SOGETI UK BLOG

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 telcocmstechnews.com, 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      
Comments: 0
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 

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      
Comments: Comments Off on Creating an Effective Digital Test Strategy – World Quality Report Recommendations
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Sogeti’s webinar last month was held by our Automation Subject Matter Expert Alistair Gerrard, a non-functional test specialist with over 22 years in IT, who kindly shared his views on increasing the quality of test automation. Below I have summarized the salient points and I hope you find it useful.

What constitutes a higher quality delivery of automation?

The challenge for many organisations is delivering high quality testing with minimal cost/ time whilst maintaining a high level of accuracy. Therefore, having processes right from the outset and knowing those processes work is crucial to delivering high quality automated testing; if we automate a bad process, the process may be faster but it will not be better. Furthermore, if the input into the process is of low quality from the beginning then the output of that process can also be expected to be low.

To ensure requirements that fuel development and testing are of a high quality, the test process needs to be extended to cover requirements, assuring the quality of requirements prior to the commencement of development and testing activities.

Once the quality of requirements is assured, the delivery of automated processes will be:

  • Accurate – Manual testing can be mundane, error-prone and therefore become exasperating. Test automation alleviates testers’ frustrations and allows the test execution without user interaction while guaranteeing repeatability and accuracy.
  • Quick – Automation can repeat tedious tasks over and over again as many times as requested and can run tests far quicker than a manual tester.
  • Cost effective – Automation can work unrelentingly 24/7, so is more efficient and can complete test scripts without having to take breaks.

The dependencies for successful automation

For automation to be effective it is essential to have good requirements and an understanding of the testing objectives as reducing human intervention alone in the testing process is not enough. The solution requires tighter integration between the three core elements: “People, Process and Technology”. People and technology need to work together to support performance objectives.  We need mechanisms in place that report detail from each feedback loop within the testing process, as well as using automation to “crank the handle” between each feedback loop where possible.

Historically another dependency of good automation has been one of requiring strong technical test resources to automate. Whilst this still holds true, there are a number of factors that are changing the dynamic of this situation to increase productivity:

  • A shift towards automation experts building frameworks which enable less specialist testers to create automated scripts
  • New technology being used to create a more integrated SDLC

Another significant dependency is the concept of “Done”, which means being able to know when a task is complete. This means that when defining the requirements, the expected outcome is also defined, thus enabling the testing process to validate if the actual results meet the expected results. Again, “Done” can be thought of as a quality gate out of development and testing. Within the testing process it’s reasonable to assume those dependencies of testing remain, such as an environment to test in and test data to test against.

Addressing technical debt in your regression suites

Technical debt is one of the major challenges faced by most organisations, typically with risk-based approaches to testing meaning new functionality takes priority, often accompanied by targeted regression testing which is time-constrained. This reflects a traditional project management approach driven with a focus on cost and time, whereby the project team is accountable in isolation for the changes they implement.

As projects are also held accountable for quality, their focus should change to finding efficiency through doing it right first time, as opposed to finding efficiency through activities designed to shorten time-lines and reduce cost – at the expense of Quality according to the “Time, Cost and Quality” project triangle:

Triangle

 

 

 

 

 

This leaves no simple answer as to how to address technical debt, and in truth each organisation will adopt a varied approach to fit the overall operational model and culture. Usually such scenarios lead to two proposed approaches: Automation is incrementally built up within the existing core project structures; or a separate automation project is set up to address technical debt.

Both approaches have different merits:

  • Addressing technical debt within projects will help embed automation throughout the organisation, but the rate at which technical debt is reduced may be slow
  • A centralised project will be able to reduce technical debt faster, but will be at risk to the impact of changes from projects

Working with extended teams to make continuous testing more effective

For continuous testing to be more effective it is broader than just test automation. It incorporates a number of disciplines from different areas of the organisation working towards a single goal of alignment. Technology is enabling the dismantling of silo walls and increasing collaboration between teams, supporting them to implement multi-discipline processes which bring the theory of good testing to life:

  • Good requirements
  • Test early
  • Build it right the first time

With extended teams, there is an unwritten requirement of integration, and only through the combination of People, Process, and Technology can full scale collaboration become successful. Good people will adapt existing processes to create a team that can collaborate effectively, whilst technology will facilitate that collaboration – BUT all three components are required:

Triangle 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes automation difficult?

One of the key challenges of automation stems from it being a mix of both testing and development activities in the first instance. This combination means resources, especially good resources, are challenging to find, which increases their cost whilst constraining the amount of activity they can complete in project timescales.

In combination with the cost of tools and the late engagement within the software development lifecycle, it has been hard to realize an effective return on investment for automation in the past. The continued refinement of how automation tools are employed (record and playback, data-driven, frameworks), and the emergence of rival test tools has improved the return on the investment in automation to make it more feasible, whilst the software under test is becoming increasingly written (or engineered) to support automation.

All of these changes are leading to broader adoption of test automation throughout the testing industry, also driven by a need to have high quality software releases faster to market but without seeing an increase in cost.

The challenges in terms of test automation remain the same although the significant difference in what we are witnessing today is the seismic shift to considering automation in a broader sense, where people meld processes and technology together to work collaboratively towards a single goal.

What is the solution?

Organisations who frequently focus their application development efforts on technology improvement strategies and business process need to also focus on the people aspect of the change initiative. Organisations need to fuse together the People, Processes and Technology and ensure that all three work collaboratively towards a single goal. Ultimately, the solution is to have good people following good processes, and to use technology to integrate separate disciplines into a single, collaborative production line; this is what delivers higher quality automation.

If you’d like to replay the webinar, please click 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: Application Lifecycle Management, Automation Testing, communication, Developers, Digital strategy, High Performance Analytics, Innovation, integration tests, IT strategy, project management, Quality Assurance, Requirements, Research, Software Development, Test environment, Testing and innovation, Transformation, User Interface      
Comments: 0
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 

700x414

 

SogetiLabs writers Menno van Doorn and Sander Duivestein have just released the second of four reports on Machine Intelligence – The Bot Effect: ‘Friending Your Brand’. It’s a report that looks into current discussions on the bot era and how bots are being integrated into every-day life. From how bots are creating conversation for personal and commercial use to what the social face of bots should be through to how bots can communicate with staff in the workplace. The report gives an in-depth review and discussion into what we can expect in the future and what progress is currently being made within the world of robotics and their integration into everyday life.

With bots being increasingly integrated within the commercial world, Menno and Sander investigate what this could mean for some industries and companies that are heavily application based especially as Gartner believes this trend places us in the post-app era. Could this mean bots are the new apps?

Discussions in the report go into detail about the intelligence of the bots and what part machine intelligence plays in ensuring the bots can understand and deal with your needs. Does this mean your brand can become friendlier through presenting itself through chat platforms and therefore gain brand loyalty? Well by reading the report you will be able to learn how companies like KLM are already banking on this being the case. IT systems were not designed with a view to having a natural human conversation, and now they are, this raises a whole load of new questions to what people are calling the ‘people-fication’.

The report delves into a term called ‘the butler economy’ and what this means for modern day. With innovative technology being discussed in the report, it gives insight into what companies such as Facebook and Amazon are doing to bring products to us that ensure us a seamless and extended access to information through bots or, as they call it, ‘smart agents’.

Reading this report gives us an understanding of micro moments and it shows why Forrester Research have said they are a huge opportunity for companies. Further to this it goes into depth of why Marketing guru’s such as Brian Solis are saying they are the ‘new reality of marketing’, and how micro moments allow conversation to go into conversion.

So considering the other topics such as how bots can help customers buy products, get them information they need and have a friendly interface to do it with, how could they help employees within the workplace? Does this mean we could see Robo-doctors, -chefs, -lawyers? Further to this could our new boss be a bot? See examples of this already being implemented, with venture capital investor Deep Knowledge Ventures from Hong Kong being the first company in the world appointing a software program as a member of its Executive Board and seeing what benefits have surfaced from this.

With bots being an emerging technology, we can’t say what the direction of this technology will be for sure but this report offers a good starting point to better understand these new opportunities. To further understand the impact that this could have on our day-to-day lives, you can read the full 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: Business Intelligence, communication, Digital strategy, IT strategy, Marketing, Opinion, Reports, Research, Software testing, SogetiLabs      
Comments: 0
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

On 12th October TestExpo will return to the Emirates Stadium in North London – a venue I am personally really excited about. The space on club level can comfortably accommodate a huge increase on the 300+ visitors we saw last year, and we expect this year to be the biggest and best event to date.

The theme for the day will be ‘Mastering Digital Disruption’. Topics will range from: innovation in the testing industry, digital testing practices, DevOps, new processes and methodologies, automation and continuous integration, service virtualisation, test data and environment management, cyber security, there will be an all new technology tool shed and of course lots of tangible case studies.

Two of Sogeti’s most experienced testing professionals, Gary Moore and Barry Weston, will host this year’s TestExpo, and we have secured Andreas Sjöström, VP of Digital – Sogeti Sweden, as our keynote speaker whose energy is infectious and whose views on digital innovation are truly inspirational. For those of you who don’t know him, he became the first man to walk through airport security and board his plane with a simple wave of the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) near-filed identification chip (NFC) he had implanted in his hand. This microchip technology has been used before to make digital payments, control mobile devices and unlock doors, but Andreas’ journey through Stockholm Arlanda Airport really was a world first. Read the article in the Daily Mail here.

By joining us at TestExpo, you will be able to network with other like-minded individuals in the community, speak to leaders in this arena who have ideas and solutions to share, and take away key insights to help you drive success in your business.

To get a feel for what to expect at TestExpo, take a look at the video from 2015 and see the feedback on the website.

Super Early Bird tickets are now available here. Get yours by 3rd June! We look forward to seeing you there on 12th October!

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: Automation Testing, Business Intelligence, DevOps, Digital, Digital strategy, Innovation, mobile applications, mobile testing, Quality Assurance, Research, Security, Technology Outlook, test data management, Test Expo, Testing and innovation      
Comments: 0
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,