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Digital Assurance – CIO Focus for the Future

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The race to become digital-first, growing emphasis on customer experience, the struggle of managing a distributed workforce, economic headwinds and a deluge of cyberattacks are the top 5 challenges CIOs face now. And while technology promises to provide sustainable alternatives, cost pressures this year have forced CIOs to adopt these pragmatic alternatives but with a lesser margin of error. 

That translates into implementing and maintaining a robust Digital Assurance strategy for all the IT endeavors in a software-centric organization – whether gearing up for the next product release, improving customer experience, or conducting any form of digital transformation.

But what on earth does Digital Assurance exactly mean?

Is it about adopting the latest technology or incorporating AI into your processes or opting for the most talked about automation tool in town just because everyone else is doing so?

Not really.

Digital Assurance refers to an organization’s capability to build, implement and maintain an all-weather digital quality strategy to scale faster and with higher reliability, greater efficiency, and tighter control over cost of quality.

  • Who does an organization turn to if they need a Digital Quality Roadmap?
  • What needs to be done to improve adaptability to bespoke engineering processes?
  • How does an organization improve its tech toolchain for higher efficacy?
  • How does one switch from reactive quality interventions to ingraining quality pre-emptively?
  • How does one model the cost of quality?
  • How does one reduce friction in multi-vendor, multi-site collaboration in a development environment?

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A robust and proven Digital Assurance philosophy will be able to resolve all these challenges with a detailed approach that minimizes risk and maximizes the value delivered to end customers. So, what are the different components of a sustainable and bespoke Digital Assurance philosophy: 

Components of Digital Assurance Philosophy

1. Objective assessment of the “as-is” state of QA methodologies and processes

An effective Digital Assurance Philosophy begins with the expert evaluation of the current state of QA methodologies and processes or the as-is state using a proven and tested assessment framework that combines the best practices from established maturity model frameworks such as TMMi, CMMI, Agile, & Iterative life cycle.

Bringing capabilities for Advisory, Process, Technical, Domain, Innovation, and Enterprise applications on the same plane with the necessary interlocks – such a framework would help a CIO gauge its organization’s position in the QA journey holistically. Since the maturity level of Testing and Quality aspects of every organization varies according to the size, stature, and nature of the business, hence it invariably needs a customized yardstick to measure the efficacy of the Testing and QA process/function to be able to use it to envision a pragmatic to-be state, specifically suited to its business requirements and market dynamics.

2. Reaching the “to-be” stage

The evaluation of the as-is state must also be accompanied by a set of tailored recommendations and an encompassing set of frameworks, tools, technologies, process guidelines, techniques, templates, and domain value adds to help an organization reach the desired QA state. It is noteworthy to mention here that reaching a desired state of quality is not an isolated goal that CIOs are focused on.

The implications of building a robust QE approach would entail supporting testing at scale, integrating disparate testing practices, and making the testing process accountable, predictable, and measurable while reducing the overall cost of quality.

3. Building the path of least resistance meticulously

Among the QA challenges a CIO faces is the third-party testing tool’s inability to adapt to the organization’s context and processes. This inability results in gaps in integration with the tools and a heavy reliance on service delivery partners to ensure that these gaps are fixed in a timely manner and often involves recurring costs and opting for suboptimal quality outcomes.

A customized Digital Assurance philosophy is built on the premise that it should snugly fit into the organization’s process from day one. The tailoring is not just on the strategic level but runs deep in the execution of the recommendations and realization of the promised benefits. This requires deploying a trained and trusted team of executioners who have a detailed understanding of this philosophy and are outcome focused.

This brings us to the second challenge CIOs face when they outsource their QE practices to often more headcount-focused providers. Instead, CIOs need a specialized partner with a thick skin-in-the-game approach. This only comes when such partners are outcome focused and thereby capable of instilling a QE culture in the organization using tools, libraries, training, and processes. Also, such a partner needs to be able to dive deep into the organization’s processes from the start and make their way through the unstructured lanes of a high-growth set up – a skillset that comes only after having worked and delivered in high-growth environments.

As you can now see, digital assurance is more exhaustive and broader than testing for quality. Furthermore, it is every CIO’s long-term priority due to its ability to address the quality challenges that today’s organizations face successfully. As clear from the above discussion, quality has moved well beyond the IT realm and traversed into people, processes, facilities and contractual agreements that influence its perception by the end consumers. Hence your QA approach also needs to be in sync with this move. Has it moved for you?

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