PAC: Digital is on the rise, but testing strategy lacks

01 December 2015 Consultancy.uk

Although the majority of European businesses agree that boosting their digital presence is their number one IT priority, less than 20% have fully implemented a digital testing strategy, research by PAC shows. The main challenges to implementing such a digital testing strategy are taking a consistent testing approach across multiple channels and integrating digital into legacy systems.

Digital is on the rise and is becoming increasingly important to businesses across all industries. Research by Dicitas shows that the transition towards digital continues, and 80% of companies foresee digitalisation is here to stay. According to the firm, the drive for digitalisation stems from two needs: the need to meet the evermore demanding customers’ expectations and the need to improve cost profiles.

To reap the benefits of the changing landscape towards digital ways of working, businesses are changing their company-wide business strategies. Yet implementation of these digital strategies is a challenge, specifically when it comes to digital testing strategies*. To explore the landscape for digital testing, Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC)**, in its ‘Digital Testing in Europe – Strategies, Challenges & Measuring Success’ report, researches the digital testing strategies of 200 companies in Western Europe.

Digital testing strategy

Three quarters of the respondents agree that expanding their digital presence is a number one IT priority over the next two years, and are planning to shift their testing budgets to support new developments rather than legacy projects. Nick Mayes, Principal Analyst at PAC, explains: “The digital agenda is having a profound impact on the testing strategies of many European organisations. It is moving testing closer to the business, driving them to leverage different tools, methodologies and external partners, and it is forcing businesses to change at greater speed.”

The research, however, shows that currently less than one in five (18%) have fully implemented their digital testing strategy. Another two-thirds (61%) plan to implement their strategy in the coming year of which 26% already have their strategy in place. Companies in the UK are among the leading businesses in Europe, with 26% of them having fully implemented their digital testing strategy and a further 32% have such a strategy in place and have planned their implementation in the next 12 months.

Biggest challenges to digital testing strategy

Challenges
The biggest challenges in implementing digital testing strategies, are taking a consistent approach to testing across multiple channels of engagement (cited by 86% of the respondents), followed by of integrating digital into legacy systems (an issue for 82%). Other big obstacles include ‘getting access to the right tools to test new digital (SMAC) strategies’ (78%) and ‘recruiting skills to test SMAC technologies’ (77%).

Digital tactics
According to PAC, there is no single magic formula that European businesses are following to tackle digital testing. More than 60% of companies admit not to have a specific digital testing team. In addition, the majority also does not fix on one tool or approach. Tools applied include in-house, packaged and open source, while both virtualisation and in-production testing approaches are being used. The research highlights an increasing interest in crowd-sourced testing models, which is used by almost a quarter (23%) of the respondents and will be used by with an additional 20% in the next two years.

Crowdsourcing to support testing strategy

Commenting on the research, Matthias Rasking, Europe, Africa and Latin America Testing Lead for Accenture, says: “The proliferation of digital technologies in today’s high-velocity, software-driven business world is pushing every company to rethink and reinvent its approach to testing […] The ability to roll out business capabilities continuously, create a seamless customer experience and protect the brand will be the difference between companies that can evolve and ones that stagnate.”

* After a company develops new (digital) products, these produces will need to be tested prior to roll-out to ensure the required quality.

** The research is supported by Accenture, HP, TestPlant, Applause and Worksoft.

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