I started the day in a coffee shop and I got a nice spot right next to a window. As I take out my Surface Book and turn it on, in a matter of seconds my face is recognized so there is not need to use the keyboard to login. A couple of minutes later Cortana reminds me that I have to write this post, so I ask her what’s trending, and of course she pops an Edge window with some interesting news about cybersecurity issues and privacy.

I’m wearing a Microsoft Band, my fingerprints are known by my OnePlus 3 smartphone, Cortana knows where I live and where I work, my favorite team and, just like Amazon, she knows exactly what I like!!! All of those things make my life more comfortable and allow me to focus on more important things, it makes me more “intelligent”. But at what cost?

In cities such as Copenhagen, thanks to a wireless network of streetlamps fitted with sensors it’s possible to go around the city, in bike, avoiding the red lights just by following a string of green lights in the bike path. Some predictions state that by 2020 there will be around 26 billion “things” in the Internet of Things so it’s a fact that sensors are and will be all around us.

So how do we know those street lamps are not recording more than traffic congestion? How can all of us be sure that all this data we feed into the great corporation’s datacenters will not be used against us? What are the trade-offs of this new era?

This week, I attended the Microsoft Summit in Madrid. The message was clear that Microsoft is betting on AI as the 4th industrial revolution. Their Azure SaaS offering is incredible and the fact that anybody with a credit card can have access to Machine Learning, Big Data solutions and cognitive services such as face recognition is and will continue to be a driving force for this new era. Other companies such as Apple or Google are working on the same direction.

Therefore, stopping or slowing down IoT, Big Data and AI is out of the picture, so the Important question is, how we can provide the protections we need for our privacy, our security, and our safety?

Cortana just told me I have to go downstairs and pick up my daughter and since it’s almost lunch time she also showed me a selection of restaurants near my location which offer the food we love.

I have to go and while I close the Surface I can’t escape this scary feeling that my privacy is dead.

Carlos Mendible AUTHOR:
Carlos Mendible has been .Net Architect for Sogeti Spain since 2012. He is Head Solutions Architect in, one of our major clients, A3 Media, and is also responsible for assisting with the sales process as Pre-Sales Engineer and for conducting workshops and training sessions.

Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Big data, Business Intelligence, Digital strategy, Human Behaviour, Internet of Things, IT Security, privacy, Security, User Experience, user stories      
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I do a lot of Agile transitions as an Agile coach for management. And in every transition, sooner or later, I find myself in a discussion over ‘mandatory deliverables’; but, is that a discussion? Doesn’t ‘mandatory deliverables’ contradict everything Agile stands for? Aren’t they a relic from ‘desire for control thinking’ by old school management? How could you possibly reconcile this ‘desire for control’ with the Agile ‘team autonomy’?

Before you dismiss me as someone that definitely does not understand Agile and the Agile mindset, let me set the stage where I think the answer may be yes.

Agile teams, however autonomous, do not exist in a vacuum; they are part of an organization that provides them with an environment in which they can flourish. This environment may also instigate some constraints e.g. set by legislation or by internal or external parties i.e. by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Is it really strange when an organisation requires software not only to be tested before deployed into production but also requires that the coverage of the requirements by the test cases is known? How this coverage can be demonstrated may differ from team to team and relates to the team way of working and the technology at hand: is testing automated, is exploratory testing employed, are certain test types (security/penetration test, End-to-End test?) ‘outsourced’ to a separate team, are we talking mainframe development or Cloud development?

But even when we agree on an organisation’s legitimate claims for what to deliver, does that transfer to ‘mandatory deliverables’? Don’t the Agile Manifesto and the 12 principles obstruct that? I don’t think so.

Mandatory deliverables may appear at odds with the Agile Manifesto and several Agile principles, but that’s not an absolute truth.

Let’s examine some a little further:

“Working software over comprehensive documentation”

It states comprehensive not any (as ‘Agile in name only’ practitioners tend to read it). We still document, often and a lot – just not as much as we used to, in the good old Waterfall days. We are very conscious as to what we document, and why, and how. So if we have a sound reason to document, we do, and we document it close to its subject, preferably as an integral part. External, separate documents (Word, PDF, Excel, ..) often are the least favourable form! Self-documenting deliverables (Java code with JavaDoc) or (hyper-)linked documentation are our choice of preference. And let’s not forget the final sentence of the manifesto: “That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.” Documentation, even some comprehensive documentation has its value!

“Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done”

This principle is often quoted as the basis for a team’s autonomy (“trust them to get the job done”) and by inference the ‘right’ of teams to ignore imposed standards or templates. But there is more to this principle than “trust them to get the job done” it also states “give them the environment and support they need”.

An Agile team can only thrive when the proper preconditions are set – this environment may contain objects that are not self-evidently beneficial or even useful for the team but are of paramount importance to the company as a whole, e.g. guidelines or templates for external compliance. When this is the case, the team cannot invoke their autonomy but must comply for the greater good.


“The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation”

No argument here, but documentation isn’t always about conveying information! The mandatory deliverables may not bear to team-internal information sharing and the like. They are sometimes required by ‘the environment’ as mentioned earlier and serve a purpose in e.g. the compliance obligations by the organisation.

Let’s not get trapped in the pitfall of categorically dismissing mandatory deliverables in Agile development under any circumstances, without ever giving them a second thought.

Ben Visser AUTHOR:
Ben Visser is a highly experienced test manager and test consultant. In a career of over 15 years as a tester, he has fulfilled a wide range of test functions, from programmer of automated scripts, to test manager of a large international program. He has worked in traditional waterfall developments as a change manager responsible for test and acceptance environments, as well as model-based testing.

Posted in: A testers viewpoint, Agile, Business Intelligence, Cloud, Collaboration, communication, Developers, Digital strategy, Human Interaction Testing, Opinion, Test Environment Management      
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Mankind has always been intrigued by life questions like “Who am I?” and “What is the Meaning of Life”? Through medicine, philosophy, physics and many more disciplines we tried to answer this question. Can a relatively new discipline like computer science, a discipline that’s not even a century old, shine a new bright light on these life questions?

To start our adventure I would like to ask you a question:

Do you like the idea that you are going to die? Or do you like the idea that your loved ones are going to die? Probably not…the next paragraph already offers a solution!


Martine Rothblatt didn’t like the idea of dying and couldn’t stand the thought that her beloved partner, Bina Rothblatt, would eventually die. Rothblatt is a very successful entrepreneur in the United States and demonstrated this by starting the transhumanistic Terasem Movement in 2004. The goal of this non-profit organisation is to inform the public about the use of nanotechnology for drastic human life extension. One way to promote their ideas and inform the public is via Bina 48:


On the right you see the beloved partner of Martine Rothblatt: Bina. In the left upper corner you see the replica of Bina, called Bina48. The most interesting part of Bina48 is not the detailed resemblance of Bina, or the ability to mimic facial expressions. The most interesting part is the Artificial Intelligence (AI) inside the head.


The AI of Bina48 tries to simulate the personality of Bina by integrating the personal interests, curiosities and history of the real Bina into the AI. That way even the great-grandchildren of the Rothblatt couple can talk to Bina.

Digitalizing a personality is still in its infant stage, but you are already invited to upload or ‘file’ your mind as well. The process is called ‘Mindfiling’; you can add photos, videos, and documents to a digital archive on Through geo mapping, timelines and tagging you can organize and chronologize all the given input. This way the uploaded files get meaning and your life events follow the correct storyline. A digital avatar can be created as well, which completes the digital clone. Ultimately the digital clone should act and respond just like you would.

Penetrating our lives

Bina48 and mindfiling are interesting cases of people-fication and embodiment of technology. ‘People-fication’ is the integration of human characteristics or abilities in algorithms. The embodiment is the part when the technology is given a face or body. (see also SogetiLab-VINT’s report on Chatbots for further information)

People-fication and embodiment become more and more common in the form of humanoid robots, chatbots, or other social robots. With the more human like characteristics and abilities, technology penetrates our lives even more than before. Futurist Gerd Leonhard summarizes this in his book Technology vs. Humanity:

Now, technological magic is starting to transcend the realm of hardware and stuff – it’s no longer about devices, gadget, services, or connectivity. Increasingly it’s about us, our bodies, our minds, our humanity.”

Leonhard warns us about becoming to depend on (social) robots. In his eyes this can lead to human deskilling: a process where people unlearn basic skills like writing and opening a spreadsheet, but also a loss of empathy and free will. Imagine ‘outsourcing’ the task to organize a party to an Intelligent Digital Assistant (IDA). The IDA will choose the people to invite based on your history together, the IDA will choose the music, the food, the location, etc. This can be very convenient, but also raises questions about who’s in control of your own life.

Holding a mirror


Bina48, mindfiling, and the more intimate way of penetrating our lives, these three aspects bring us to the end of this blog.

Humanoid robots, chatbots, or other social robots that mimic a humans behaviour or thought, are holding up a mirror for us. Our own creations are confronting us with questions about life, imagine what we can create at a human level AI in 10, 50, 250 years. What does that mean for the concept of ‘human’? Does that mean we are biological computers? Are we basically determined programs which are run by sequential physiological processes? Do we have a free will?

Maybe we will reach limits on the human likeliness of an Artificial Intelligence or maybe we discover that it really is impossible to let an AI have original thoughts or feel real emotions. if we do find a way, will it destroy our uniqueness?

The original blog can be found here.


Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Business Intelligence, High Tech, Human Behaviour, Innovation, Internet of Things, Robotics, Technology Outlook, Transformation      
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The Business Case for Digitalisation

According to industry forecasts, the number of mobile internet connections will exceed 10 billion by 2018 and will be 1.4 times greater than the world’s population.  It’s clear then that there is a wealth of opportunity for fully digitised Communication Service Providers (CSPs). When you consider that telecommunications is both a driver and enabler of digitisation, contributing to our always-on and increasingly demanding consumer society, it seems ironic that Telcos themselves are struggling to achieve a smooth digital transformation and failing to delight their customers.  A recent Capgemini Telecoms Report shows that the overall Net Promoter Score (NPS) for the industry is negative and that 58% of consumers are keen to switch to a digital-only operator with competitive data plans. Interestingly the younger, smaller, more autonomous, agile Telcos operating a digital or hybrid but digitally-weighted model, achieved a much better NPS.


Dinosaurs & Unicorns

If you’re in any doubt as to how important the NPS is, you’ll be interested to know that the report ties it directly to revenue, demonstrating that “high-NPS Telcos garnered an average revenue growth of 33% over 2012-14 whereas the low-NPS Telcos suffered a revenue decline of -7% on average over the same period”. Over the Top (OTT) service providers offering new digital experiences such as Mobile Money Transactions, micro-banking solutions, digital media such as on-demand video and IoT connected services, are gaining momentum and popularity with customers. Media and video was less than 10% of traffic in 2010 but this rose exponentially to 50% last year. To remain competitive, these older, more established CSP Dinosaurs need to find a way to model the Unicorns and take a more customer-centric approach, discovering what digital telco customers require, streamlining their processes and operations to more quickly create a desirable product, building out a user base and monetising their product in a much shorter space of time.


Go Digital

For the new wave of customers who have only ever lived in a digital world, a fully digital, seamless, omni-channel customer experience (CX) is essential. To achieve this, CSPs need to digitise their Business Model, CX and Operations. We will be looking in more depth at the challenges and most effective strategy for this digital transformation in part 2 of this Telco blog series. Right now let’s look at the products and services that Telcos need to provide on in order to become the digital dynamos their customers demand.

Personalisation – This is the era of seemingly infinite choice, so customers expect a personalised experience that gives priority to showing them information that’s geared towards their individual preferences, as demonstrated by previous behaviour and purchases. For Telco’s this means embracing the power of Big Data and Analytics and acting on the insights available from the customer feedback loop. This customer information enables highly targeted marketing and sales, better customer services and improved network operations. In addition to boosting customer loyalty this also cuts down on playing guessing games and wasting resources, freeing up time and money for reinvestment elsewhere in the business. If you’re wondering just how important this is for boosting revenue, then consider Gartner’s estimate that by 2017, mobile advertising will be worth $41.9 billion in the US alone.

Customer Support – According to a recent Capgemini report Over a third (34%) of consumers believe that “reliable customer support” in terms of purchasing, asking advice, complaints and aborting out issues is a must-have for a mobile network provider, second only to “affordable data plans”. However for the digital customer this means digital support; millennials are not interested in walking into a physical shop and talking to a real person face to face. In fact only 6% of consumers of high-NPS mobile operators use call-centres to make purchases compared to 25% of consumers at low-NPS mobile operators.

Blockchain & IoT Solutions – Mobile payments, banking and commerce all represent huge digital opportunities for Telcos with blockchain solutions facilitating, for example, digital asset transactions that require micropayments such as when we buy music, apps and games for our mobile devices. In smart cities where the IoT comes into its own we are seeing new services spring up such as public smart device charging stations. CSPs need to capitalise on IoT connectivity to create an intelligent network system which predicts and proactively connects their customers’ myriad devices to one another and to other products and services they use, to better enable their digital lifestyles.

OTT Content & Services – According to, Western European OTT television and video revenues will more than double by 2021 with the market being valued at $14.6 billion up from $6.4 billion in 2015. So it makes sense for CSPs that are seeking to be more competitive in this digital market, to take a leaf out of the playbooks of providers such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Skype and Facetime and Whatsapp and provide OTT services and maximise the revenue potential of their own pipes, rather than merely enabling other businesses to profit from them.

Network Quality – Customers’ obsession with smartphones and mobile broadband, and the associated data explosion, means that network quality is another important factor for a great CX and lack of quality is a key reason for customer churn. The fact that some customers favour voice, while others use more video and email also means that Telcos need to find a way to balance the quality of capacity, coverage and speed. The crucial factor to success here is to use data and feedback to understand how and where customers use the network so their requirements can be met.

So now that we have an overview of what Telcos need to do to become more digital be sure to read part 2 in this series of blogs about the digital transformation of Telcos when we will be looking at the challenges and a strategy for a smooth transition to digitalisation.


LaraIrwin AUTHOR:
Lara heads up the marketing function for Sogeti UK. She is particularly passionate about marketing and technology, and the pace of change in both areas.

Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Big data, Capgemini Group, communication, Digital, Digital strategy, e-Commerce, Human Behaviour, Human Interaction Testing, Internet of Things, IT strategy, mobile applications, mobile testing, Mobility, Omnichannel, Reports, Research, Technology Outlook, Transformation, Transitioning      
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With 66% of organisations having now appointed a Chief Digital Officer, up from 48% last year, it’s clear that digital is now a priority at a senior level for the majority of companies. Indeed 60% of the overall QA and Testing budget for new developments is being spent on digital solutions such as mobile, cloud, business intelligence (BI) and the Internet of Things. This is a slightly worrying increase from last year’s figure of 53%. The interesting thing about this is, the World Quality Report (WQR) findings show that digitalisation itself is not driving up the cost of testing, but rather the increase in expenditure is due to failure to create and execute an effective digital test strategy that genuinely improves business outcomes like time to market and time to value. Here are some of the main testing challenges the new CDOs will be up against and some recommendations on how to deal with them.


The Man with 2 Brains

Organisations are rapidly adopting Bi-modal IT and each mode requires a different QA and testing strategy. Within the first more traditional, risk-averse, stable branch of IT, Testing Centres of Excellence have enabled a good level of testing maturity and effectiveness. Conversely in the more fluid, decentralised, agile, digital mode of IT operating in a DevOps environment we are seeing an upward swing in the challenges to achieving the desired levels of innovation, quality, speed and customer experience. The main barriers are identifying and prioritising what should be tested and when, creating multiple, reliable test environments that genuinely reflect the end usage and using automation in the right way to see a good return on the investment.


You Put Your Left Leg in…

“Shift left” has been a buzz word for a long time now, but with 88% of companies now working (at least to some extent) in a DevOps environment it’s essential that it’s actually put into action. Organisations need to integrate quality assurance and testing into every project from the outset and at every step of the DevOps lifecycle to push agile and lean ways of working right through to the deployment phase.

Similarly, everyone has been extolling the virtues of automation for a long while but, in this new DevOps world where velocity and agility rules, it is a necessity to prevent testing from becoming a bottleneck in development. The best way to approach this is to shift left and involve the test team in the initial stages, but to then take a right turn towards continuous testing and virtualisation to provide a flexible environment. It’s essential to accelerate your cloud journey and start to use the new cutting edge predictive analytics tools to mine data, map customer use cases, analyse the root cause of defects and the coverage and efficiency of test sets and identify anomalies. This test-driven, intelligence-led approach enables a more risk-averse, business-aligned strategy which will overcome the main barriers, assist the move away from manual testing and pave the way for the future of machine intelligence.

The velocity of agile and DevOps can also make it very difficult to gain insight into the bigger QA picture. To combat this the WQR recommends creating simple balanced scorecards that provide a centralised system for determining quality and speed for each line of business, application and process. Page 13 of the Report provides a simple outline for the minimum managerial performance and quality indicators required to achieve the desired results.


It’s like Thunder and Lightning

The most competitive businesses are accelerating their way to cloud at lightning speed now and this of course also has an impact on testing. The main cause for concern here is that 49% of this year’s World Quality Report respondents revealed that they do not yet have a specific cloud application test strategy. It’s essential to redefine your test strategy to accommodate your cloud migration and the specific risk profiles of cloud and software-as-a-service. For a deeper understanding of an effective cloud test strategy you can take a look at Sogeti’s Cloud Services here. Cloud is also one of the most important solutions to the challenges associated with Test Environment and Test Data Management which are resulting in spiralling costs and bottlenecks that slow down time to market and time to value. It is advisable to invest in virtualisation and cloud-based environments, managed by a dedicated TEM team and to establish service-based solutions for test environment and test data provisioning.


Just a Few of my Favourite Things…

The most obvious challenge the WQR uncovers relates to IoT. In spite of the fact that 85% of respondents use IoT products, a huge 68% of those do not currently have a proper IoT test strategy. It isn’t sufficient to assume that various manufacturers have tested component parts of the product and therefore it is secure, safe and liable to perform well. Businesses that don’t create an IoT specific strategy to include security, operational reliability, compatibility, installability, ease of use and performance, are risking their reputation in the marketplace. Few companies have the expertise and resources for IoT testing in-house so we have incorporated a comprehensive IoT testing suite into our Digital Lab, Sogeti Studio. IoT testing is an extension of our complete set of IoT High Tech and Engineering services. Take a look here.


Can’t Do Right for Doing Wrong

Challenges with mobile and multi-channel testing have increased in every area with the greatest being a lack of the right testing process or method, which has risen a huge 20% to 48% this year. The other front runners are a lack of an in-house test environment, insufficient time to dedicate to testing, and a lack of test experts skilled in mobile. Test teams need to be focusing on integration and asking pertinent questions such as: what does the ideal integrated user experience look like and how can we secure data sharing and storage? The WQR offers some excellent technical test strategy advice that is outside the scope of this post, but well worth a read.


Being Human

Creating a test team with the right skills is a crucial success factor. For the agile organisation, don’t go for pure automation specialists, hire test environment and data management strategists. To facilitate TDD and BDD you need a skill set beyond functional automation with white box and virtualisation capabilities. The Report also proposes that one of the best ways to overcome all of these strategy challenges is to create a centralised Quality Management Office that can address the requirements of both branches of Bi-modal IT.

So it’s clear that as Digital continues to advance, test teams must learn to determine how QA and Testing can improve delivery of the top priority business outcomes from customer experience to revenue growth. This post has given just a few of the World Quality Report’s digital strategy challenges and recommendations; for a more detailed analysis of the current state, the barriers to success and the best methods of overcoming them, you can download your free copy of the World Quality report here.


LaraIrwin AUTHOR:
Lara heads up the marketing function for Sogeti UK. She is particularly passionate about marketing and technology, and the pace of change in both areas.

Posted in: Agile, Business Intelligence, Capgemini Group, Cloud, DevOps, Digital, Digital strategy, functional testing, High Tech, HP, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT Security, Publications, Quality Assurance, Reports, Research, Risk, Risk-based testing, Shift Left, Sogeti Studio, SogetiLabs, Test Automation, Test Environment Management, Testing and innovation, Virtualisation, World Quality Report      
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