Think rugby. Digital transformation is the sport. It’s the muscle and heft and strategy of implementing technology within the organisation. Assurance is the player that stops the ball from crossing the try line. It’s the protection – it ensures that digital transformation objectives are met and that every last box ticked benefits the business and meets its expectations. According to McKinsey, it is assurance that helps the organisation to build an effective ‘transformation roadmap by defining the requirements for transformation value assurance, aligning the roadmap with the company’s overall strategy. According to Mandla Mbonambi, CEO of Africonology, it is the key to ensuring that every product, platform and touchpoint within a digital transformation process is stable, resilient and relevant.
“Successful digital transformation is an art,” he adds. “All too often, you hear the stories about how a company invested in transformation, only for it to not quite meet expectations or deliver on its mandates. Limited success is usually the result of poor integration, lack of employee buy-in or awareness, constrained visibility into overall system architecture, and undefined goals. These are easy mistakes to make, and can be managed and mitigated by taking smart steps from the outset.”
Quality assurance, traditionally associated with DevOps and integrated processes, has become invaluable in supporting organisations as they embark on, or refine, their digital transformation investments. It takes a step beyond just focusing on the quality of implementation or development towards the overall objectives of a digital transformation project and how these are met through key performance indicators and aligned goals.
“This approach still uses the test, test and test again methodology of QA, but it is applied to the entirety of a digital transformation strategy and methodology,” says Mbonambi. “This ensures that all business outcomes are outlined, understood and recognised from the outset and that they are realistically achieved by the end of the process. QA provides a stable base on which digital initiatives can evolve and adapt to suit unique operating environments and expectations while ensuring that all aspects of the digital transformation process are being met.”
Digital assurance is the How and the What of a successful digital transformation initiative. Essentially, it provides you with visibility into how a project is evolving and into any pain points that are emerging along the way. For example, if there are challenges around user adoption and change management, QA will identify these snags early in the process, giving the business time to address the issues before they become entrenched and fundamentally impact the success of the project. The same applies to the visibility into the digital transformation process itself – if decision-makers can see where projects are faltering or where plans can be adjusted to achieve better outcomes, they can make more relevant decisions along the way.
“You’re essentially creating a cycle of best practice through rigorous testing and constant awareness,” says Mbonambi. “Project managers, decision-makers, team leaders – they now have greater insight into the problems they may be experiencing with a particular project or solution and this then allows them to make changes that could shift the outcome from failure to success. Plus, and this is a bonus, teams can now better manage resources and potential bottlenecks in advance of them becoming problems.”
Organisations spend hefty sums on their digital transformation investments and they want them to work. They want better ways of protecting their spending and ensuring that it goes in the right direction. QA offers another layer of insight and stability to any digital transformation project and, with the right partner, offers holistic support and visibility into every corner and crevice of your digital environment. While no technology is perfect and no implementation seamless, QA goes a long way towards smoothing over the bumps along the way.