Continuous testing delivers fully-fledged digital transformation

By Chris Manuel, GM & Head of US Testing, Mindtree

What does ‘digital business’ truly mean? And, more importantly, how does the business community equip itself with the appropriate technology to move seamlessly into this new era?

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Breaking down what the phrase ‘digital’ symbolises for business strategy more broadly, from a technology-first approach, right down to the most nuanced of changes can make all the difference.

According to a recent study conducted by HBR’s Analytics Service, 84 per cent of 783 respondents believed that their industry had already passed the ‘digital disruption’ threshold, or will do so by 2020. This is compounded by the fact that nearly half of respondents believed that their organisation’s traditional business model will be obsolete by 2020.

Understandably, the widely held perception is that companies need to move, and move fast, to re-calibrate to this new economic climate. Some enterprises will now need to take stock of their position and re-assess. For others however, they have been sitting ready and waiting for this day to come.

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Business leaders now must heed the omnipresent sound of the ticking clock, digitise, or risk becoming extinct altogether.

Test to avoid becoming victims of digital disruption

Recognising the increasing demand for swift software changes and that a uniform digital presence forms the basis of the inner workings of the workplace of the future is the first step. The ever-evolving market dynamics mean that organisations across industries must become adept at testing and learn to adapt to the new environment of digitisation to remain competitive.

Continuous testing must then form the foundation of a successful approach to digital business. An ongoing process of integration and an achievable pipeline of delivery are both of equal importance to a business’ ability to provide customers and employees with the seamless and simplistic software upgrades they need to prevent an uninterrupted workflow.

As a result, software development lifecycles have not only been shrunk to meet these demands, but the role that speed plays in the industry is now being actively considered, in addition to just mere quality. Agile practices and DevOps are now very much in play.

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How can - and should – businesses therefore use the benefits of continuous testing to shield themselves from the hazards of digital transformation?

New software = new ways of working?

A greater focus has been emerging in recent years on streamlining and automating internal working processes. With the incremental introduction of agile practices a key component of this.

If implemented successfully however, companies can minimise risks, reduce costs and have the capacity to enhance the time they spend engaging with their market.

An effective model of continuous testing is paramount to delivering success in this area, particularly one that can verify code on the go and can test the effectiveness of data and its environment instantaneously. Testing has not only become more essential in agile and DevOps environments, but a far greater degree of technical knowledge is now required compared with other more typical delivery methods.

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Vice President and Principal Analyst of Forrester Research Diego Lo Giudice stresses this. As organisations continue to build and release software at an alarming rate, the need to maintain quality has become a focal point.

Ageing and digitising do not necessarily go hand-in-hand

Despite the longevity of certain businesses, and the models they follow, this does not - by any stretch - mean that they have managed to achieve the required digital maturity.

The key for organisations across industries to succeed is to re-think their approach to continuous testing, with an emphasis on the cloud environment. This is one of the cornerstones that needs to be laid before broader digital transformation strategies are introduced across the business community.

Digital ‘maturity’ relies on keeping pace with the competitive landscape, meaning that the speed and quality of software upgrades must meet the demand for the levels of both customer, and indeed staff retention that are imperative for growth.