QATalks with Kalyana Rao Konda of Cigniti
Speakers: Kalyan Rao Konda, 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 the 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 the industries such as banking, airlines, insurance, and retail. Quality assurance is a key component of the 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 will hear from executives who are heavily involved in Quality Assurance. They will share the unique challenges they face and some of the most important pitfalls that they are discovering so that you can avoid them.
We are here today with Kalyana Rao Konda, he is President of Cigniti and Head of the North America East business unit. Kalyan is going to be a co-host in this show.
How are you doing today, Kalyan?
Kalyan: I am doing good, Ralph. Hope you are doing well, as well.
Ralph: I am. Thank you for joining us. My name is Ralph Miranda and I am going to be your host in the QA talks. I will be moderating the discussions we are going to have in the future episodes. Today, I will be talking to one of the co-hosts about what you, the listener, can expect from this podcast. But before we jump into that, Kalyan, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do for Cigniti?
Kalyan: Absolutely. So, my name is Kalyan and I have been involved in the field of software testing and quality management since the beginning of my career. I am somebody that you can call as a career tester. And early on, I have worked as a testing practitioner in different areas such as domain functional testing, test automation, performance, security, compatibility testing. Over a period of time, I have played multiple different roles like test automation lead, test manager, director of quality and also managed very large global delivery teams with presence across multiple countries, and then sort of gradually shifted towards the business side of software testing.
Right now, at Cigniti, my role is that I manage one of the business unit for Cigniti which we internally call it as, you know, Cigniti East and I am basically responsible for all the business operations of this business unit. That’s briefly about me and what I do in Cigniti, Ralph.
Ralph: Okay. Excellent. Cigniti is a leader in the field of quality assurance and ultimately quality engineering. So, could you tell us a little bit about the company itself?
Kalyan: Cigniti, I am proud to mention that we are the largest independent testing services company in North America, and we are a CMMI level 5 company. Probably we are one of the first companies in the independent testing service space to be accredited as a CMMI level 5 company.
We are a global company. So, we get the majority of the business from North America. We do have a significant presence in the UK, Australia, and a few other countries as well. And, as a company that we are dedicated to offering the services in the space of software testing and quality management.
So, that is the only thing that we do, and we do that extremely well. Right now, we are a strategic testing partner for 50+ Fortune 1000 companies. And lot of companies, name-brand companies, that people experience as part of their day to day lives – we actually are doing the quality assurance services for them. It could be the medical devices that people are using, it could be the website that you are using, or it could be the products that they are buying. So, we work with all those companies and making sure that the systems that they are using internally meet the quality standards
Ralph: I like what you said, Kalyan, about this is the only thing we do, and we do it well. Back in the early ‘80s, which was probably way ahead of your time, there was a book called, “In search of excellence” and one of the things they said was stick to the knitting. And that’s what I am so impressed about Cigniti is that they found their niche of what they do well, and they do it very well. So, I’m very commending on that.
Kalyan, how did you envision this podcast helping the QA community as they seek to position their firms through the digital transformation?
Kalyan: We, as a company, are a big believer in actually improving the overall testing as the topic, that we are committed to enriching the testing craft. We are also big believers of building a very vibrant software testing and quality management community. And as a company, we do a lot of interesting things for our clients and even the clients are constantly innovating in the areas that they are responsible for.
So, we think as a company that we could actually offer a lot that can benefit software testing as a community. If you could, as per one of the very leading research, there are almost about close to seven hundred thousand plus testing professionals that are out there worldwide. So, this is our initiative to basically offer the community with the various things that we are doing and providing them with the latest things that are happening in the industry and giving them topics to think about.
As part of this community, we intend to bring in a lot of practitioners – people, who are actually practicing things on a day-to-day basis, and then intend to bring a lot of innovators – people who are working on new technologies due to space. We also intend to bring in people who are consuming these software testing services and they are responsible for building business cases based on what we do. We also intend to bring in people that are managing the QA teams.
So, to build this community, we think that the community needs to have a wide variety of professionals and that is exactly what we do. We think that this is our way of giving back to the software testing community and we are very proud to host something like this. I hope, it catches on and the testing community will benefit from this initiative immensely.
Ralph: Kalyan, quality assurance is a familiar term to most organizations, but quality engineering may not be yet as it brings in the monetary components in the company’s efforts. So, talk a little bit about the importance of this function and how it relates to your particular area of expertise?
Kalyan: I would say that over the last 6 to 7 years, the software development methodologies of how we design and how we build and how we release software have gone through a lot of changes. And so, right now, majority of the organizations are using agile as a way to build, deploy, and release their products into the marketplace.
And, of course, software testing sort of works in collaboration with the software development teams and thereby, all the methodologies that were popular in the context of the waterfall approach will not fit the bill. So, there is a new way to think about software testing and the role that it needs to play in the context of agile and DevOps. Quality engineering, as a topic, is something that addresses this aspect of how software testing would integrate with the overall development lifecycle.
So, if you look at quality engineering, it is all about how do we build into those products right from the get-go, as opposed to quality being an afterthought, where you would wait for the product to get developed and then actually check whether it meets the user needs or not. Quality engineering is about how do we ensure that we are building the right thing in the first place.
So, quality engineering as a concept is something that, as a company, we very much popularized. And not only that. This is something that we do with most of our clients in ensuring that the requirements are what they are supposed to be and also the quality of the code does meet the standards. So, that’s what we do in the quality engineering space.
Ralph: Kalyan, you spend a lot of time seeking to understand client expectations, feedback, new requirements, roadmaps. You are also a strong proponent of IP–led testing services and actually have a pending patent in the area of the intelligent test scenario generation to accelerate software test life cycles. You have also acted as a technical advisor to customers in helping them realize the optimal return on investment on their long–term quality assurance initiatives. So, you have lots of years of experience. What have you found are the key components that organizations must master to successfully make the digital transformation switch effective for them?
Kalyan: I would say that when it comes to the role of testing in the context of digital transformation, I would say we have to approach it from two different aspects. One is the skill set and another one is the mind set. So, as more and more organizations are moving towards digital transformation, and the aspects of early testing and also utilizing test automation in an optimum manner, they both are very key components.
What it means is that more and more test engineers need to reskill themselves to be able to contribute to this whole new phenomena. That is something that we are seeing that the QA organizations need to adopt and them reskill their test teams and then make them more technical in nature.
And just like any other thing, moving to digital transformation also means change management. And then you know, organizations realizing that actually some of the old ways of approaching testing needs to change. And there is a lot of non-functional testing that needs to be done in the context of digital transformation. It could be – performance testing, security testing, and then mobile testing, service virtualization. Some of these test types are a lot more relevant in the context of digital transformation. These are from the aspects that organizations really need to work on.
Ralph: So, Kalyan, how can listeners connect with you or Cigniti in the event that they might have ideas for episode topics or guests that you should feature on the show?
Kalyan: Yeah. We very much welcome people to be part of this show because we are doing this show for the community and the more participation, the better it is. And, also better for the entire industry. People could reach out to me on my mail ID which is firstname.lastname@example.org
Ralph: Excellent, so that wraps up this introductory episode. Thank you, Kalyan. I am really excited to see this show grow. I think this is going to add exponential value to our listeners in a growing yet very challenging industry. Any final thoughts, Kalyan?
Kalyan: I really hope that this initiative becomes really successful and more and more QA practitioners listen and take advantage of it and also, we expect people to get inspired and be part of the show.
Ralph: I think they will. Thank you again, Kalyan.
Kalyan: Thank you very much, Ralph. Have a great day.
Ralph: You too.
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, our resolution 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 www.cigniti.com
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