Antony Edwards - 29 October 2019
Digital transformation is a top enterprise buzzword—and for good reason. As companies across every sector embrace cloud, AI, machine learning, the IoT and other technologies, it’s clear that the future belongs to those who can effectively harness digital technology to drive business outcomes.
Yet with all the industry hype surrounding digital transformation, it’s easy to forget that digitization is a complex process that doesn’t deliver instantaneous results. And even more critically, because digital transformation represents an entirely new way of operating, it follows that successfully transforming hinges on completely changing business models.
As InformationWeek’s Jim Connolly put it in a recent article, “Digital transformation isn’t the same as hooking up a new server or even rolling out a new email system. It’s also about changing the way you do business.”
There are numerous facets organizations must address to implement this change, but software testing is a chief consideration. To truly become digital, companies must understand how users are interacting with websites and applications, where their pain-points lie and how technical factors are affecting business outcomes. To do this means permanently abolishing the legacy approach of focusing on code in favor of testing the user experience, and sharing the results of this testing with DevOps so that performance can be continuously optimized in line with how people are using the product.
For some organizations that still hold the outdated viewpoint of testing as a compliance function, this approach may require some adjustment. Yet it’s an essential step in doing digital transformation right.
A recent McKinsey report underscores this theme with the authors noting, “When companies digitize the core business, our research shows, strong IT capabilities help enormously. According to respondents in a survey on the IT function’s effectiveness, companies with top performance on core IT tasks have made more progress than other companies in becoming fully digital and mastering key digital activities.”
The McKinsey report and other digital transformation research also emphasize the role of people in bringing about the cultural change necessary for digital success. Cautioning enterprises against constant comparisons to digital-native companies, these studies urge organizations to invest the time in planning, testing and training to ensure that digital transformation initiatives are implemented in the right way—for the business, its employees and its customers.
To quote InformationWeek’s Jim Connolly again, companies “…must establish a culture of being open to change and innovation in ways that provide real benefits. Only with that foundation will new technologies drive transformation.”