, governance and fuse business and IT. And when to start? Now! Because if you look at what’s coming ‘you aint seen nothing yet’. If you’re not already at work becoming a digital master, how will you survive the big changes that are still coming our way: 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, sharing economies, wearables, augmented reality, …

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: “BOTTOM-UP TRANSFORMATION DOES NOT EXIST”

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Erik van Ommeren AUTHOR: Erik van Ommeren
Erik van Ommeren is responsible for VINT, the international research institute of Sogeti, in the USA. He is an IT strategist and senior analyst with a broad background in IT, Enterprise Architecture and Executive Management. Part of his time is spent advising organizations on innovation, transformational projects and architectural processes.

Posted in: 3D printing, Capgemini Group, Digital, Digital strategy, Human Resources, IT strategy, MIT, Transformation, wearable technoloy      
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omni_channel_1I have learned that there are three major things that most organisations need to do to be digital leaders, but let’s start with the three things that are involved in any software project, like building an app. First, you need to have a plan that defines what you want to do and how to do it. Second, you need to organise your data in a structured way, and third, you need to define the functionality of the solution.

What most organisations need in their adoption of digital solutions is to do something similar, but on a larger scale. The first step is to take control of the Digital Transformation journey, which basically means to have a plan for the whole organisation’s adoption of digital technologies. The second step involves getting the most important data structured across all units and systems, and usually involves a Master Data Management initiative. The third step is to make the needed functionality easily available to the whole organisation, and this is about creating omnichannel services that can provide all touch points, like webs and mobile apps, with what they need, even if the legacy systems can’t keep up with all those needs.

In the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39pNpbwndc8), Christian Forsberg shows a diagram where the different channels are reached with a fast moving set of touch points at the top of the diagram, and at the bottom you can see the much slower moving back-end systems. In the middle of the diagram, there are a number of service layers, the omnichannel services that take care of core processes, connecting to the back-end systems and providing the touch point with customised services. This allows the organisation to move quickly in the market without waiting for the back-end systems to catch up.

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog:  BE A DIGITAL LEADER WITH OMNICHANNEL SERVICES

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Christian Forsberg AUTHOR: Christian Forsberg
Chris Forsberg is Sogeti's Global Digital Channels Lead Architect, and his passion is apps and the Internet of Things. He has been involved in the implementation of more than 100 apps on iOS and Android, and most with integration to back-end systems.

Posted in: Big data, Business Intelligence, communication, Developers, Omnichannel      
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ECMWhat does ECM governance really mean today? Is it a kind of dictatorship where IT department governs the world of your company? Does it change based on the technology you use?

In Sogeti Switzerland we have run several intranet programs during the last years and we have realized that an ECM program is more a journey rather than a project, a vision rather than a roadmap.

Three specific axes are necessary for a good ECM governance: with the right people we create rulesprocesses and responsibilities, aiming to guide and control a whole platform and this is completely independent from the platform you will use to build the solution.

For a good recipe and a delicious ECM cake don’t forget the following points:

  • ECM2The team: Build, run and improve the right team with the right people; when we talk about collaboration we should really mean it: business stakeholders, IT leaders, trainers, end users.
  • Information Architecture: We are moving from a knowledge centered intranet to an employee centered world therefore don’t store the content right, but the right content instead.
  • Processes: Everything should follow a process, because in 6 months you will not remember why you made that specific choice. Processes will help to avoid anarchy and to keep people focused on what it really matters: their daily basis work.
  • Permissions: Permissions policy are not a Damocles sword, but the only way to avoid the chaos; focus also on change management and training system in order to reward users and authorize them to do things only if they have followed the dedicated training.
  • Search, but also…serendipity: An enterprise search is today mandatory, of course, but don’t forget also the fun part of serendipity: give to your users not only a way to find things – which assumes that your users know what they are looking for – but also to discover things.

The ingredients above will help you to structure a functional ECM program with your clients. Keep in mind that technology matters, but people are even more essential to your business; what we deliver to our clients is much more than a simple intranet or software, it is something that will help them work better and improve productivity.

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: ECM GOVERNANCE: TECHNOLOGY MATTERS, PEOPLE MORE

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Manuel Conti AUTHOR: Manuel Conti
Manuel Conti has been at Sogeti since 2010. With a technical background he leads onshore and offshore teams mainly in the use of the Microsoft SharePoint platform, building intranet and internet web sites.

Posted in: Business Intelligence, Human Resources, Opinion      
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Why SOA?

If you’re looking for a way of designing, developing, deploying and managing your enterprise systems in a way that closely aligns your business goals and existing technical solutions, then Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is more than likely the logical solution.

Your SOA strategy should be integral to your existing Enterprise architecture designed by the Board of Directors and Management to achieve the organisational and operational goals of your business.

SOA is not, however, without its challenges, given that it is usually implemented with fast-evolving Web services using tools that have yet to reach the requisite level of maturity and taking into consideration the fact that really comprehensive testing is crucial to its success.

In order to maximise the business benefits that can be derived from the complex integration of business services, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) requires a clear business vision and a way of governing its use across the enterprise.

From a testing perspective, the very flexibility SOA offers brings challenges of its own. The complex landscape of web services, middleware services and existing legacy services can render traditional testing approaches ineffective. A SOA testing approach formed specifically for the SOA architecture it services – modular, standardised, and driving re-use wherever possible is fundamental.

SOA Testing

SOA testing is a combination of: service testing, process verification, Test Data Management (TDM), accelerated SOAP automation. It also includes enabling practices such as continuous integration testing and service virtualisation. Testing teams need to test the systems at the service provider and the client end interfaces to ensure that the systems are completely error free. Tests also need to be grouped correctly into a regression suite with a workflow based data provisioning system.

Is In-house Testing a Viable Option?

If this all sounds highly technical, it’s because it is and herein lies one of the biggest challenges in SOA testing: to get it right in house your testing team would need to learn new technologies, processes and tools and understand complex supporting work streams required by SOAs unique architectural ecology. Your existing classical tools are unlikely to, for example, be able to test non-UI components, interpret messages that flow across an ESB or handle SOA protocols such as SOAP and WS-Security. The new SOA tools will be unfamiliar and the process is highly complex and requires expert handling. If software testing is not a core competency for your business then you are unlikely to have the time, technical resources and budget to carry out the required level of testing within your organisation, so it makes sense to look into outsourcing it in order to ensure it is carried out the highest possible standard. This of course raises the question, “who should I outsource to?”

The Pitfalls of Using a Single Provider for Development and Testing

At first glance it appears to make sense to allow the vendor who is carrying out the SOA development to also implement the testing, after all you’ve already explained your business structure to them and they obviously know the product well, you’ll save time drawing up a single contracts and it’s easier for management to deal with one provider.

However seeking to save time and effort with a single contractor creates a potential conflict of interest bringing unnecessary risk to the development process that could compromise the integrity of your SOA system. A vendor who is also developing your system is either already happy that the product is of sufficiently high quality or knows that it is perhaps not the most ideally suited for your purposes but is seeking to meet a sales quota. In either situation there is a possibility that they may not carry out the requisite depth and breadth of testing required to ensure your SOA system is running at the optimum level required to meet all of your goals.

In addition in a business where QA testing is not the core competency, testing is often passed to more junior members of staff who are working their way up to being developers and these contractors simply do not have anything approaching the same knowledge and expertise as a dedicated testing company. Another consideration is that testers who work for developers are under pressure from the development team to execute the testing as fast as possible and not delay delivery and payment, which can lead to incomplete tests being carried out and mistakes being made.

The Positives of Hiring Separate Testing Experts

In addition to these negative motivators, there are also some weighty positive reasons to instruct a separate business to carry out your SOA testing. Outsourcing offers higher quality work coupled with a faster time-to-market, and the value to cost ratio is lower than carrying out the testing in house or with a single vendor, meaning that your overall ROI should be higher.

When you hire a separate software testing company you know that you are acquiring the services of a totally impartial, trained expert who has chosen testing as a career path and who is under no pressure from the development team. By dividing the development and testing you can also outsource to smaller businesses, reducing your cost and also avoiding the employee churn that often occurs in larger companies; in short, you get a more personal and bespoke service for less money.

As Forrester states in their webinar, ‘Selecting a Supplier for Outsourced Testing Services’, “Choosing an outsourcing supplier for testing is complicated by a number of factors, including the willingness to adapt existing, internal processes and activities to an outsourced model and the possible need to manage outsourced development and testing relationships separately.”

Selection Criteria for the Right Testing Company
At Sogeti we think that some of the most important selection criteria you should be looking for in a partner include:

  • SOA testing services that recognise testing from a business needs perspective
  • A SOA test team that can work in synchronicity with your development teams to ‘parallel run’ both the service and the interface testing
  • The ability to ‘virtualize’ the whole service early, so there are no nasty surprises – ironing out defects earlier and at lower cost
  • The right onshore resources to stand by your side, combined with real-time performance dashboards to provide clear progress updates
  • A proven track record that demonstrates their depth and breadth of experience in SOA testing, with domain experience in every major vertical – from banking to telecoms to fashion
  • SOA and middleware factories that can flex up or down at need with a commercial model that can also be based on outcomes, not resources.

In our clients’ experience using a specialist independent testing supplier can help you realise cost savings well in excess of 30%.

Sogeti’s Expertise

In a benchmarking study of testing services from 13 major vendors leading independent analyst Ovum has rated the combined testing practice of Capgemini and Sogeti number 1 worldwide. Ovum commented in particular on our “ample capacity”, test process expertise, customer intimacy and responsiveness. If you would like further information about SOA testing or any of our other testing services please visit our website or email your enquiry to enquiries.uk@sogeti.com.

Darren Coupland AUTHOR: Darren Coupland
Darren is the sector head of telecommunications at Sogeti.

Posted in: Business Intelligence, Enterprise Architecture, integration tests, test data management, Uncategorized, Virtualisation      
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red-pyramidWorking on a large transformation project for a client in the Banking sector, I recently had the opportunity to think about how to build an innovation stream within the project. This project was fully oriented on IT infrastructure and the main challenge for this customer was to push innovation for IT in order to improve the IS infrastructure.

Preparing a dedicated session with Pierre Hessler on this topic, I would like to emphasize two very relevant points that Pierre stressed during the session.

Point 1: Digital changes the position of IT. The drawing below tries to explain this evolution:

ERP1 

Step 1: Apply before ERP Era

ERP2 

Step 2: Co-Create (ERP Era)

ERP3 

Step 3: Inspire (Digital Era)

As we can see, the position of IT is really very challenging in the new world and a kind of Schizophrenic role is rising up i.e. be upstream in order to provide the organisation with all technology benefits, be downstream to be able to implement the technologies in a very short duration due to the time to market constraint.  Pierre Hessler called this new challenge “Double or Quit” due to other internal and parallel competitors working on Digital (Chief Digital Officer, Chief Data Officer, etc.)

Point 2: Maslow Pyramid Analogy

maslows_hierarchy_of_needs

This second point could be linked to the first one showing the different stages that an IT department has to pass in order to become the Business Partner. This analogy has been built by the CIO of a large automotive company and has been reused and adapted for our client. The table below indicates the way that the Maslow pyramid could be crafted for an IT department:

Pyramid

This model could be applied and used to measure the improvement of an organisation. Does that make sense?  Feel free to engage!

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: IT & DIGITAL: DOUBLE OR QUIT OPTION

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  3. Innovation is not an option
  4. Digital convergence requires transformation and omnichannel solutions

 

Jacques Mezhrahid AUTHOR: Jacques Mezhrahid
For 25 years, Jacques has been working in the software services industry and was involved in various and innovative projects for different market sectors. In charge of Digital Convergence Offering for Sogeti France since 2012 combining mobility, collaboration, architecture and Big data, he and his team are developing solutions, skills and expertises within the company.

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Machines Fit for Mensa

Allegedly a buzz word that was accidentally coined by co-founder of the MIT Auto-ID Center, Kevin Aston, at a Proctor & Gamble presentation in 1999, the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is creating a brave new world where physical objects are being integrated into our networks and lives, usually via the cloud, to create a smarter living and working environment.

IDC expects IoT technology and related services revenue to grow to $7.3 trillion by 2017 and estimates there will be as many as  212 billion connected devices by 2020 (though Cisco gives a rather more conservative estimate of 50 billion devices). So what does this mean in practical terms?

  • For Dutch start up, Sparked, it meant attaching wireless sensors to cows so that when one of the herd is sick or pregnant the farmer is notified of their condition and whereabouts, allowing him to act accordingly and resulting in 200MB of data per cow per annum.
  • In the Health sector, Corventis has connected their mobile cardiac monitor to the IoT so you can even have a smart heart.
  • Hive from British Gas connects up a customer’s thermostat, boiler and router, allowing them to control temperature and switch heating on and off via an app or website.
  • The largest Brewery in Switzerland is the proud owner of intelligent beer kegs which automatically order a refill when the amount left inside reaches a certain level – therefore they never get empty and customers are safe in the knowledge that their favourite beer will always be on tap.

The IoT has the potential to impact every area of our business and personal lives in a big way, and transform every industry – from health to transport, entertainment to food & drink – whilst also affecting our internal business processes such as supply chain management, distribution, telepresence and document management.

When Good Machines Go Bad

So what could a typical morning look like for someone using ‘smart’ devices? Let’s imagine that your 8am breakfast meeting is postponed for 1 hour, but there’s also a huge traffic jam on the motorway that will increase your journey time by half an hour, meaning that you could have a 30 minute lie-in if only you were aware of all this information. Worry not! Because your devices are all connected by the IoT, these messages are communicated to your alarm clock, your coffee maker, your hot water and your bath, automatically giving you that lie in, saving you money on your gas bill and making sure both your bath and your morning coffee are still deliciously hot when you eventually spring out of bed. Sounds perfect right?

But wait! What would your morning look like if something went awry with one or more of these communications?  Your alarm goes off 2 hours late, you wake up to no hot water, a stone cold cup of coffee, and you’ve lost an important business deal because you missed your meeting. Also let’s face it, if the smart traffic lights are broken when you are eventually en route to work in your self-driving car built by DARPA or Google, you could be dealing with something a lot more serious than missing your caffeine fix and having to wear flippers in the bathroom! OK so that’s probably a bit over dramatic, but the point is that despite some extremely helpful use cases, a lot more can go wrong.

The Internet of Threats?

The benefits of the IoT are clear – Communication, Control through automation and Cost Savings (the 3 c’s), and the same IDC report we touched on earlier in this article suggests that the greatest IoT opportunities will be initially in the consumer, discrete manufacturing, and government sectors. But just what are the possible threats?

  • The IoT is based on an Open Source foundation and, as we saw in our earlier blog post Mutiny & the Bug Bounty, the security of OpenSSL was brought to its knees by the recent Heartbleed bug.
  • There have already been several examples of smart products being hacked. Black hat hackers have, for example, already turned Google’s Nest thermostat into a network traffic sniffer spy, and the Belkin Wemo Home Automation firmware was originally found to have 5 separate security vulnerabilities, once it was already installed in consumers’ homes.
  • Another really interesting example occurred at retail store Target when attackers stole customers’ credit card details by accessing the retailer’s point of sale devices via vulnerabilities in the store’s smart air conditioning system!

There are a number of other threat factors peculiar to devices connected by the IoT that need to be considered at the design and build stage. One is that they are not typically end-user serviceable, another is they may behave differently in areas where bandwidth is restricted or in higher latency environments, and thirdly that the relationship between machine to machine or machine to end user may be transient, for example a mobile phone that is temporarily linked to a hire car. There is also a lack of contact and connection between the engineers who create the physical smart “things” and those who install them. All of this combined with the ability to spy on and steal from devices connected by the IoT, raises serious issues of public and personal privacy and security, legality and ethics.

The Internet of Tests

Each component part of the IoT (network, application, mobile and internet) has its own security and privacy issues so it is unsurprising that, when all of these things are combined, the potential problems are vastly multiplied. So what is the best way to pre-empt these potential issues and diminish them as much as possible?

There are various ideas that could help, such as separating out the networks so that the IoT devices can’t interact with things that are on a protected network and building devices that are designed to die after a given time span. Ultimately though, the most effective way to ensure that your IoT devices do not fall foul of all of these security, privacy, legal and ethical threats, is to create an IoT-specific testing road map and vigorously test at every stage of development, including replicating the installation environment. It is clear that this new technology requires a new testing strategy.

So what are the challenges of Testing the IoT? Well, as smart devices become more prolific and widely used, the end user environment could be hot, freezing, wet, humid, at altitude, in motion or very noisy – all of which impact the effectiveness of the device. A smart phone alone can now have 20 million lines of code, so these ultra-connected devices are of course extremely complex with more room for error. Each device also uses a wider range of resources such as memory, processing power, bandwidth and battery life; all of which need to be tested. Furthermore, traditional hard and soft testing tools will need to be upgraded to cope with these greater levels of complexity. High levels of competition also mean that there are pressures regarding time to market and costs.

A successful IoT test strategy will need to include, at least:

  • A skilled test team with experience in web and embedded environments, hardware, systems and network knowledge, performance testing expertise and
  • Practical threat analysis
  • Attack Trees and Threat Models built early on, to inform decision making
  • A combined automated and manual testing strategy
  • Production hardware schematic review and verification
  • Testing manufacturer’s vulnerabilities
  • Base Platform, Network Traffic & Interface Security Analysis
  • Verification of functional security design and architecture requirements
  • Functionality assessment
  • Security focused code reviews
  • Backdoor identification
  • Testing and proper calibration of the device sensors (usually with a defined stimulus signal)
  • Business integration testing
  • Rapid agile testing and reporting

Internet of Rights?

Now the Internet of Things is not a new phenomenon; the majority of us use it every day on our laptops and mobile devices and we have done for a few years. It is, however, set to grow exponentially in the next 24-36 months, which poses the question – how will we maintain our privacy and security?

We know the potential social and business benefits are huge – who doesn’t want to improve airport flow or use cheaper wireless technology in the cloud at work? And yes, as with all technology and indeed most things in life, there are risks and threats; but with the right approach to testing much of this can be eliminated so that the benefits far outweigh the potential issues.

So, IoT: good or bad, or simply here to stay regardless? Well, before making up your mind you may want to consider a few words of warning by Gartner Fellow, Steve Prentice, in a recent interview with ComputerWeekly, “Smart machines are close to outsmarting humans – whether driving a car or determining a medical diagnosis – leaving the human overseer with the responsibility but reduced capability. But, if we take the major step of changing our legal systems to give machines the responsibility for their own actions, can they also expect rights?”

 

AUTHOR: Sogeti UK Marketing team

Posted in: Cloud, communication, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT strategy, mobile testing, Technology Outlook      
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