How QA became the way of resilience for global industries in 2020

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As individuals, organizations, and nations across the world posed a strong front against the havoc wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic, technology became their strong ally. With the help of digital transformation, next-gen technologies, and Quality Assurance services, we are finally saying goodbye to one of the most trying years.  

Here is a roundup of thought leadership articles that we published this year, talking about how each industry is individually leveraging technology and QA to fight and survive amidst the pandemic.

Banking & Financial Services 

The cashless and contactless future of payments 

Card-based payments, digital or app-based payments, and other similar payment technologies were slowly gaining ground before the COVID-19 virus hit the world. But now, they have become the go-to method for payments and transactions, and are deemed the ‘safer’ choice for making purchases.  

As per a pre-COVID report, the global contactless payment market size was expected to grow from USD 10.3 billion in 2020 to USD 18 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.7% during the forecast period.  

As many as 20 major EU banks, including Deutsche Bank and Santander, are set to announce details for a new payments initiative, referred to as the Pan European Payment System Initiative (PEPSI), in the very near future. By relying on the EU’s Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) system, the initiative will enable real-time fund transfers to handle payments.  

With disruptors launching innovative payment solutions, such as online payment processing systems including Amazon Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay, we are certainly headed toward a cashless and contactless future of payments.  

The promise of FinTech in a disrupted financial sector 

There was a time when the Financial Services sector was being disrupted by the introduction of FinTech in the market. In the light of current events, the industry is now experiencing a total shift as FinTech becomes its savior. People are now wary of performing cash or card-based transactions as they involve the risk of virus transmission. As almost all the banks have shut down most of their branches and are now operating remotely and digitally, FinTech is gaining prominence.  

As per a recent report, 68% of the consumers use services from FinTech players as they seek ease of use, 70% of them are attracted by their low-cost offerings, 54% want faster services, while 39% of the users want personalized products and better features. The major strengths of these FinTech organizations are their mobile-only model, a customer-centric design, scaled agile approach, and data-driven insights. Combined with the right set of tech stack and years of experience of the traditional financial institutions, they can lead the market with their innovative products by providing a complete in-and-out digital experience. 

Communications 

How to strengthen the Telecom sector to support the remote workforce 

The ability of telecom companies to serve unfailingly may have a strong impact on how their consumers perceive their network services after everything ‘normalizes’, which is why it is essential for the CSPs to expand their capabilities & address the immediate demand with maximum efficacy. Although it is true that the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in some major shifts in the priorities for each sector, it definitely has positioned the communications industry as critical as the utilities. As Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC Commissioner puts it, “If it wasn’t clear before this crisis, it is crystal clear now that broadband is a necessity for every aspect of modern civic and commercial life.”  

One of the key steps that the industry should take next is to assume control of their networks by performing end-to-end performance & reliability testing. In this situation, it is essential to monitor any sort of traffic changes and perform network optimization whenever required. Telecom network testing will enable the CSPs to evaluate the performance of their networks under high load situations & benchmark the maximum capacity of the users they can tolerate without impacting the performance. This data would help them take proactive measures to maintain network’s performance when the load approaches the threshold. To cope with the rising traffic demand, the telcos should consider expanding their network strength & spectrum.  

Healthcare & Lifesciences 

Remote Monitoring Devices – The digital Healthcare strategy to combat a pandemic 

“We have to use a health care strategy that deploys resources throughout an entire community, and that’s where remote monitoring comes in” says Raj Khandwalla, a physician and director of digital therapeutics for the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Remote medical assistance can not only free up beds and vital equipments, but also uphold the healthcare system to battle the outbreak efficiently. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration agency issued a new policy that allows manufacturers of certain FDA-cleared non-invasive, vital sign-measuring devices to expand their use so that health care providers can use them to monitor patients remotely. The devices include those that measure body temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, and blood pressure.  

In order to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 spread, isolation and distancing are critical. As the demand for remote monitoring devices surges, the manufacturers of digital health tools and platforms are required to buckle up and scale the supply. However, given the criticality of the situation, they should particularly fortify the ability of their tools to support heavy user load and function seamlessly across devices.  

These remote patient monitoring devices will be playing a vital role in containing the pandemic, which is why, it is essential that these devices work as efficiently as the human healthcare workforce. In order to do so, the remote health monitoring systems must be verified & validated for compliance & regulations, while delivering a safe and smooth experience to the patients. 

How can Pharma & smart technology help fight the pandemic 

AI-driven solutions, by taking over the time-consuming & labor-intensive processes in a drug development journey, can help the pharmaceuticals companies to shorten the time required to bring a drug to the market. With the help of machine learning and deep learning algorithms, Artificial Intelligence can perform thorough analysis of huge datasets and extensive review of the available scientific literature.  

Combining the technical skills of scientists with smart automation and AI & ML algorithms is helping pharma companies to level up their battle against the COVID-19 pandemic while making the drug discovery process nimble & efficient. Smart automation solutions are allowing them to continue with the vaccine development without risking the health of their employees. 

Use cases and best practices of RPA implementation in healthcare 

With a significant chunk of the healthcare professionals’ time being spent on the administrative tasks, there is relatively less time left for them to attend to the patients. In such a scenario, automating the mundane but necessary paperwork can help save life-critical time of the healthcare practitioners and allow them to address the issues of more number of patients.  

Robotic Process Automation or RPA in healthcare shows great promise in terms of improving the efficiency of the systems as well as streamlining the processes. It can not only lower the overall costs and speed up the care delivery services, but also brings greater flexibility and help gain critical insights from the medical history of a patient, thus allowing the healthcare practitioners to prescribe the best course of treatment.  

Robotic Process Automation software or bots enable the healthcare industry to automate the repetitive, mundane, labor-intensive, and time-consuming activities by automating data processing through mimicking human actions. As the technology works with the user interface layer of an application, it does not require any modifications to the core IT systems of the healthcare system, which could be highly expensive to do. Therefore, this next-gen technology helps control the operational costs and improve process efficiency, while taking over the essential but tiresome processes.  

Insurance 

How Insurance claims processing and management is evolving 

Insurance is a relatively stable industry, which was first shaken by Insurtech and is now being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The former is facilitating a technological shift that will help the global market to deal with the negative effects of the latter. So, even if Insurtech was not as widely accepted in the industry before, it will be a crucial aspect of the insurance sector’s recovery plan from this global crisis.  

The fact that 84% of the customers switch their insurance providers after a bad claims experience reinstate the importance of the process as well customer satisfaction. Insurance industry should move toward an ecosystem-based model that offers the customers an interconnected set of services through a single platform. Such ecosystems, driven by smart technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and RPA, can empower the industry to gain productivity by scale through channeling functional excellence, structural simplification, business transformation, and enterprise agility. In addition to an omnichannel experience, customers will be able to leverage digital capabilities throughout their journey with the insurer.  

Manufacturing & Logistics 

How to use technology to cope with the Supply Chain slowdown 

The supply chain industry is always the most vulnerable to force majeure. The COVID-19 outbreak revealed major weaknesses in the global supply chains. Given the criticality of a well-functioning supply chain, it is imperative that organizations focus on building resilience against such unavoidable crisis and developing stronger sourcing strategies. Companies should stop relying on a single source and try to bring in flexibility, which may come to rescue in events like these. In such unprecedented events, those companies who have resilience against change, agility to respond, and the ability to continue their business emerge stronger on the other end. Let us discuss how technology can play a major part in this transformational process.  

A cognitive supply chain, built with a combination of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Digital Twins, Smart contracts, Blockchain, & Cloud Computing, can be resistant to the changes in the global economic landscape. As edge computing & 5G technologies are gaining momentum, remote monitoring & real-time decision making without latency is becoming feasible.  

A smart, autonomous supply chain has the ability to identify patterns in demand that a naked eye would miss, thus resulting in better & more accurate business decisions. 

The need for DevOps and automation in manufacturing 

Times have changed, demands have changed, and there is a need for changing the ways in which we deal with the problems at hand and even, function. Manufacturing industry, in particular, have to evaluate and implement solutions to keep the lights on in their factories as it has been one of the most negatively impacted sectors during the current pandemic. With limited remote working functionalities and digital transformation in the infant stage, manufacturing industry is hit hard by the closed production lines, social distancing and heavy dependency on manual workers. 

By taking a DevOps-driven approach for automation in manufacturing, the sector can create cross-functional process, streamline workflows, enhance the productivity, gain real-time performance visibility, and identify end-to-end accountability. Implementing DevOps helps underline the importance of taking a birds-eye-view at the performance of the whole system for identifying bottlenecks quickly, enabling and amplifying feedback loops for maximum efficiency, and creating a culture of continuous improvement for integrating quality into the releases.  

Media & Entertainment 

The need of Media & Entertainment for surviving the lockdown 

The difference that the pandemic has brought is the lack of choice. Earlier, consumers had the option to choose their preferred mode of entertainment and media consumption – print or digital, OTT or Pay TV, virtual events or physical events. Now, with major events getting cancelled, show productions and shootings halted, and movie theatres and public places shut down, there is not really a choice to consumers except for going the digital way to fulfill their media and entertainment needs. Digital platforms have become the sole escape for the locked-down and quarantined population. In times like these, it is essential that the media & entertainment companies grab this opportunity by all means and offer the best experience to their customers. 

Retail & Ecommerce 

How Retail should deal with the looming uncertainty 

Over the past couple of years, store closures have happened faster than store openings, while the overall foot traffic in malls and physical shops continues to decrease. However, this decrease in the customers visiting the brick-and-mortar stores has corresponded with an increase in online sales. If we look at the numbers, the overall sales have amplified despite the store closures.  With the COVID-19 outbreak, the closing speed has accelerated & the foot traffic has nosedived. But this means that the ‘digital retail ecosystem in making’ will simply come to its conclusion much earlier than it was expected to.  

Gartner research has shown that more than 80% of retailers have or plan to implement AI solutions across 5 key merchandising processes by 2021: product development and selection; planning; buying; demand forecasting; and allocation and replenishment to better deal with situations like the COVID-19 pandemic better. The analyst predicts that Retailers that do not renew their focus on utilizing their store portfolio and on providing compelling unified retail commerce consumer-facing experiences will continue to lose out. They also need to develop realistic and benefit-adding use cases for AI and ML into their business operations for core supply chain planning, forecasting, inventory and merchandising functions. 

Education 

How Technology is helping ensure the continuity of Education 

Our education system was long due for reform. We still complete our education in a formal classroom lecture setting – the same way our grandparents, and their grandparents received their education. To break the monotony of rote learning, Education Technology or EduTech or EdTech was gradually coming to surface. However, the popularity of such digital learning solutions was scarce. With almost entire global population along with the students are confined within their homes, digital technology is becoming the go-to-solution to maintain continuity of learning and minimize the impact of the virus on the delivery of education.  

Digital platforms such as online learning management systems and video conferencing tools are coming handy to schools and colleges for making sure their students are able to access the course material as well as communicate with their professors and teachers conveniently. The global education system is in rapid state of digital transformation as students and faculty get accustomed to the new way of learning and teaching. EdTech providers are working rigorously to fulfill the sudden surge in demand while also ascertaining that their tools and platforms live up to the expectations. 

QA and software testing for business resilience 

Quality assurance – An imperative in the world of zero-touch technology 

With the help of zero-touch technology, which is also known as no-touch, touch–less, and contactless, it can become possible to perform the necessary activities without exposing oneself to a possible contagion. However critical this transition from a high-touch world to a high-tech world is, it will not be an easy one. While there are a few sectors and areas where no-touch technology has been implemented before the COVID-19 crisis, but the usage was scarce and scattered. Now, we need the implementation to be widespread and prominent in every aspect of our lives. 

More than convenience, the zero-touch technology is about establishing trust in the customers who are panicked and dubious of every object and surface that do not belong to them. Therefore, having a zero-touch technology software application can empower every business to not only retain their customers but also imbibe a greater sense of trust and safety among them. However, the technology implemented should be secure, smooth, and robust, which can be guaranteed by software quality assurance.  

What is the need of software testing for business resilience 

Each sector resorted to digital solutions for continuing their services amid the lockdowns and social distancing, with several of them finding new ways of enhancing their service efficiency while ensuring safety. Now, as due to the pandemic, the digital and the physical layers of a business are overlapping and mostly merging together, performing software testing of the digital solution becomes the key to developing business resilience. 

A system that remains dependable when facing changes (new threats, change in the fault model, updates of applications) is called resilient. This means, higher the dependability of a system, higher will be the resilience that it will have to offer to a business or industry ecosystem. Software testing and quality assurance makes digital technology dependable by checking it for seven criteria of availability, capacity, performance, simplicity, consolidation, costs, and trust.  

Adios 2020! 

This year was tough on everyone, undoubtedly. But, the essential thing to remember is that we all fought and survived through. It demanded for the global sectors to get rid of the traditional way of doing things and embrace innovation as the primary means for survival. With the hyper acceleration of digital transformation efforts, organizations across the world required support to successfully achieve the desired outcomes. 

With deep commitment towards ensuring that the digital applications are secure, reliable, and robust, we put active efforts to assure business continuity and stability for our customers and employees alike.  

Cigniti’sDigital assurance & 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 the digital value chain encompassing digital marketing, web portals, web content, digital assets, web analytics, as well as the entire digital ecosystem including cloud, mobility, big data, and connected devices. 

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