Digital transformation is the biggest change in the way we do business in a generation. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Enterprises that successfully adjust to this change can improve employee productivity, open up new revenue streams, improve customer engagement and stand out from the competition. By contrast, companies who don’t make the leap can expect customer dissatisfaction, revenue loss and higher development and QA costs.
For organizations that depend on new digital services and applications to drive their business, test and QA teams play an increasingly critical role in their success. While few would question that supporting the demand for faster releases and higher service levels is essential, what impact is this new digital era having on software testing teams?
Apexon surveyed test and QA professionals and executives in the US and UK to understand what effect digital transformation was having on their enterprise software testing / QA efforts. The results shine a spotlight on the challenges and opportunities organizations face right now.
Backlogs create bottlenecks
A large portion of testing is manual and depends on factors such as having the right, skilled resources, infrastructure, tools and so on. To accelerate release cycles, enterprises need to automate the huge backlog of test cases. To date, this has been difficult and resource-intensive. The good news is that tools are now emerging to cut through test backlogs and facilitate rapid automation – like our very own ASTUTE – an intelligent testing services suite that leverages AI to for test optimization.
When asked what factors had the greatest impact on test / QA, 71 percent of survey respondents cited numerous devices, operating systems and form factors, and 66 percent pointed to highly-interconnected systems. There’s no getting away from it: testing is getting increasingly complex and the pressure of ensuring seamless interconnectivity is a big challenge for teams. The cascading effects can be felt throughout the test / QA organization. Half of respondents felt that high complexity caused by increased technological combinations was a major challenge. Half of respondents also felt that they had insufficient time to test new apps and services.
Working smarter with intelligent QA
Digital demands new approaches, and that means a shift in focus and priorities. Survey results show that 43 percent of test and QA professionals see the increased use of AI and machine learning as inevitable in new applications, devices and testing processes. There is a keen interest in leveraging the techniques that predictive analytics and machine learning offer: nearly 60 percent of respondents now see AI and self-learning technologies as a priority, and there is high demand for talent with intelligence-driven QA skills.
Room for improvement with automation
While there’s a strong recognition that automation is critical to advancing DevOps / Agile goals, the majority of organizations polled had automated less than 25 percent of their testing. There is a big opportunity for improvement here. Most organizations have a huge backlog of manual test cases that need to be automated before they can move forward. As things stand, one in five respondents are releasing new code weekly, while many (40 percent) are on monthly schedules. If progress is to be made in this domain, higher automation levels will be critical.
Respondents were very keen to adopt best practices for DevOps and Agile environments. Two-thirds see testing becoming an integral part of development. This ‘shift left’ approach enables QA teams to find bugs and fix them faster… and less expensively. Productivity pressures came into sharp focus, exacerbated by the testing complexity as well as the expectation of higher service levels and faster release cycles. All the new challenges QA teams are experiencing relate to productivity, from insufficient time for testing, to problems putting best practices to work, to not having the right people, processes or tools.
One in two respondents view the rapid incorporation of feedback as a key part of digital evolution. AI techniques such as natural language programming will help, as will automation and the drive to ‘shift left’ in which adopting a feedback-driven approach will enable organizations to identify issues early in the cycle.
The new digital era requires a step up in terms of speed and agility. Testing and QA teams are only too aware of the challenges – and the opportunities – before them. Our research report covers their views on the impact that digital transformation is having and future demand for skills. To download your copy of the report, click here.
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