Orchestrating Quality Amidst the Pandemic and Digital Acceleration

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COVID-19 is the real Chief Digital Officer for many organizations. It has forced consumers to look for newer ways to get their products and services, companies to pivot to the new demand/supply models, and industries to adapt to the new normal. Overall, change is everywhere. Whenever there is change, there is a serious need to assure quality, without which you not only risk your company’s brand, but most importantly, you risk human lives.

Emerging technologies have blurred the boundaries of business, IT, and operations. Teams are adopting newer ways of collaboration in producing and consuming software. The emergence of agile and DevOps has forced teams to come together and share responsibilities in the business life cycle. Quality has gradually become, rightfully, everyone’s responsibility. We all know that everyone’s responsibility becomes no one’s. So it is critical for someone (some group) to be accountable for orchestrating quality across the company. Such a group should be integrated with the business, IT, and operations teams in the organization.

It is not good enough to have quality engineers seeded into the various teams. Companies should have a formal Quality Management Office (QMO) that orchestrates quality standards and principles and should own the quality mandate for the brand.

The following principles will help you as you establish the quality mandate for your company.

Nuances of the Technology Mix

An organization today is a mix of all generational technologies, which in turn forces us to derive different levels of testing and quality control across the board.

1. Introduction of smart interfaces: The renovation of front-end applications to attract customers forces human-to-machine interfaces to reach a very different level. The interfaces today, aided by smart devices that are part of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet-of-things (IIoT), come with a physical device, data, logic (software), and the network, each forcing different techniques of quality engineering.

2. Hybrid environments: Heritage back-end technologies that demand more capital undergo minimal modernization today, leading to QA processes to accordingly provide the coverage and leverage.

3. Talent shortages across the globe force companies to compromise speed, quality, and/or productivity, creating risks for brands.

4. Proliferation of devices and their associated data provide the means to derive meaningful insights about your businesses, customers, and competition, introducing very different quality challenges.

5. Global customers: When customers go global due to advancements in technology, businesses go global. The business applications should provide a consistent high-quality experience to all customers wherever they are. This forces us to define UX standards at a very high level, demanding quality assurance to step up in parallel.

6. Adoption of artificial intelligence: To test an AI application, you need to use AI to test it, raising complexities on both ends.

Service providers have documented methodologies to approach and answer the above challenges. You need a quality management office to mandate the agreed upon principles.

Nuances in a Quality Management Office (QMO)

While forming a QMO, you should be careful to consider the various constituents in your design and set it properly. Given below are some of the considerations and what you should watch out for.

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Any plan is as good as the company’s commitment to execute. You may hire the world’s best consulting company to define your plan and bring in the most effective service provider to execute the plan, but the most important requirement is that your own organizational culture should adopt the quality mandate at all levels and commit to owning the brand assurance that every stakeholder should enforce.

Anbu Muppidathi
Anbu Muppidathi is the President and CEO (designate) of Qualitest Group, the world's largest, independent managed services provider of quality assurance and testing solutions. He is a technology veteran with more than 30 years of experience in digital transformation and technology modernization.

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