Ivan Ericsson, Head of Quality Assurance, Expleo
Ivan is the Head of Quality Management for Expleo UK, and has worked in testing and quality management for over 20 years, supporting customers in a range of industries and in many countries throughout Europe and North America. He has a passion for helping organisations to achieve greater levels of business agility through effective and efficient quality management disciplines and structures. Ivan combines theoretical knowledge – teaching testing and quality management, with proven disciplines and practices, and is often found speaking at international conferences on quality management.

Member Article

Business agility: help your business bounce back in 2020

As businesses have had to learn first-hand there can be devastating financial impact of not being agile in times of uncertainty, we outline three achievable ways for businesses to do just that in a limited timeframe.

The past few months have put enormous strain on businesses and brought into sharp focus the importance of being agile, adaptable and able to increase the pace of innovation and change at short notice. As the economy works to get back on its feet, technology solutions such as robotics and automation will be pivotal in enabling this.

But, while technology can bring immense value to businesses, pivoting towards an automation-first model is no simple task. Badly managed digital upgrades are incredibly costly and can cause companies to take two steps back before they’ve even started. That’s why, until now, many large or complex industries have taken a slow and steady approach to automation.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s that they need to be poised for abrupt market disruption at any moment – a slow and steady approach to technology cannot continue. As experts in digital transformation and the responsible adoption of technological innovations, here are Expleo’s three top tips for organisations to consider when embarking on a digital transformation.

Be proactive, not reactive.

Getting things right first time is business critical when building trust with customers, so when unforeseen challenges do occur, it is vital that businesses move quickly to understand the issue and find a solution. Of course, this is easier said than done. So, how can businesses ensure things run smoothly?

Ensuring that a process of automated testing occurs throughout product development helps companies identify issues early on in the process, making these issues simpler, quicker and less costly to find a solution for. Meaning businesses can increase the speed to market of their latest innovation and get ahead of their competitors.

Mature agile testing approaches are needed to ensure the fast delivery of working solutions. After all, who remembers the runner-up? So, when Covid-19 does become a thing of the past, the innovations that stand the test of time will be those that worked well and could be relied upon since inception, rather than the tools that were simply ‘there’.

This is the reminder that quality assurance and testing should be at the heart of innovation, not an afterthought – retrofitting quality into a system is always a painful and costly exercise.

The purpose of focussing on quality when delivering change is to make sure that the end product works – this is no less critical when the rush to market is accelerated, but it is more challenging.

Identify, prioritise, pivot.

Suddenly, for all businesses, being able to adapt quickly, always maintain infallible levels of security and ensure quality of service, has become an essential, rather than an option. This can only be unlocked through quality-driven, digital transformations.

In today’s economic climate, it makes sense that digitisation has been catapulted to the top of the agenda for most businesses. However, in order to get this right, organisations must first master process maturity. But more than this, having the reassurance of automated testing throughout the product life cycle will enable businesses to pivot quickly and efficiently to any change that comes their way. Helping them to bounce back in 2020.

The most important part of a pivot in a new direction is to ensure that you have one foot solidly on the floor. In quality terms, this means having a baseline of testing effectiveness and efficiency, and a plan to optimise opportunities to improve them both. This will provide the grounding to change direction quickly and adopt new technologies and methodologies with ease.

Find strength in numbers.

The reality is, businesses know they need to adapt, and they’ve known this for some time. But new technologies cannot be adopted with an old mindset. Companies that really want to see results from digital upgrades need to invest time and money both in upgrading their legacy systems, and upskilling staff, so that they have the tools and the confidence to steer the ship forward at pace.

A factory reset like this is a colossal task for any business to undertake. But rather than accept defeat, businesses need to find the right partners with the right tools. Partners that not only understand their pain points and the complexities of managing digital change on a seismic scale, but have experience seeding the ‘fail-fast’ culture of start-ups into large corporations, so they can assist them every step of the way.

Ultimately, if nothing is done to accelerate innovation, big brands risk being usurped by more nimble competitors that are agile enough to adapt to market needs and consumer demands when the occasion demands it.

Looking to the Future.

Companies like Dyson and Formula 1 teams have cemented their place in history for making the leap from vacuums and cars, to ventilators, and oxygen masks, respectively. But as the country works to overcome this devastating pandemic, it’s not just the technological elite that has proved its worth.

Nearly all office-based businesses have shown they can act in an agile manner simply by adopting home working so quickly. Now, their focus should be on developing their agile capabilities even further, by putting technology and quality at the heart of their operations.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by expleo .

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