Quality assurance at every stage of development is key to creating flawless digital platforms, says Nikola Šopar
Customers today are becoming increasingly demanding. They expect instant, seamless engagement with the brand or business that they are dealing with via the most advanced digital platform. The proliferation of digital applications and platforms is so great that even the largest store in the world, Alibaba, doesn’t feel the need to have a physical store. The digital world is where business is won and lost and enterprises are aggressively competing with each other to continuously roll out the best, most innovative digital applications and bring them to market in the fastest time.
Living in a platform economy
We are living in a platform economy, where customer experience is everything. Research from Gartner has found that 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator this year – and with good reason. Today, if a user encounters just a few seconds of confusion when using a digital service, they will abandon it and go to a competitor. Innovating companies must therefore be sure that every millisecond of interaction that a customer has with their platform is a rewarding one. And, they can’t stop innovating once the application has been brought to market; businesses must be prepared to adapt and change it as quickly and as often as customer demands and expectations change.
As the platform economy burgeons, businesses will find themselves managing multiple digital applications, all of which must be flawless. Our own research shows that the typical medium to large-sized enterprise in Ireland has ownership of eight digital platforms – a figure we can expect to increase in the coming years.
The demand for new platforms
So, how can businesses manage this constant demand for new, innovative platforms that relentlessly satisfy? Companies need lean, productive and efficient multidisciplinary teams in which collaboration amongst team members is key. That requires a tailored agile team that is very carefully selected according to the needs of the platform that is being developed.
Essential to that team is quality assurance – something that companies can often neglect. In a survey we carried out in conjunction with TechBeat, we found that 43% of companies in Ireland that develop software don’t have a quality assurance team or manager.
Integrating quality assurance at every stage
Enterprises must ensure that quality assurance is integrated into every single stage of development – from the moment the idea is conceived and continuously thereafter. Until recently, quality assurance and software testing personnel were often afterthoughts in product development; deployed only at the very end of the process and only if there is enough time to do so. Now, they are vital to businesses’ reputations and must be there to question, and contribute to, every step of the development process. Essentially, they act as a conscience to the entire team.
The best people to do that aren’t always technical people, or people who come from a software development background. As user experience drives the platform economy, quality assurance experts need to be able to understand human behaviour and detect as well as predict problems based on that understanding. In an economy where every user’s opinion counts, we are witnessing a major shift in the quality assurance role.
About the author: Nikola Šopar is Director of QA Services at Comtrade Digital Services
Quest for Quality conference comes to Dublin
At Comtrade Digital Services, we understand the need to achieve outstanding quality amidst the frenzy of the platform economy. That is why we are bringing our hugely popular Quest for Quality conference to Dublin on 4th and 5th October 2017 at The Marker Hotel, Dublin 2, to discuss software testing in the platform economy.
There, we will help businesses, managers and IT professionals overcome the new challenges they face in the platform economy by bringing together some of the most experienced thought leaders, engineers and IT experts from the international stage. Speakers providing insights at the conference will include Colin O’Brien, Head of QA & Change Control, Ryanair Labs; John O’Donnell, CTO, Hostelworld; Saurabh Shrihar, Software Development Manager, Johnson and Johnson; Maja Schreiner, Test Manager, Swisscom; Christopher Clements, QA and Delivery Lead, PwC; Natalia Budnicka, Senior QA Lead EMEA, Salesforce; Ruben Guillen Izuma, Trials and Pilots Engineer, Nokia; as well as Comtrade Digital Services’ own experts working across the software testing field.
To find out more and for tickets, visit www.questforquality.eu.