The large number of new products and services that are coming to the market in the course of digitalization means that there is a correspondinghigh demand for previous tests. With increased production speed, faster innovation cycles and a better data base, many innovations are involved – but the acceptance of customers for inferior products is definitely not one of them.
To survive in this environment, not only a faster, but ideally continuous testing, customization, and publishing is required. Numerous technical and organisational concepts have created the possibilities for this in recent years.
This was a constant change in Quality Assurance from a downstream, necessary evil to an integral part of the production cycle – and this change continues. Even the DevOps movement is a result of this claim of modern software development to integrate QA into programming.
But also outside of software and co. the same change in the requirements for quality assurance can be observed. From commerce to industry to the entertainment industry, new improvements are being created on the basis of the same insights.
Since our private life as well as our working world is almost completely digitized and all digital products require an examination of their quality, the tasks for QA departments are constantly growing. Thanks to test automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, it is possible to meet these new requirements.
QA as a growth factor
Historically, quality assurance has been busy detecting defects and potential defects in products. With the digital transformation, however, a transformation of the self-understanding of the field is taking place. User experience and customer satisfaction suddenly come into focus as decisive influencing factors.
As a result, it is no longer sufficient to judge only the quality and performance of products; it is increasingly expected that product testing will also provide relevant data and insights that contribute to sustainable business growth.
Meeting these requirements is not easy, especially if only the usual test methods are used. In the face of new working methods such as DevOps or Agile, which dramatically increase production speeds in the software sector, more modern, more powerful QA measures are increasingly needed to keep up.
The new concepts of quality assurance as an additional growth factor and data producer are to be seen in addition to the traditional tasks. For all the business advantages of digitized QA, it must not be forgotten that products that still function and meet the standards set are still in demand.
Important role in digital transformation
More and more technology is becoming part of our lives at various points in our lives. It is only logical that the influence of devices and their manufacturers on us continues to grow as a result. Companies want to take advantage of this to gain leading positions for themselves and their products. But only those who internalize and implement the principles of digitalization have a chance to achieve this goal.
Innovation, process optimization, research and new business models are decisive factors on which dominant companies work aggressively. These efforts are supported by a QA that is placed in key positions of a digital enterprise and delivers valuable results.
The positioning at such quality checkpoints sustainably improves overall performance in order to improve the ultimately most important metric: user satisfaction. In times of empowered customers who can research better alternatives at any time and have no inhibitions to switch to them, this cannot be emphasized often enough.
Improving the automation and optimization of quality assurance provides improvements at each individual checkpoint and thus pays off several times. One more reason not to postpone or even prevent this important transformation of QA.
In addition, dangers and barriers in the transformation of other areas are also reduced and the digitization speed is increased when modern quality assurance is already available. It thus provides a stable basis for the rapid modernisation of companies.
Tools of digital QS
As part of the World Quality Report, companies were asked about their relationship to the Internet of Things. While 85% said that the networking of devices that the IoT brings has a drastic impact on them, 68% also said that they do not have the right testing options to deal with it. It seems that companies rely on the manufacturers of networked components in series instead of taking care of the quality themselves.
The difficulty in testing such networked systems and other modern technologies makes the use of artificial intelligence particularly worthwhile. These intelligent test routines are an essential means of keeping up with the increased demands. Their use requires appropriate data, which fortunately is already sufficient in most QA departments – another reason why quality assurance and AI fit together so well.
The possible automation of various tasks not only directly results; the ongoing learning effect will also further improve future performance. Even predicting quality problems before they even occur becomes possible.
In addition to automation, the use of artificial intelligence and the use of big data, the cultural component of digitalization is also an important means of IMPROVING QA. The company-wide understanding of the importance of product quality and, above all, the fact that customer satisfaction is by far the most important metric helps quality assurance on a daily basis. This is why awareness-raising activities and training for colleagues are increasingly to be found in the digital Quality Assurance toolbox.
How QA supports digitization
The interaction of digitization with the different departments is a constant give and take. While QA benefits significantly from the new technologies and methods, it is accelerating transformation in the rest of the company, provided it is accepted. Although this principle applies to all parts of a company to a certain extent, it is also particularly relevant in quality assurance due to its networking with a particularly large number of areas.
In addition to this function as an additional driver of digitization, there are also other positive effects:
QA protects a company’s reputation and image by ensuring customer satisfaction. Nothing has a more dramatic long-term impact on a company’s success than reports of a lack of quality. Since the exchange of information has never been so quick and easy in the history of mankind, or because customers were as connected as they are today, it has become almost impossible to distribute an inferior product. The days when a hard-working marketing department could iron out such disadvantages are long gone.
A consistently high product quality is therefore essential. This applies not only to reliability, functionality, etc., but also to how well the product range reflects the constantly changing customer expectations. A soft drink manufacturer may be able to guarantee the absolute reliability of its beverage quality as part of quality assurance, but for example it is slackening the trend towards sugar-free alternatives. The realization that such a failure is also (at least in part) the fault of a lack of quality assurance, as customer requests have not been met, is new for many companies.
The concrete measures include, for example, the complete recording of customer expectations, that the creation of suitable tests and their automation. The relevant data is then collected to gain a detailed insight into the customer experience.
QA accelerates production, even through multiple channels. This point requires little explanation, because it goes without saying that an automated test is faster than a manually created one, and thus a product can be brought to market faster. If the sales take place on several channels, for example an app that is available on both Android and iOS, these time advantages increase considerably once again.
QA creates attention to customer needs and enables customer centering. It is no secret that only companies that know their customer base and can not only meet their needs, but can even anticipate and exceed them, are successful in the long term. In order to get to this point intimate knowledge about the users, different sub-steps are necessary. One of these can be the attention that is drawn to the topic through digital quality assurance.
By constantly measuring and adapting the products to the customer experience, this aspect becomes the standard throughout the company piece by piece. As an important piece of the puzzle on the way to absolute customer centering, the QA can play a decisive role.
QA creates attention for quality in general. In addition to customer focus, however, the general focus on quality also plays an important role. Not all departments are equally concerned with a high-quality end product. It is in the nature of the company structure that different aspects are taken care of in different places.
Proactive, digitized and widely networked quality assurance can contribute to the importance of product quality in areas that traditionally strive for savings, innovation, marketability, etc. This allows the QA specialists to move from the function of the nanny, who ensures that nothing breaks through the little ones, to an integral role as coach, consultant and innovator.
Overall, Quality Assurance is the ideal complement to other departments, especially development and production. It allows modern, innovative companies to act quickly with the necessary speed and the right priorities.
How test automation supports digitization.
Success in digitized markets depends directly on the speed with which high-quality user experience can be delivered. Automated testing is needed to support the ability of individual teams to perform precisely this high tempo. The reason is very simple: there is simply no time left for manual tests.
An often overlooked additional effect is that test automation provides reusable programs and technology that will also accelerate future automation. Put simply, while automation for product A took a long time and involved enormous expenses, the same process for product B is already proceeding much faster, as it was possible to eat from the work on A. Product C, D, etc… can then be tested automatically in a fraction of the time.
The fact that automated testing is possible much earlier in the production process is also often overlooked. This makes problems more apparent and therefore easier to resolve. Now that the number of tests can be increased without increasing the effort, the ideal amount and position of tests can be determined for each company and product.
Obvious aspects, such as the saving of working time for testing, arise naturally, but should not be overlooked at this point. This speed advantage is ideally invested in the improvements mentioned and the more active role of QA; but also the simple reduction of costs is possible.
Since the digital transformation also involves the independence of channels and systems (customers expect excellent quality regardless of model, operating system, age, browser… product), the effort for comprehensive testing increases dramatically. Automation can not only respond to this problem by increasing efficiency, but also not to allow the additional effort to occur in the first place. The reusability of test cases and systems directly prevents the QA from splitting into multiple channels.
Increasing networking of components within the framework of the Internet of Things or the multiplication of data sources for big data purposes make product development, especially in the field of software, much more complex. Digitized quality assurance with high-quality, automated test routines can cushion this complexity and form a kind of framework for developers and architects to secure themselves. High-calibre experts in all industries are therefore aware of the invaluable benefits of excellent QA for their own work.
The role of Quality Assurance in the digital transformation is changing greatly from the “firebrigade”, which only prevents the worst damage to a guarantor of customer satisfaction and production speed.
These developments are also reflected in the labour market, where demand for QA experts is increasing significantly. The number of newcomers and newcomers who suddenly develop interest in this discipline, which was once called very dry and monotonous, has also increased dramatically in recent years due to the changed task profile.
Investing in digital quality assurance is worthwhile for all companies that are in digitalization processes. And since there is in fact no alternative to these processes, a close look at one’s own QA and its potential is recommended to everyone!