Testing: from Support to Transformation

Technology has the power to make companies more efficient and interconnected. In the last months, we have all been part of an unprecedented technological revolution and what helped companies to be successful in the past won’t be the same that will make them succeed in the future.

Testing has proven to be a function in constant evolution; it is progressively taking over the way and shifting from a business support function to an active lever to change business models. Companies are increasingly demanding interconnectivity between devices and interoperability between platforms; this has the potential to enhance performance, quality, and interactivity of services, as well as simplify customers’ lives.

The role of testers as IT experts needs to evolve towards experts in business processes. Testers used to be Techies, deeply analytical and logical reasoning, proficient in the execution of scripts, detail-oriented and systematic. To these capabilities, it is becoming more and more important to add core skills related to knowledge of the sector, business activities, and the social environment. A good understanding of processes is essential to be able to lead business change, a new way of working, and ultimately improve the relationship with the customer and their satisfaction.

Users play a major role and it is imperative to adopt a pro-active approach rather than a reactive one. You need to have Banking and Finance knowledge if you are testing software related to payments and trading; you should know about logistics if you are testing Enterprise Resource Management systems for a packaging company; it is important to deep-dive in each business process, understand them from a service perspective, look for optimization, real-time and empower people to step ahead and do things in a different way leveraging on technology.

Redefining processes and working in a hybrid model, combining physical presence with working from home is the “new normal”. Reaching out virtually to the users is a must for almost every company nowadays. Improving lead times and performance is at the core. The rules of the game have changed in the Business World and consequently, testing needs to adapt accordingly.

Testing should be conceived as an active role in the delivery of business services to customers or users. If testing is not successful or underperforms to live up to quality standards, business initiatives will fail. Customers use companies’ systems and applications; they compile their own information and self-manage their usage without asking the designers or the testers who brought such systems live. Additionally, having an in-depth knowledge of software lifecycle management (SDLC) will also help anticipate complexities in the application which can guide in taking appropriate actions before the customers or users face them and feel somewhat deceived.

Social Networking skills are advisable for any professional in most industries and are increasingly necessary for Software testing. Testers are often known for their intellectual curiosity. Since social networks provide access to content, forums, resources, and discussions, these can be of significant help for software testers to engage with counterparts, keep learning and remain updated with the latest information. Having social networking skills favors connection with experts and exchange knowledge. It also allows building long-term relationships that can be beneficial for professional and enterprise-level goals.

Shifting from supporting business tasks or activities to proactively engaging in business processes and helping to shape business models drives innovation. DevOps and agile methodologies are a reality. Waiting for the business to define their User Acceptance Tests is the past. The challenge of proficient test execution is to step on the users’ shoes and anticipate business design-driven scenarios that take advantage of new technologies and automation to derive leaner and more efficient services that will make life easier and live up to the bar allowing users to focus on value-added activities.

Users and customers count on advanced tools both at home and at work; use smartphones and applications; buy online; search on the Internet; edit and share content; Business, daily life, and technology have become inseparable. In this context, technology is not only part of the business or something that supports it; it is at the core of the business, as it can make replace old products and services and enable the generation of completely new ones, being those more aligned with users’ demand and consumption patterns.

Testing is thrived to adopt a new leading role amid a transformation and social change which requires high specialization. It should no longer position itself as a support function from IT and forget about being the backstage of infrastructure and systems. It should grow as an expert function towards business processes and users’ relationships while leading a change of mindset and innovative culture.

 

Article written by Amparo Marin, Dr. Quantitative Models & Data Analytics

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