The World Quality Report  by Capgemini, Sogeti and Micro Focus that surveyed more than 1700 executives across 10 different countries found that the role of quality assurance (QA) has changed. It has shifted its focus towards the customer, becoming the enabler of customer experiences and satisfaction while driving business outcomes. It is the demand for automation, emergent technology application, the rise and fall of tech trends, and the shifting sands of customer demand that have transformed QA to one of the main gear changes for innovation and transformation. Organisations looking to limber up and lead the way with innovation and agility must be prepared to constantly QA test from within. According to Mandla Mbonambi, CEO of Africonology, it is critical that the organisation focus on constant QA testing to ensure that system, process and solution remain capable of delivering to global market requirements and that organisations remain competitive.
"It is essential that every aspect of automation investment is QA tested from within to ensure return on investment and agility," he says. "All too often, QA and testing are not seen as an investment into the business but rather as an additional cost. One that is paid reluctantly. However, if testing is built into the environment and managed as part of the ongoing process rather than as a grudge purchase, it has the potential to ensure seamless innovation and growth."
QA testing needs to become part of the organisation's digital transformation and automation investment framework by leveraging its investment into these technologies. Using automation to test and assess, development cycles are iterated at greater speed and issues are caught with increased frequency. Embedding testing into every aspect of every process will not only improve system capabilities and deliverables but will allow for deeper control over the organisation's ability to expand on its DevOps capabilities.
"Automation does more with less and it ensures that activities within specific processes are performed consistently to deliver high-quality results and a high standard of product delivery," adds Mbonambi. "A robust automation QA framework ensures that activities are performed consistently and minimises the volume and impact of manual processes such as time, the cost to the company, and errors."
This agile methodology embeds the principles of continuous integration and continuous delivery -the complement to agility, innovation, and transformation. These allow for teams to consistently test, assess and release new iterations of products and solutions consistently and within the strategic framework of the organisation. They also ensure that any issues are rapidly addressed and that user experiences are consistently kept top of mind.
"Continuous learning, integration, and delivery are the driving forces behind robust automated testing frameworks and bring a new kind of agility to the company," says Mbonambi. "They introduce compressed release cycles, enhanced application quality, and add cohesion to both development and operations. They also have the potential to lift some of the pressure off the business, allowing for exploration into new corners of the market and release cycle, increasing deliverables, and improving customer experiences. DevOps has set the tone when it comes to proactive and integrated delivery and continuous automated testing sets the standards."
An automated QA testing framework that consistently tests from within will not only result in improvements in reporting standards but in workflows, decision-making, business processes and the flow of information throughout the business. Perhaps the most salient advantage of embedding testing consistently within the organisation is speed. When partnered with the capabilities of automation it hands the business the tools it needs to do more with less and faster than ever before."
Of course, ongoing testing requires integration. It has to be embedded intelligently, the risks understood from the outset, the obstacles planned for, and the framework customised to suit the business. It isn't a perfect toolkit that will magically transform the bottom line overnight. It can improve the bottom line; it can streamline the process and transform customer experiences. It can also tick many of the boxes that every business need. But it can't do so without commitment, integration, and continuous improvement.
"We have implemented the Test Automation Framework that's designed to address the challenges organisation face when investing into QA from within, and it allows for us to address QA issues consistently throughout all product lifecycles," concludes Mbonambi. "It provides improved objectivity, ensures quality, and ensures that testing remains the centrepiece of the organisation for long term agility, and sustainability."