QA is the way to success for digital utilities

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The utilities sector is the one most vulnerable to disruption as well as to causing disruption. In an event of a natural disaster or calamity, the destruction of utilities’ infrastructure results is the reason for a significant amount of chaos that typically ensues as everyday life comes to a standstill. 

Over the years, the industry has focused on developing innovative solutions to build greater resilience and higher reliability for the customers. And the move toward digital transformation is another step in the endeavor. 

Digital utilities have three main focus areas – customer channels, the delivery of new services, and the role of digital in disrupting business models – with data, organizational governance, and culture & change management also playing a key role. 

By leveraging digital opportunities, the utilities sector is not only ensuring uninterrupted services to the customers but also optimizing its own value chain through improved productivity and efficiency. As per a McKinsey estimate, digital optimization in the utilities industry can boost profitability by 20 to 30 percent with optimized plant maintenance, spare-parts management, fuel management, improved decision making, preventive and predictive maintenance, and better operations and management through enterprise resource planning. 

The unpredictability of the sector is the biggest threat to the utilities services providers. With constantly updating government policies and regulations, and changing prices, the industry leaders need to constantly be on their toes to ensure the best outcome for all the stakeholders involved. 

Digital utilities companies are employing smart meters and smart grid, digital productivity tools for employees, and automation of back-office processes to tackle the risks and threats prevalent in the industry, while also facilitating the delivery of seamless services to the customers. This requires them to be updated with any and every change in real time and having the capability to analyze the real-time data for effective decision making. 

In addition to leveling up the grid infrastructure, the digital utility companies are investing in digitizing their back-office processes like billing, invoice management, service tracking, and account management for higher agility and productivity. To efficiently keep a track of such a large scale of activities, they need a robust application that is capable of scaling on demand and performing under high load conditions. 

While digital utilities companies are driving innovation as a core practice for serving their customers better, they need the support of software quality assurance practices to ascertain that their digital efforts produce the desired outcomes. Although digital innovation is opening up new avenues for the E&U businesses at multiple levels, software testing of utilities applications keeps a check at the ground level to make sure that applications are well-functioning and well-performing on all the aspects.  

Examples of how QA supports the digital initiatives of the utilities industry 

  • Cloud performance testing ensures concurrent user scalability for a leading provider of home heating & comfort systems 
  • A leading provider of the home heating and comfort systems with top-of-the-line HVAC systems, furnaces, and air conditioners wanted to ensure best performance for all of their products and client-facing applications.  
  • As these applications connected all the company’s stakeholders and attracted a lot of activity, the provider wanted to test the performance of the system at 50,000 concurrent users in an application environment built on SQL and IIS. They required a robust and low-cost load generation environment as well as a formal process, which would help them identify performance bottlenecks and correlate the test results with production data. 
  • By implementing a cloud-enabled load generation strategy and a robust & maintainable performance test automation framework, the client was able to achieve:
    • 25% improvement in hardware performance 
    • 20% optimization of server performance and concurrent user scalability 
    • 30% improvement in server response time 
    • Reduction in overall performance testing costs 
  • Read the complete success story 

 

  • Proprietary test automation framework improved test coverage across modules for the largest independent supplier of energy & materials handling services 
  • One of the largest independent suppliers of energy & materials handling services in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the US wanted to automate the testing processes across all the modules of their applications. 
  • As there was no pre-defined test automation process or framework in place, the frequent changes and updates in requirements caused severe data validation challenges. The company was following an Agile development model and needed support to counter the crunch of QA resources in their in-house team for performing test automation on their complex legacy application. 
  • After standardizing their test processes with the implementation of a test automation framework, checklists, guidelines, best practices, and reusable templates, the supplier could realize the benefits of: 
    • 60% improvement in automation coverage across the application modules 
    • 30% reduction in test execution time 
    • 75% reduction in test efforts with test automation  
    • 50% improvement in application quality through proactive testing 
  • Read the complete success story 

How can we help 

At Cigniti, we understand the testing needs of the Energy & Utilities landscape that is undergoing a massive transformation from existing systems to better ways of consumption, production, and distribution. Having delivered comprehensive testing services to E&U organizations in US, UK, and Europe, we provide complete test coverage, test acceleration, and tool agnostic test frameworks.  

With capabilities that enrich QA initiatives across change management, compliance programs, and executive monitoring, our services strengthen the global E&U ecosystems with precision and high standards of QA to overcome business concerns across production, transport, distribution, consumption measurement, and billing. 

Cigniti’s E&U CoE incorporates the multiple benefits of its other CoEs such as those for Performance, Security, Automation, ERP, & Mobile CoE, for offering a complete QA solution to you. 

Connect with our Energy and Utilities software testing experts today to resolve your QA needs.