A staggeringly high percentage of transformation initiatives fail. Take for example, a recent Forbes finding that “84% of companies fail at digital transformation” or a recent HBR survey of directors, CEO’s and senior executives that found 70% of all digital transformation initiatives do not reach their goals leading to tremendous waste. The reasons for such failures and missed expectations, especially with test transformation, range from inadequate strategy, poor governance, the inability to keep up with advances in technology innovation, complex tool sets and integration needs, and last but not least, unrealistic expectations on the benefits to be derived. Not surprisingly then, problems with quality can often have an adverse effect on the connected traveller. Equally, there is a potential impact to the company’s brand in the event of quality issues with the in-flight experience itself. In an industry where safety is of paramount importance, by and large, most business, functional and technical requirements need to be tested fully. With increasingly complex business processes and the tight interconnectedness of the travel industry ecosystem, many organizations are faced with the challenge of how to validate a truly end-to-end view of their customer journey given time and budget constraints. Therefore, a sound strategy is a vital consideration.
The adage that poor planning leads to poor execution is true. For many organizations, this means addressing the following key strategic considerations as a part of any transformation program:
- Organization test strategies aren’t always aligned to the needs of the connected traveller, and thus don’t always validate the correct user habits during testing.
- Test strategies that aren’t always aligned to Agile delivery and thus fail to address the need for speed, leading to extra spend on activities such as integration and reactive just-in-time testing.
- Business processes often lack end-to-end test solutioning, partly due to environment and data issues.
- An inability to respond quickly to the emerging needs of the connected travel in the face of technology advances and with limited budgets. Organizations need to move fast and react quickly if they are to realize the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). However, efforts to adopt new technologies are often hampered by insufficient technical skills or limited resource availability.
It is imperative that any test strategy focuses on key quality aspects of the traveller’s journey. Any failure to ensure the user experience comes at the expense of losing market share in a highly competitive marketplace. How do travel brands realize successful outcomes through driving shift left goals, accelerating time to market and addressing the intricacies of product or cross-functional testing requirements? Read on.
The Right Foundation for a Test Transformation Journey Begins with Crafting a Roadmap
The benefits to be gained from transformation initiatives when implemented correctly include significant cost savings, transformed ways of working that break down silos that lead to decreased attrition rates, increased resource utilization, the ability to support the full eco-system test support needs, decreased lead time and ultimately, superior service-based delivery. Let’s take a closer look at what the right approach to a test transformation could be.
- First and foremost, any transformation initiative requires top down leadership buy in, given its far-reaching effects across the organization.
- As stated in the previous installment of this blog, it must be accompanied by a strategy and roadmap that will embody the organization’s goals and objectives over a 3-5 year period.
- It is vital to baseline current delivery capabilities. One of the best ways to achieve this is through a comprehensive maturity assessment, typically based on CMMI and other best practices. The outcome of such an exercise is not only to realize a measurable baseline, but also a clear vision of the desired end state.
- The roadmap produced from such an activity will define the path from the current to target state. It will be actionable, in the form of prioritized recommendations, addressing priority focus areas and value. This roadmap is a living document and will require fine-tuning to address emerging program-level risks and issues.
- The supporting strategy should enable the traveler experience and be backed by a sound understanding of the traveler digital ecosystem. Customer analytics and data points present a holistic end-to-end view that reflect key business processes which need to be validated beyond the traditional test requirements coverage and traceability view. This will also assist in supporting what is often a gap with existing Agile delivery around integration testing, specifically around the need for a certification function.
- Lastly, defining an Organization Change Management strategy will serve as the backbone for change. It will help the organization navigate towards the target state, overcoming resistance along the way and ultimately empowering teams to embrace change and foster new ways of working with an emphasis on intelligent automation.
Now that your transformation roadmap is defined and has leadership buy-in, in order to successfully execute this plan, there are various considerations that must be addressed. These will be discussed in detail during the next installment of this blog, which includes:
- The need to fully stabilize existing test service delivery of supported applications and products
- Provide clear governance that will dictate how all services are supported and delivered, including demand management and employing a shared services model to support business functions.
- Formal Continuous Improvement will be based off the current service delivery baseline and is measured against both the roadmap and key SLA’s, KPI’s and metrics to realize outcome-based delivery.
- End-to-end process automation as a core service and a unified tools framework.
- Value adds that will bring real and lasting change such as test data and environment management, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, etc.
- Seamless real-time reporting that provides transparency and visibility to the test process with required drill downs to provide the right level of clarity around challenges and other obstacles that impede testing success.
Transforming the way an organization operates to realize cost savings, faster time to market and other benefits takes times. It is not possible to change any given test support structure overnight in the absence of a well thought out strategy and a dedicated test engineering program that can deliver quality at speed and support the connected traveler experience. Furthermore, with such programs, it is wise to follow a crawl, walk, run model, whereby the team builds on incremental successes that target low hanging fruit, realize key wins early on and thus build momentum, leading to the progressive realization of program transformation goals and objectives.
Mindtree has helped leading travel brands implement these strategies and approaches to deliver outstanding cost savings, breaking through myopic views and reactive strategies ultimately allowing teams to reduce lead time and increase efficiency by eliminating waste and maximize throughput and resource utilization. In an industry where change is the name of the game, adopting this strategy delivers real change that impacts customer experience, thus leading to loyalty.
To learn more about how we could amplify the test engineering efforts at your travel brand through a workshop or assessment activity to make it the go to brand for travelers, write to us here.