In an increasingly tech-centric world which has been spotlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses are beginning to appreciate the importance of being digitally agile; however progress to date has arguably been incredibly slow. Many companies are still unaware exactly how to succeed on a digital transformation journey and underestimate the importance of quality assurance in enabling this change.

With many strategists feeling their company’s digital efforts are missing revenue expectations, they must find means to accelerate business change in order to hold onto competitive advantage. Independent quality assurance helps supply the perspective and confidence a business needs to get this right, with huge gains to be made, especially if quality is embedded.

Bring your A-game

Many business leaders today feel that digitisation is a company priority, but it’s important digital transformation doesn’t become a box-ticking exercise. It’s easy to become guarded against sharing information, and start viewing assurers as watchdogs, rather than a helping hand. New approaches must be adapted to aid a digital transformation process with good quality assurance providers encouraging a continuous improvement mentality.

Rather than standing in the wings, they need be actively involved, with companies leaning on their expertise, and independent opinion to encourage agile, out of the box thinking, while ensuring continuous re-evaluation to avoid potentially irreversible decisions.

Visibility is integral to navigating a digital transformation journey and the more proactive you allow the assurers to be, the more value you and your clients will get out of them.

Improved accuracy

As well as providing ideas and guidance, an independent assurer can have the added value of spotting project mistakes that may have otherwise been missed or slipped by unnoticed, and act on them quickly.

At Expleo, we’re working with the Data Communications Company (DCC) to help deliver the Ofgem-led Switching Programme, that will allow customers to change energy suppliers faster and more reliably.

When working with DCC, we occasionally found ourselves finding misinterpretations by individual parties. Any gaps in understanding might have appeared quite small, but they can have large ramifications, if not rectified as they are a key input into the next activity.

The repercussions might not show for six months, but by responding rapidly, it prevents them from domino-ing into more serious problems.
Given the speed at which the DCC programme was evolving, it made a huge difference to gain and act on insight as changes happened, rather than responding to challenges later on, when they would have been harder, and costlier, to fix.

At the same time, there were no unpleasant surprises, because updates were regularly discussed and actioned in meetings. When the right relationships are in place, partners will take the guidance on board and then move forward positively.

More than just error reports

Sometimes when you’re deeply involved in a project, one can’t see the wood from the trees. But a good assurance partner will provide more than documentation – they will identify genuine areas for improvement.

When we worked with DCC, for instance, we mobilised our in-house code scanner, which revealed several important technical aspects of the solution that required improvement. If we had found those gremlins further down the line, the costs could have been much higher and more severe.

Assurance providers should be independent of purpose but not isolated of activity – that means asking difficult questions from a testing and quality perspective. This relies on having the freedom to offer impartial advice, but also the scope to talk to a full range of suppliers. We want to provide solutions – not just flag problems.

At Expleo, we believe companies gain a better risk coverage from what we call a ‘top down and bottom up’ approach to assurance. That means providing senior strategic insight to help guide progress in line with client needs, alongside the technical ability to make a practical difference day-to-day.

Independence is critical for the value we add, bringing true findings that lead to actionable guidance, rather than compromised feedback.

No more silos

There are now very few excuses left for operating in a non-digital way. All businesses need to be intelligent businesses that can change direction nimbly, with speed, confidence and composure. Pivoting towards an automation-first model is a necessary task for most businesses now to enable agility, but it’s not a simple one. When it comes to digital transformation, we need to forget about operating in silos, and learn to collaborate where it counts – with proactive quality assurance at the heart and centre.

Ivan Ericsson, Head of Quality Assurance, Expleo