QATalks with Nanda Padmaraju of Cigniti
Speakers: Nanda Padmaraju, Senior Vice-President at Cigniti
Here is the Transcript
You are listening to QA Talks. A podcast for quality assurance executives implementing digital transformation in their organizations. In this show, we focus on unique pitfalls inherent in quality assurance and quality engineering and how these executives are navigating them to position their organization for the future. Let’s get into the show.
Ralph: Welcome to the introductory episode of QA Talks. QA Talks is a podcast dedicated to the emerging technology and innovation happening in industries such as banking, airlines, insurance, and retail. Quality assurance is a key component in digital transformation sweeping our world. Companies are increasingly leaning on quality assurance and quality engineering to seamlessly implement their unique digital transformation plans. However, digital transformation can often seem like a massive tower, impossible to scale. In this podcast, you’ll hear from executives who are heavily involved in quality assurance, the unique challenges they face, and some of the most important pitfalls they are discovering so you can avoid them.
You’ll hear today from Nanda Padmaraju, Senior Vice President, Cigniti and Head of the Rest of the World (RoW) business unit. Nanda is going to be a co-host of this show.
How are you doing today, Nanda?
Nanda: I am doing good, Ralph. How are you doing?
Ralph: I am doing well. Glad to have you on this show. My name is Ralph Miranda and I’m your host pf QA Talks. I’ll be moderating the discussions that we are going to have in the future episodes. Today I’ll be talking to the co-host about what you, the listener, can expect from this podcast. But before we jump into that, Nanda could you tell us about yourself and what you do for Cigniti?
Nanda: Sure Ralph. I have 22 years of IT experience of which the last 15 years have been with pure–play, independent software testing, as an industry. I’ve worked with many companies and then was a founding member of Cigniti in the UK. We started our UK division in May 2014 & then expanded into other geographies such as South Africa, Australia, Middle East, and others. I manage what we call as the Rest of the World business unit, which encompasses all the geographies outside of North America.
Ralph: Well, Cigniti is a leader in the field of quality assurance & ultimately quality engineering. Tell us about the company and the passion that over 2400 employees share for quality testing.
Nanda: Sure. Cigniti has been in this space for the last 20 years while the Rest of the World business unit is relatively younger, compared to our North American counterparts, with just being 5 years old. But throughout this journey, what we’ve realized is we need to be good at what we pick. So, we’ve picked software testing, quality assurance, and quality engineering as our niche & we’ve stuck to our forte and trying to make a difference in the overall software development lifecycle. We have about 2400 career testers on our roles spread across the world. Each of these people has chosen Cigniti because they are passionate about testing.
Ralph, if you just take a step back & see how the IT industry & the major IT players, whether they are the large Indian players or the MNCs of the world like IBM and Deloitte, they all go to graduate schools, pick up a lot of graduates, train them, and then deploy them for various projects around the world. Unfortunately, QA or testing has been at the bottom end of the pyramid. The top, the cream of the professionals goes on to do architecture, rest of them do software development, and the bottom end are pushed toward testing. Unlike the major IT or the system integrators, at Cigniti, we’ve taken testing as the only thing that we do. So, we are able to attract people who have chosen testing as their career and are excellent in it.
Ralph: Nanda, how would you envision this podcast can help the QA community as they seek to position themselves in digital transformation?
Nanda: Digital transformation is incomplete without the focussed approach towards QA and there are a lot of pitfalls. Our objective with this podcast is to enable or empower our audience and listeners to be able to come up with few things like the people, the process, and the technology that can enable them from a QE perspective in their digital transformation journey. So we would come up with a lot of actionable insights into the journey of digital transformation, we will help our audience to avoid pitfalls, we’ll share our learnings across multiple industries, across multiple clients that we have served around the world, and give takeaways in terms of some of the best tools that can help you in your journey towards digital transformation.
Ralph: Quality assurance is a familiar term to most organizations, but quality engineering may not be as it brings monitoring components to the company’s efforts. So, talk a bit about how Cigniti’s involvement early in testing lifecycle can help drive down the total cost of IT?
Nanda: Sure Ralph. In the age of digital transformation, everybody appreciates that it is not just a shift–left but also a shift–right approach. This dual shift enables you to also take into account the live customer feedback in this digital era. So, let me first talk about the shift–left approach.
In terms of shift left, as a testing organization, we advocate that testing also has a place on the table early on in the lifecycle. By being early on in the lifecycle, we can help drive the ambiguities out of the requirements. So, the business analysts, development community, and all other stakeholder are on the same page with respect to the requirements. Each requirement is rated on 4 parameters by Cigniti – guarantee, consistency, completeness, and testability and that significantly drives down the downstream defects.
So, we believe in eliminating the scope for defects early on in the lifecycle. As you know the cost of fixing the defect in production is 100 times more costly than what it would cost to eliminate that in the requirement space. That covers the shift left approach.
But coming to the shift–right approach, most of the customers today have social media presence. In the age of digital, just 1 mistake can eliminate the company, so to speak. We take customer feedback very seriously. At Cigniti, we have built intellectual property, we call it as Sentiment Analyser. If you have an app either on the iOS or on the Android platform, our tool can parse through all the feedback & categorize them into buckets that sit within the QE space, which becomes a backlog in terms of the Agile way of dealing with this backlog.
So, we cover both shift–left and shift–right, and then give a holistic approach to quality engineering within the software development lifecycle, whether customers are on their Agile or DevOps methodologies.
Ralph: Excellent. So, what can listeners expect to hear in the way of topics or information that are vital to their efforts during each of the episodes of this podcast?
Nanda: We want to structure this in a way that helps our audience, Ralph. So, we picked up topics starting from test automation in this field of DevOps, to covering the processes that help you enable digital transformation successfully & at a very fast pace, to tools & technologies – because in the age of DevOps, particularly in the QA space, there are plethora of tools out there & not a single tool can actually do the entire task. So, it is the chaining of these toolsets to drive the best benefit for our customer which will again depend particularly based upon each of the customers, their own technology landscape, & other such factors that drive the selection of tools. That’s where we want to bring in our expertise. We’ll cover the tools aspect, importance of automation, the various automation frameworks that we bring to the table that can potentially help our customers, & more importantly, the people culture and the skillsets that can help you address the problem statements within the QE in the digital transformation journey.
Ralph: Well Nanda you’ve always been a result-oriented leader with proven success in pursuing & managing multi-year multi-million–dollar IT testing service fields across diversified financial service sectors, you’ve been adept at building long-term client relationships and alliance partnerships & your IT consulting experience includes ERP implementations & challenging fast pace in varied verticals. Your speciality includes enterprise sales, account management revenue, ROI enhancing strategy & implementation, team building training. So, through your many years of experience, what have you found are the key components that organizations must master to successfully make the digital transformation switch effective?
Nanda: We believe that there are 3 most important factors that can help you avoid the pitfalls of digital transformation & put you on the path to success.
The first and the foremost is the culture aspect within your IT workspace. Whether it is embracing change, being open minded, enabling people to take the risk are extremely important from a cultural perspective on this digital transformation. The cultural aspect is generally downplayed at the very beginning, but we believe that it is an extremely important aspect.
When we move onto the processes the hitherto, or the legacy processes may become significant roadblocks on your journey to digital transformation. So, you’ll be advised, and we have seen customers unlearn a lot of practices & then relay the roadmap afresh to be able to be on the digital transformation. The reason companies like Amazon, Netflix, Facebooks of the world are able to release code in a matter of seconds, vis-a-vis the legacy players, is a testimonial to the fact that you’ll have to lay the road afresh on the digital transformation.
Lastly but not the least, the importance of quality engineering, within the digital transformation space we have our own advisory & transformation practice within Cigniti that can help our clients, client stakeholders first appreciate the complexities within the digital transformation because we don’t want to reinvent the wheels so to speak, help our learnings across serving multiple customers around the world, bring them to the table, fine tune them to suit a particular customer, and then take it forward.
So, the advisory & transformation group is adept at doing workshops, soliciting feedback from the customer, trying to replay the requirements, and align them to the end objectives of the customer and then fill the gaps from a QA & QE perspective so that we ensure that the customer is set up for success.
Ralph: Excellent. Well, then how can listeners connect with you or the company in case they have ideas for episode topics or guests that should be featured on the show?
Nanda: I would welcome them to drop me an email. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also active on LinkedIn. If you search for Nanda Padmaraju and Cigniti, you’ll be able to find me. Drop me a message there and I’m happy to get connected with all my business and audience.
Ralph: Well, that wraps it up for our introductory episode with Nanda. Thank you, Nanda. I’m really excited to see this show grow. I think it will add exponential value to our listeners in a growing yet very challenging industry. Any final thoughts?
Nanda: Thank you so much Ralph for facilitating this podcast. I am very happy & excited to be on the 1st episode of this podcast. I look forward to connecting with the audience & first understand then help my customers.
Quality Assurance is vital to the success of an organization’s digital transformation. Lack of control can quickly derail a company’s technological presence, costing thousands. At Cigniti, all the solution is to build a better world with better quality software. Renowned for the global thought leadership in the industry, we draw expertise from over a decade of test engineering experience across verticals. To learn how we do it, visit Cigniti.com.
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