Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting a webinar with Forrester analyst, Clay Richardson, and Venkata Ramana Lanka (LRV), Senior Director and Solutions Leader within the Independent Software Quality practice at Virtusa. The webinar with the topic “Embrace change, ADOPT for success” we discussed on the need to reimagine the process of quality assurance and testing in today’s highly agile, customer-centric IT organizations.
The webinar began with the discussion on how enterprises today are at the cusp of fundamental change because of the market and the forces that are driving today’s business environment. We are all seeing the power shift from the enterprise to its customers caused by this ‘wave of change’ called digitization.
The audience poll conducted during the webinar confirmed this; 52% of the attendees felt and agreed with this assessment. A key inference which does apply at all is that enterprises are thinking differently now and are “embracing the change”. This means change across the board for the enterprise. Driving better customer experience requires not just a better quality product but faster time to market, high responsiveness, and a greater agility when building products.
During his session, Clay Richardson went onto discuss how his research proves this shift in the digital business, and how it is forcing the need for rapid customer-centric innovation led through a dual strategy – one focused on the digital customer experience, and the other on the operational excellence.
To execute this strategy, we are seeing organizations take a multi-tiered orchestration approach to their architecture. Primarily, enterprises are making a conscious decision to focus efforts on the customer experience layer and the digital engagement layer, which front-end the engagement points with the customers; followed by a mapping of the structured and unstructured digital process; and finally the application and infrastructure layer which becomes the linkage to systems of record, business processes, and the end state analysis.
We also see business process management (BPM) very much becoming the GLUE or the orchestrator of each of these processes. Quality in such a multi-layered architecture can be complex and cumbersome, but very important to ensure that, at the end of the day, the customer actually has a positive experience. When Clay was asked if he is seeing the investment on quality go up, he responded that he is seeing companies wanting to move faster to deliver new digital products and services, and has seen increasing trends of “test and learn” where a small portion of the product functionality is released to the customers for feedback. This seems counter-intuitive, if you are trying to get the best possible experience for your customers.
This brought us squarely to the dilemma faced by most organizations. If you want high quality without high cost, the process is usually slow (not ideal for the highly competitive market today). At the same time, for an enterprise wanting to do it FAST and with high QUALITY, we often find the cost of quality to be high. So, while it might not be ideal, the choice often is to compromise quality for speed.
So is there a better way?
Owing to the immense benefits BPM offers, it is seeing high levels of adoption among large and medium scale enterprises. With the evolving demands for delivering faster, higher quality products and services to customers, the expectation of IT/Business Leaders from BPM implementations is not only to reduce cost of quality, but also deliver in an agile way with zero-defect, right first time.
Given this mandate, Virtusa has re-imagined how to test BPM/Pega solutions. We do this through a range of best practices and accelerators that we bring together into a framework called ADOPT (Accelerator DOmain solutions for PEGA Testing). Our approach differs from the traditional way of testing in four ways:
- We shift our focus on quality to the left of the lifecycle – meaning we test early, often, and continuously
- We also have a specific focus on preventing defects vs. finding defects in the testing cycle
- We take a business focused view on testing; this also helps us optimize WHAT to test
- And finally, we look to automate not just testing, but as many operations as possible in and around the testing function
The ADOPT framework reduces the downstream risks due to poor quality, but more importantly accelerates implementation cycles of Pega BPM platform leading to faster time to market of high quality solutions.