Digital Assurance: Sweeping Away Digital Complexity

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In the first blog in this series, I introduced the Digital Complexity Paradigm (DCP) – which, broken down in simple terms, attempts to capture the significantly increased complexity and speed at which digital transformation (and evolution) needs to be delivered. That complexity and speed are then compounded by the absolute need for unquestionable quality.

In this next blog, we will look at technical complexity as it applies to the DCP. And as part of that, I will continue the story of how Levi Dickinson’s “invention” of the broom back in 1797 laid the groundwork for one of the greatest digital transformations of the 20th century.

Digital Complexity Paradigm

To start, let’s take another look at the Digital Complexity Paradigm:

Technical complexity (multiplied to the Nth degree) factored against the necessary speed to market (insert “we needed it yesterday!” being shouted by the CEO). All of this is factored against the unquestioned quality that is necessary in any market channel.

 And with that, you have the DCP. And there is not an organization in existence that is not working through this equation, to varying degrees of success. And the other thing about DCP is that it is an adaptive and dynamic formula that has living variables, so solutions are never permanent, and failures lurk around each corner. The question then becomes, do these same organizations have the proportional expertise to assure the successful delivery and outcomes of their digital initiatives?

If we can all accept the validity of this concept (and the MIT-worthy mathematical expression that represents the concept), then we should all agree on the importance of Digital Assurance as part of the larger digital transformation paradigm.

Yet, even with a critical mass of agreement on the concept, we don’t always have a critical mass of execution on the concept. In other words, nobody will argue with the complexity, speed, and quality elements; yet when it comes to putting in place the “proper” Digital Assurance program, many enterprises fall.

"a bit" equals 225 years

This edition in the series is focusing on the technical complexity value of our digital complexity paradigm formula, so let me get back to the broom analogy I mentioned in the first blog. Upon first hearing, a broom as an analogy for digital transformation’s technical complexity seems ridiculous. Right?

But when we stretch the analogy a bit – where “a bit” equals 225 years – and think of the purpose of the broom, they have been used for centuries to sweep up, in and around the home and workplace. Prior to the invention of electricity (1879) and the vacuum cleaner (and better put, the time when vacuums became affordable for the average household in the mid 1900’s), brooms were the only game in town to clean dirt from floors.

It could be argued that there has not been any household item that has had a lower technical complexity score yet served a more critical function than the broom. It is essentially a stick with bristles attached. Yet, as society advanced, household incomes increased, new surfaces were introduced (goodbye stone floors and hello carpets), and the broom became less functional and less practical.

The broom, while still totally relevant and utilitarian, has given way to the vacuum in many societies. The vacuum evolved from large and unwieldy (the first household vacuums weighed more than 100 lbs.) to the lightweight and technologically advanced vacuum of today. And of course, the modern day vacuum has led to robot vacuums such as the Roomba or Roborock. Yes, it took more than 200 years, but the point is that it is quite the progression of a digital transformation.

Now let’s get back to that DCP formula. If we think of what it took to get the broom into the market vs. the vacuum vs. a robotic vacuum, that is where the technical complexity value of the equation starts to make more sense. How much testing was required for the broom? Let’s list out the test scenarios…

  • The head of the broom is secured to the broom handle.
  • The handle is durable enough to support the weight of the head.
  • The handle and the head are durable enough to collect and move dirt.
  • The bristles, collectively, can capture and move dirt.
  • The broom works on multiple hard surfaces (wood, brick, linoleum, etc.).

Give or take one or two, there are essentially five main test scenarios for the broom. If you think of the progression of test scenarios for a vacuum (there are close to 50) and then for a robot vacuum (there are over 250), each evolution of technical and digital maturity leads to much more complicated testing, and hence the digital assurance model required is going to be more complicated. And that is the challenge facing nearly every company out there: technology continues to evolve, digital continues to evolve. It is not getting any easier. As a collective society, we continue to push the bounds of what is expected from technology, and there is a direct correlation between raised expectations and the speed and quality at which it is delivered.

The broom example is meant to demonstrate how technological complexity advances exponentially over the life of a product line or category, as well as how technological advancement horizons are shrinking. The lifecycle of technological advancement and innovation has gone from being measured by centuries, then decades, then years, to the current day, in which it is measured in months and sometimes weeks. And there is no end in sight – innovation leads to more innovation.

All of this, taken together, further adds to the challenge companies are facing in keeping up. Without a proper Digital Assurance strategy and without the capabilities to execute that strategy, the evolution of an organization’s digital initiatives will fail to meet the expectations of the market. We have seen it time and time again.

In the next blog in this series, we will break down the speed component. Do you remember those public service announcements pointed towards teen drivers saying, “speed kills”? Well, in digital, lack of speed kills, and we will address that, factored against technological complexity and the challenge of getting software out the door with the best quality.

Conclusion

The shift to digital-first has resulted in enterprises reimagining their business models and customer strategies. A robust digital transformation strategy requires a complete makeover of the traditional QA processes and infrastructure.

Cigniti’s Digital Assurance and Testing solutions address the multi-faceted needs of digital transformation while keeping agility and customer centricity at the core of our services. We conduct comprehensive testing across your digital value chain, encompassing digital marketing, web portals, web content, digital assets, and web analytics, as well as the entire digital ecosystem, including cloud, mobility, big data, and connected devices.

Need help? Consult our experienced team of digital assurance and testing experts to learn more about the digital complexity paradigm and to experience a smooth digital transformation.

Author

  • Chris leads Cigniti’s Digital GTM focused on customer success in Digital Transformation and Assurance. He is an accomplished IT Services and Solutions executive with over 25 years of experience formulating IT strategy, providing advisory and consulting and “roll up the sleeves” delivery. Chris has worked with many Fortunate 500 organizations – including 15 of the Fortunate 100 – across multiple industry verticals including Retail, CPG, Travel and Hospitality, and BFSI. He has an innate passion for helping organizations transform by leveraging digital, IT operation modernization, new agile ways of working and deploying software.

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