Capgemini’s World Quality Report 2018 shows that customer experience is the top priority for quality assurance activities for the very first time, with automation and AI set to accelerate in the coming years
Capgemini and Sogeti today released the 10thedition of its World Quality Report (WQR) published in conjunction with Micro Focus. For several years the importance of end-user experience has been on the rise, but for the very first time IT professionals have ranked customer experience as the number one priority of their quality assurance (QA) activities. The new report also highlights the convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and analytics, and their use in enabling smart automation as the biggest disruptive force to drive transformation in QA and testing over the next two to three years.
According to the summary scores, that measured the importance placed on a QA/testing task by 1,700 CIOs and other senior technology professionals, across ten industries, from 32 countries, “ensuring end-user satisfaction” is the most important priority (with a mean summary score of 5.85 out of a total 7). This is closely followed by “detecting software defects before go-live” at 5.81 out of 7, and “increasing the quality of software or product” (also scoring 5.81 out of 7).
Artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and smart test automation are enablers in ensuring end-user satisfaction through QA
With customer experience objectives at the forefront, the report shows that organizations are already using Artificial Intelligence to optimize Quality Assurance. Up to 45% of respondents state that they are using intelligent automation, while 57% are experimenting with new approaches in testing intelligent applications, including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning elements. In addition, 59% of businesses cite that they are likely to focus on predictive analytics in the coming year, while 54% are interested in robotics automation, and 36% in machine learning.
Brad Little, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Application Services at Capgemini, said: “Quality Assurance is no longer a back office function. It is a critical activity that directly affects customer experience and this year’s World Quality Report demonstrates that IT professionals are more aware of this than ever before. IT teams need to be rapidly up-skilling and embracing new technologies in the near future to keep up with the AI and automation-led transformation environment.”
As AI in Testing and QA matures, three new roles will distinctly emerge: AI QA strategists, data scientists, and AI test experts
The WQR 2018 shows that a challenge exists in access to the specialist skills required in the new technology landscape. Over a third (36%) of respondents think that skills are lacking among professionals who need an adequate understanding of AI implications on business processes, and 31% feel that they are not sufficiently equipped with the data science skills required. (see figure 1 below)
Brad Little added: “Skill deficiency is a big hurdle that organizations will need to overcome; working with AI requires professionals with a diverse range of competencies such as algorithmic knowledge, mathematical optimization, and business intelligence skills. Tomorrow’s IT department will have far more data scientists, AI test experts and strategists than seen in the past.”
Figure 1 – the extent to which AI changes the skills expected of QA and testing professionals
AI and Automation on the rise to handle increased volume of QA testing
The focus on end-user satisfaction highlights the significant importance of other business priorities, such as responsiveness (speed-to-market), competitiveness, and innovation, the WQR concludes. It drives attempts to process vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, within the limits of fair practices. It also reflects a change in mindset, as a defined progression from early efforts in multi-channel experience.
Raffi Margaliot, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Application Delivery Management, Micro Focus said: “Customers are now increasingly interacting with businesses on complex technology platforms, through multiple devices, making seamless user-experience a critical aspect of that journey. With greater experimentation around AI, analytics and IoT, organizations need to rapidly focus on developing the specialized skills of their Testing teams to adapt to the advanced technology landscape.”