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4 Key Focus Areas for a Smarter QA Strategy

Andrew Fullen
September 13, 2018

4 Key Focus Areas

The combination of Digital Transformation and customers’ zero tolerance to defects has put QA center-stage. Rapidly changing technology; mixed Big Data; complex Regulations; and Agile, DevOps and Cloud success in a complex IT and supplier landscape, require a smarter approach to development and testing.  It’s essential to more closely align the IT and QA & Test strategies with business priorities, such as customer experience; enhanced security; speed to market; cost optimisation and brand image and corporate reputation. But how do we do it?

Below is an outline of our approach to QA and Testing in 4 key areas, DevOps, Cognitive QA, Cloud and Test Data Management.

From DevOps to Continuous Delivery

88% of businesses are now using DevOps principles and Agile development to enable and accelerate Digital Transformation[1]. Those who’ve mastered the intersection of People Process and Tools are deploying code 30 times more frequently and getting their code into production 200 times faster[2]. The upside is fewer bugs, higher quality products, innovation, speed, and cost-effectiveness.

One of the greatest challenges is a lack of specific DevOps and Agile testing skills. You need to bring “T-shaped” DevOps QA experts, with both testing and development skills, into DevOps and Agile teams. Whilst you should create decentralised DevOps teams for each department, it’s a good idea to have a centralised DevOps Quality Management unit to determine best practices. The key is to build a success-based no-blame culture, create autonomous cross-functional teams; properly strategise your test automation; make use of Cloud test environments; and reap the benefits of manageable microservices and small frequent releases.  To achieve these goals, Sogeti’s DevOps services include a Digital Evaluation Service.

We begin with a discovery process (or for those already using DevOps, a maturity assessment) to examine and assess your current strategy. Then we host a full day analysis workshop with your team and create a roadmap to success. We can also help you create a proof of concept and establish what people, processes, and technology you need to leverage Continuous Integration, Automation and Continuous Testing en route to Continuous Delivery.

When DevOps is done well and combined with our new approach to testing, Cognitive QA, we can move away from the insipid DevOps compromise of a minimum viable product to create a product that customers really love…the minimum Loveable Product!

Test Smart with Cognitive QA

The key to successful test automation for mobile, IoT and other applications, in Agile and DevOps environments, is an integrated and intelligent approach. You can’t simply replicate and automate all your existing manual test processes. Nor should you execute a siloed approach where only parts of a process are automated.

Sogeti has developed a new smarter approach, Cognitive QA, for informed decision making, fast validation, and automatic test suite adaptation. It delivers quality at speed and optimal cost, by combining a Customisable Predictive QA Dashboard; Smart QA Analytics; Intelligent QA Automation and Cognitive QA Platforms.

42% of organisations cite 3 of their top challenges as Test Environment, Test Data Availability and Virtualisation[3]; Cognitive QA resolves all three. Quality development in this dynamic and complex IT environment requires fully aware test platforms and the creation of dedicated teams to create an enterprise-wide smart analytics strategy and introduce robotics solutions. The Cognitive QA model can automatically identify which of your regression unit test sets can be automated to best effect; which need to remain manual; and which are repetitive or useless and can be discarded altogether.

Cognitive QA aligns your test strategy to your business values. The process is more cost-effective, the risk is minimised, and better quality software can be delivered to market at speed, giving your customers a better experience and bolstering your brand reputation. If you want to find out more about how Cognitive QA, Automation, Robotic Process Automation and Smart Analytics can benefit your business take a look at our Cognitive QA blog and follow the link to the microsite here.


Cloud-based and SaaS applications and infrastructure are at the epicenter of successful Digital Transformation and DevOps. Nearly 76%[4] of applications are currently being run in the private, public or hybrid Cloud. Your test priorities need to be security, performance and peak load. To this end, test and security professionals should be introduced and their roles defined at the contract stage, to ensure the best customer experience and mitigate costly and reputation-damaging problems. You also need to decide which method will be the most effective to get your applications to the Cloud, whether that’s re-hosting existing applications which can be quicker and cheaper, building the application with a new OS or database, or running it as a PaaS which brings benefits such as improved performance, scalability, and reliability.

The World Quality Report 2017-18 shows that 87% of C suite technology professionals are using, or planning to use, Cloud-based test environments and 88% are using or keen to use virtualisation. Cloud microservices are also a fast-growing trend, particularly for IoT and digital, as they facilitate fast deployment and a shift left approach to automated testing. Not all Cloud capabilities will align with your business requirements, so it’s important to get expert advice on what best fits with your current and future needs and to build a clear roadmap and strategy. If you don’t feel that you’re getting the most value out of the Cloud, take a look at Sogeti’s Cloud development and testing services here.

Our proprietary OneShare portal harnesses the power of Microsoft Azure to simplify application delivery with a fast and flexible “one-click” environment and a comprehensive on-demand toolset.  If you’re seeking to maximise and accelerate testing in the Cloud then our Cloud Test Environment Management services facilitate the set-up and management of your test environments in the Cloud, giving you faster releases and cost benefits.

Test Data Management

With the sheer quantity of structured and unstructured data available to businesses, Test Data Management (TDM) can seem like an almost impossible task and can often get pushed to the back of the priority list. Managing the size of test data sets, creating and maintaining synthetic test data and Regulatory compliance tend to be the biggest challenges.   Although a lot of businesses are automating other areas of the delivery pipeline, they are still using cumbersome, high-touch, manual processes for TDM, which are error-prone and slow down overall delivery. Also copying, masking and sub-setting are no longer sufficient to meet Regulations, so most businesses will need to create a new, more mature, TDM strategy that includes encryption, synthetic data, and a modern toolset. Our Cognitive QA approach starts with a total data overhaul and we also offer specific TDM services in the form of advanced Data Discovery and Anonymisation.

We will be posting a series of blog posts about Test Data Management throughout the rest of Q2. The first one will be an overview of Test Data Management, the second will be advice on how to automate masking the ever-growing behemoth that is unstructured data, and the third will be about efficient data archiving. So, watch this space.

In the meantime, you can check out our GDPR AssessmentData Discovery and Anonymisation Services; our blog on how to create a GDPR compliant TDM strategy and our series of blogs on GDPR compliance in different industries and sectors such as Telco.

If you can reach a new level of maturity in your journey into these 4 key areas this year, then you will be giving your business a distinct competitive advantage.

[1] World Quality Report 2017-2018

[2] Puppet, State of DevOps Report 2017

[3] World Quality Report 2017-18

[4] World Quality Report 2017-18

About the author

Head of Technology and Innovation | Sogeti UK
Andrew’s the Head of Technology and Innovation for Sogeti UK, joining the group back in 2009. In this role, he has worked with major clients across government and private sectors. Andrew joined Sogeti UK back in 2009 and is currently the UK’s head of technology and innovation.


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