“No one can stop you if you are determined”, well this quote resonates well with the QAI STC team, who despite the pandemic hosted their first-ever virtual conference “QAI STC 2020”. The virtual conference was organized systematically and concluded beautifully with the aim of enlightening the audience about the latest trends and practices on software testing. The theme of the event in 2020. was The Future of Quality Engineering: Imagine, Innovate, and Build the “new normal” and accordingly all the practitioners, thinkers, and thought leaders shared their ideas on diverse practices to aid Quality Engineering. The keynotes delivered were extremely informative and no less than pearls from the ocean for all the curious technocrats.

One of the most lauded and perfectly timed topics was shared by our Co-founder Mr. Avinash Tiwari in the keynote. He spoke on “Consumer Experience Transformation and the Role of Testing”. The idea of Consumer experience equipped with success stories brought light to realize its importance to fuel Quality engineering.

Excerpts from Avinash’s Keynote – “Consumer Experience Transformation and the Role of Testing”

“You have to start with customer experience and work back towards the technology” – Steve Jobs. Starting with the quote which emphasises on the importance of consumer experience, Mr. Avinash Tiwari, highlighted the need to understand the fact that a customer’s decision to buy a product is influenced greatly by the consumer experience rather than the technical functionalities of the product.

One of the best examples set for this was how dominos anywhere was established. Domino’s anywhere enabled its customers to order pizza from facebook’s messenger, smart watches, alexa, car’s audio interface etc. They thought of elevating the customer experience by creating an order facility which will not disturb their current experience.

While designing a consumer experience one thing that should be kept in mind by “Testing Community” is that – it is a combination of both functional and unarticulated hidden emotional needs Understanding both these key factors would lead to designing the right consumer experience for the customers. This is the thought process that should be adopted by the testing communities for better results. For creating better testing opportunities for consumer experience, some methodologies suggested in the keynote were journey mapping, empathy mapping, and understanding user personas. Avinash also stated some of the testing methods that can contribute to designing a better consumer testing experience like Omnichannel Customer Journey testing, Moderated and Unmoderated CX testing – guerrilla, Real life condition testing- Crowd, Sentiment Analysis by AI, Shift from Silo testing to multi experience.

As the theme for STC this year was based on Quality Engineering, most of the knowledge sharing happened on tools and technologies which fuels Quality engineering. Let’s have an overview of the takeaways from the best keynotes of STC 2020

Leveraging AI and machine learning in DevOps and Quality Engineering – by Mrs. Richa Chabra

Artificial Intelligence has spread its roots in all the areas of the IT industry. According to Richa Chabra, a renowned technocrat in Tech Mahindra emphasized on how predictive analytics and machine learning can drive DevOps. She specifically discussed the importance of cognitive DevOps and explained that the combination of data analytics and predictive analytics can work wonders The challenge is to build cognitive abilities in the DevOps pipeline for example the pipeline by itself identifies the risks, the pipeline itself recovers from the environmental issues, configuration issues, certain data issues and above all any hiccups in the automation will help to restart itself again.

The cognitive DevOps can reach a point where the product failure can be looked at and triaged quickly and RCA can be done based on history, the pattern, the trend analysis, etc. The aim is that the pipeline can recover by itself rather than depending on a number of human interventions. The quality of cognitive DevOps will depend on the quality of the underlying data which will be collected by the pipeline to draw inferences or perform the automatic recovery tasks. Here Quality Engineering comes into the picture. She stressed on the point that, throughout the pipeline journey, at various stages like preparing the build, testing, development, continuous integration, continuous deployment, and continuous testing throughout these steps there is some data that needs to be collected, analyzed, parameterized, and processed to prepare a use case for using the data effectively to provide intelligence to the pipeline. So these were some of the extracts from the keynote on leveraging AI and ML for DevOps and QE. To make the idea clear let’s have an overview of the basics of DevOps and Quality Engineering.

Agile and DevOps

Software testing life cycles have evolved abundantly in the last two decades. Both Agile and DevOps are the kings of software development methodologies, both developed for increasing the speed testing lifecycle. Different organizations have their own way of using these methodologies, some use only agile or only DevOps and some might even prefer using a bit of both.

Starting with Agile, Agile helped in increasing the speed of the app development by introducing the modular method wherein instead of developing a complete app, its features are developed and integrated together. To speed up the process, meetings with the client teams are kept in regular intervals like a week or two to give the progress about the feature development. In DevOps, every piece of code is committed and deployed in the client-server. Here the codes are committed several times in a day. Hence both DevOps and agile help in increasing the speed and efficiency of developing and testing applications. Hence to develop high-performance applications adopting Agile or DevOps is essential. Above all, it provides flexibility which is paramount in the digital world.

Quality Engineering: The Future of QA

Quality engineering focuses on end to end management of software development to ensure high-quality output. Today testing has become a major part of most software development processes. Hence apart from other processes covered in Quality engineering like management, development, and operation, testing has taken a center stage and continues to evolve. No doubt the high-end methodologies such as Agile, DevOps, Continuous Integration, and Automation testing are the driving force in accelerating the test cycles and increasing test coverage, but in order to push the envelope of quality testing, we need to strengthen consumer experience testing focused on the methodologies like the shift from silo testing to multi-experience, journey mapping, omnichannel customer journey testing, sentiment analysis by AI, etc.

Artificial and Natural Intelligence – Complimentary or Complementing – by Mr. Mahesh Vekataraman

AI, ML, and predictive analytics have brought a huge impact on the IT world. Hence a lot of Speakers had a lot to share on this topic. Starting with Mr. Mahesh Venkataraman from Accenture spoke about the difference between Artificial Intelligence and Natural Intelligence and how they complement each other. He mentioned that a lot of industries across the world have started leveraging AI, but still it’s a long way for AI to be developed and become as powerful as a human brain.

Well, today Artificial Intelligence and IT industries share an equation where AI, ML, and predictive analytics can be leveraged as a tool a step ahead of automation and that’s the reason it is being utilized in development, testing, DevOps, DevSecOps, quality engineering, etc. As per the statistics, the US alone had raised $1Billion in funds for AI in the year 2019, over 50% of the IT groups will use some form of AI Ops or smart monitoring by the year 2021. These huge numbers speak volumes on AI usage in the IT sector. In one of his speeches, Sundar Pichai said that “AI is one of the most profound things we’re working on as humanity. It’s more profound than fire or electricity,” In the coming years, Artificial Intelligence is expected to be leveraged to its full potential in the IT sector and the current rate of its usage and heavy investments show that we will reach the pinnacle soon.

Key highlights about Multi-Experience

During the keynote on Consumer Experience, one of the most critical topics Mr. Avinash Tiwari threw light on was Multi Experience – one of the hottest cakes in IT marketing. So let’s grab some key highlights about Multi Experience

Today the technical communities have realized that a software product like a web or mobile application with correct functionalities is not enough for providing a good digital experience. Quality engineering has opened new horizons in the digital world where consumer experience is worshiped. All these efforts have given birth to a lot of solutions and one of them is Multiexperience. As the name suggests, Multiexperience is equipping your users with your services through multiple modalities, apps, devices, digital touchpoints to design and develop a seamless omnichannel experience for your customers.

The motive is to increase the interaction with the customers through as many touchpoints as possible. As data is being consumed in large numbers enterprises want to ensure that their product delivers the two major elements i.e. the ease to use and personalization. The way to push the envelope is to switch from mobile-focused app development to multi-experience app development. What if, you can use an application on a variety of devices. This is the magic of MXDP which allows an application to scale across a number of devices to provide the users the ultimate digital experience.

Conclusion

Ultimate Digital experience is just not about providing excellent technical functionalities but providing great customer experience, this ideology gave birth to multi-experience which emphasizes scaling your mobile app in various other digital platforms to provide maximum and seamless interaction to the customers. With the theme surrounding Quality Engineering, this was one of the greatest learnings in the first-ever virtual annual QAI STC 2020 which concluded successfully.