Discover our views on digital transformation, IoT, software quality assurance and governance, best practice, industry legislation and compliance, software testing and much, much more.
13 August 2018
Keeping up with consumer expectations
We all know modern consumers’ expectations are being driven by the power of technology – almost every aspect of daily life now has to be faster, smarter, and more convenient.
06 August 2018
The business world has finally entered the post-GDPR era, filled with a sense of trepidation regarding what issues may arise under these new regulations. As the dust of thousands of data privacy consent emails settles, companies are starting to examine how they can utilise these new processes to their advantage. In preparation for the GDPR deadline, many businesses were forced to examine the data they held in disparate silos and implement processes to organise, classify and tag content. As a result, they have streamlined their workflows in order to better handle their own data sprawl. This has directly benefited their ongoing digital transformation, as content is now better understood and processed, which will minimise interruption to workflows.
26 July 2018
This month the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) celebrated its 70th anniversary and I wanted to look at the challenges and opportunities that organisations face in the healthcare space. Innovation and medical breakthroughs have been at the heart of the NHS since its inception and as it celebrates this milestone; it’s time to look to the future to see what approach healthcare leaders should adopt for the next 70 years.
23 July 2018
In Agile frameworks, the Product Owner is the person responsible for maximizing value, for example through prioritisation of development work, engaging stakeholders; and learning from the market and customers. Product Owners formulate a crystal-clear vision that guides product development, involve key stakeholders, makes use of the possibilities afforded by new technologies; and develop features to target new audiences. Ideally, Product Owners act as entrepreneurs within their organisation and have the mandate to make tough decisions. However, the reality of Agile practices shows that organisations can obstruct their Product Owners when it comes to acting in such an entrepreneurial manner.
23 July 2018
The end of 2017 saw the rise of cryptocurrencies as the value of the market soared. Renewed interest in blockchain technology swiftly followed, more than 10 years after it first gained popularity in the finance industry. However, blockchain is more than cryptocurrency and has the potential to be used in many other sectors where the risks of implementation and impact on customer trust are not as high as with financial services.
18 July 2018
The term DevOps is a combination of two terms: development (Dev) and operations (Ops). This term was created as way of combining software engineering, operations culture, and practices to unify software development and software operations. As organizations continue to mature in the Agile development world, they will find an increased need for DevOps to sustain their pace.
29 June 2018
Earlier this month, 20 senior-level professionals from Fortune 500 companies attended an interactive workshop event, hosted by SQS, at the prestigious Ned Hotel in London.
The event allowed a group of our SQS experts and the guests to come together and share ideas, answer questions, explore real-world examples, and gain a holistic understanding of Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Attendees came to learn about how automating business processes using robots can lower costs, reduce time-on-task, and improve customer experiences for their businesses, regardless of the industry or market they operate within.
28 June 2018
When we judge a decision, we need to separate the quality of the decision from the eventual outcome
26 June 2018
It seems that the word ‘agile’ is everywhere. Online articles, business magazines, and training companies are touting agility, as the way to immense profitability, productivity and general success. But is it all it’s purported to be? And if it is, how do we take the theory – developed initially for the software landscape, and implement the principles in business?
15 June 2018
What comes to mind when we think of sportsmen & women who make and break so many records? Well, we wonder what the life journey of such individuals has been…rigorous training, passion and drive, awareness of their own abilities, goal-setting, extreme discipline; and continual refining of techniques to keep up with new trends and technology to accelerate performance.
30 May 2018
The rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies dominated the news agenda and captured imaginations in the latter half of 2017, as the value of the market soared. With this came renewed interest in blockchain technology, which first gained popularity in the finance industry during the emergence of cryptocurrencies.
07 May 2018
We are in the midst of the new industrial revolution. The Internet of Things and connected devices are driving unprecedented innovation across the world and consumer expectations are evolving towards more complex and customised products, a change that is now shifting towards industry – especially manufacturing.
01 May 2018
The first part of Sgt Barnes colourful quote, “There's the way it ought to be and the way it is…”, sums up the application of technology and the alignment of people and business processes in the last 30+ years, from manufacturing to service with financial services inbetween. From CRM to ERP, CAD, CAM and PLM.
30 April 2018
More and more connected devices are released onto the market every day, making the futuristic utopia of the sixties cartoon series The Jetsons, now seem an imminent reality.
09 April 2018
If you were to tell a client the project you’ve been tasked with managing would be delivered on time, and within their budget, they’d almost certainly be delighted. Unfortunately, the chances are that would mean they’ve overlooked the need for quality, which I personally feel should be given equal billing in today’s digital business landscape. It’s true that by sacrificing quality, projects are often completed faster and at a lower cost, but this also makes it more likely for other problems to arise weeks or months down the line.
26 March 2018
Business or Enterprise Transformation has been all the rage the last 10 plus years as large organizations attempt to cure a myriad of ills in one fell swoop with a large initiative. These programs typically involve a significant change or clarity in strategy. This in turn drives business model change, re-structuring, business process improvement, large scale technology or systems implementation and even culture change. These types of initiatives have been called many different names including; Business Transformation, Enterprise Transformation, Digital Transformation or Enterprise Systems Improvement.
12 March 2018
Software failures have been plaguing global organisations recently with the likes of the health sector, aviation and even the US Government’s prison service falling foul to major IT issues. In 2016 alone, software failures caused a loss of $1.1 trillion to businesses and with no sign of the problem abating, it is time for business leaders to pay attention to the main reasons behind IT system failures or risk financial loss and reputational damage.
26 February 2018
The end is nigh. More and more data breaches are happening each day and more information is being stolen than ever before. Attack vectors such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) and Ransomware are on the rise. The former taking out half of the Internet in 2016 when global DNS server Dyn got hit by a huge DDoS attack.
29 January 2018
Also, why does nothing ever change around here?
The Endowment Effect.
“Come on Sarah, it’ll be cool.”
“I don’t know,” Sarah replied.
Annabel picked up the bracelet from the Bangkok market stall and slipped it onto her best friend’s wrist. “Go on, buy one with me. It’ll be a great memento of our holiday.”
24 January 2018
From our experience, we have seen that RPA isn’t just about the technology. There is a whole world of consideration to put into any RPA initiative, both before and during your efficiency journey, such as governance, change management, and business collaboration.
24 January 2018
The retail industry today is driven by customer experience. And experience is all about customers’ emotions. The shopping pattern of a customer is heavily impacted by their emotions.
16 January 2018
How Revenue Assurance could be the answer to the utility sector’s debt woes
Businesses across the globe are haemorrhaging millions of pounds worth of profit and potential revenue a year without being aware of it. Mistakes in customer billing, unused data and far from optimal business processes lead to increased profit leakage and lost revenue streams.
22 December 2017
The problem of getting into the Prediction Business is that you have to do it consistently every period. Luckily for me, that only means once a year (read 2017s here) as I throw myself into the mists of time to see if I can help you with 2018. I’m starting to find navel gazing becomes addictive driven by the insatiable appetite of people that follow me on LinkedIn as adoration becomes my drug of choice. I now get the whole ‘Like’ thing as it panders to that deep need we all have to be recognised and loved.
18 December 2017
In the age of choice, where consumers can switch services at the click of a button, the only provider that has remained constant for many is their banking provider. UK consumers generally give a high amount of trust to their banking provider, with 85 per cent of customers saying that they trust their bank with personal information and to manage accounts efficiently.
11 December 2017
If you had asked somebody these questions before and after the relevant events, you would probably have received very different answers. Why is this?
This is because knowledge of an event’s outcome profoundly affects how we view our information about the event. Firstly, we come to regard the actual outcome as far more probable than we would if we were unaware of the outcome. Secondly, we tend to devalue information about the event, judging it as less useful since we believe that we could have predicted the outcome in any case.
06 December 2017
1. AI will make a medical breakthrough
In the realms of the medical sector, software is capable of solving complex problems which would take humans an inordinately long period of time to achieve. As AI becomes less dependent on computing capacity, I expect that next year we will see some major medical research breakthroughs with very limited AI learning.
27 November 2017
The digital assistant is more popular than ever and as the world around us becomes more automated, we are increasingly leaning on digital assistants such as Cortana, Echo, Alexa and Siri to run our lives.
But, despite an improved quality of life, is there a darker side to giving away all this control to artificial intelligence technology? Recently, Westworld – the sci-fi thriller about a technologically advanced, Western-themed amusement park populated by androids that malfunction and begin killing the human visitors – became the biggest watched show of all time on Sky Atlantic. Could this act of fiction actually be closer to reality than many of us would care to admit?
10 November 2017
For many businesses, their brand is what defines them. A brand also helps to differentiate a business from the competition by building a relationship with its customers. Like any relationship, trust and loyalty are key, and when those things are compromised the relationship can fall apart. But when the success, and often survival, of a business depends on a healthy relationship between brand and customer, you’ve got to do everything possible to ensure that relationship is maintained.
30 October 2017
To stay afloat in an increasingly disruptive landscape, organisations are facing pressure to implement digital strategies that not only improve internal efficiencies but ultimately improve their route to market and market share. With the addition of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the updated Payment Service Directive (PSDII) due to come into effect next year, businesses are under pressure to meet complex regulatory requirements whilst needing to embrace disruptive technologies to stay current. To transition beyond simply surviving and seize the opportunity to thrive against tides of regulatory change, behaving in an agile manner will be vital. But how easy is it to live, breathe and run an agile organisation?
18 October 2017
The world around us is becoming increasingly automated, with many of us leaning on digital assistants such as Cortana, Echo and Siri to run our lives. Before too long it is highly likely that our cars will be driverless, fridges will restock automatically and our homes will heat themselves.
28 September 2017
Estimating a project may well make it more risky, not less so. Suppose you need to estimate the height of the Empire States Building, how would you go about this?
You might start with the height of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2717 feet (828m) and adjust your estimate downwards. Alternately, you might start with the Chrysler Building, which was the world’s tallest tower until beaten by the Empire State Building. In this case, you would start with an initial value of 1046 feet (318.9m) and adjust upwards.
London, 07 September 2017
Whilst the commercial use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been active for decades, recent substantial breakthroughs have thrust machine learning technology into the consumer spotlight thanks to its ubiquitous presence in everyday products ranging from optimised search functions and digital voice assistants to your everyday banking and translation services. The narrative around AI abilities has advanced somewhat recently, yet the reality is that our understanding of its technical capabilities is still fairly limited. Despite the numerous names and evocative terms used by the media to define it, AI is really just another method of programming computers and training them to perform a task.
04 September 2017
I,Robot. Minority Report. Herbie. What do all these films have in common? Self-driving vehicles. Hollywood movies have often featured cars that are self-driving and, in some cases, conscious. While we can enjoy Will Smith cruising down futuristic roads in his self-driving Audi in I,Robot, the question remains, are these vehicles just the wild fantasy of futuristic blockbusters or are autonomous vehicles closer than we think to becoming a reality?
23 August 2017
Software Quality, as we know, is not defined by test – test can only measure the results of Quality actions. Rather, Software Quality is defined by the extent to which it solves stakeholder needs; Quality helps us to measure how effective we’ve been at solving those needs. Since Quality begins with a comprehensive understanding of needs, expectations and requirements, it’s easy to see how Quality has a clear role in ensuring Data Protection compliance.
14 August 2017
The world around us is becoming more automated than ever before, with many of us increasingly leaning on digital assistants such as Cortana, Echo and Siri to run our lives. Before too long it is highly likely that our cars will be driverless, fridges will restock and our homes will heat themselves. If we are not careful, we could be one step away from being the morbidly obese citizens portrayed in WALL-E, floating around in hoverchairs.
14 August 2017
According to SAP, S/4 HANA migration is the fastest upgrade cycle in their history. Just over one third of its customers have concrete plans to migrate to S/4 HANA and another third are currently discussing it. A majority of customers are convinced about its benefits and are able to visualize this important milestone in their digital transformation journey roadmap.
26 July 2017
The news is reporting more and more cases of customers being incorrectly charged for bills such as mortgage repayments and bank loans. In fact, late last year, it was announced that more than 750,000 mortgage borrowers were in line for compensation after technical faults in their banks’ systems overcharged them for falling into arrears. Caused by ‘ghosts’, these IT faults (and the subsequent fines and legal fees that came with them) could have been avoided if ghostbusting measures had been put in place.
18 July 2017
Tablets, apps, smart-phones, contactless cards, voice assistants and other wireless devices are now a dominant force in our daily lives – both personal and at work – as it is harder than ever to imagine undertaking everyday activities (shopping, researching, communicating etc.) without them.
04 July 2017
Last year, acquisitions in the gaming sector hit an all time record, topping $25 billion. Thanks to deals such as the $4.4 billion acquisition of Playtika by a Chinese consortium led by Giant, the $8.6 billion acquisition of 84.3 per cent of Supercell by Tencent and King’s $5.9 billion acquisition by Activision-Blizzard. Gaming is an industry that moves at an extremely fast pace, as video games need to be turned around from concept to launch in a small timeframe to keep loyal fans captivated. This places even more importance upon mergers and acquisitions in the industry to be completed in a timely and secure manner, avoiding downtime at all costs.
21 June 2017
AlphaGo is Google’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine aimed at tackling the world’s most demanding strategy game, Go. Google announced it is stepping down from competitive matches after defeating the world’s best talent. The latest to succumb was Go’s top-ranked player, Ke Jie, who lost 3-0 in a series hosted in China.
14 June 2017
Are you afraid of artificial intelligence? If so then you’re not alone - the UK population fears that a Westworld scenario of intelligent robots malfunctioning and killing people may actually happen in the not too distant future. We at SQS undertook a study to explore the public’s comprehension and perception of emerging consumer technologies and likely adoption. Quite surprisingly a huge two thirds (62%) of UK adults, actually believe that the technology behind artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to fail resulting in robots destroying human life!
06 June 2017
We are in a business environment where speed, efficiency and productivity are not expected, but demanded, as we - the customer - require more for less. The modern enterprise is therefore under increasing pressure to keep upping their game and boost their performance - arguably one of the toughest challenges for businesses of all sizes, but especially for large multinationals beset by legacy IT and outdated processes and systems.
05 June 2017
Trevor Luyt, Managing Director of SQS SA, unpacks his views on digital disruption in South Africa and considers the major factors CIOs need to focus on in order to prepare for these changes; whilst explaining why quality should be at the heart of every digital transformation strategy.
02 June 2017
There is a growing demand for adaptive software solutions that can be delivered in a shorter time frame. Many companies have adopted an agile methodology for their software development in order to be able to release new increments of their product regularly and to keep ahead of the competition.
30 May 2017
In the experience-driven world of the economy, retailers are aiming to deliver business value through personalised customer self-service. Retailers are focusing on achieving customer success so that businesses can prosper. The 2017 Gartner CIO report highlighted that only 2% of retailers surveyed have reached a stage where their digital initiatives are at a sufficiently mature level to deliver business benefits. In addition to this, 98% of shoppers have been dissuaded from completing purchases because of a poor customer experience.
29 May 2017
The global payments landscape is witnessing a significant transformation as it’s affected by sweeping changes driven by regulatory initiatives, technology trends and a changing business environment. Although many factors are influencing this transformation, changing customer expectations is of particular importance.
05 May 2017
One of the biggest national infrastructure projects is underway across Great Britain as we try to improve our energy supply whilst at the same time meeting EU climate change targets. Some may argue that the latter could already be a moot point if we leave the EU, but nonetheless the British government has signalled its intent, challenging energy suppliers, big and small around the country, to install smart meters in every home and business by 2020.
01 May 2017
Customer choice has increased significantly in the past hundred years. At the turn of the 20th Century Henry Ford launched the infamous Model T, the first automobile mass-produced on moving assembly lines. Buyers could famously choose it in any colour they wanted – as long as it was black.
26 April 2017
E-gaming companies regularly choose SQS as their quality and certification partner, but the introduction of the “Gizmo” tool will further reduce the time to market for new online games.
20 April 2017
Perhaps when you’ve made as much money as Warren Buffett you can afford to prioritise a few things above profit. More likely, his financial success is a result of an acute understanding of what good business looks like. In a 2014 note to colleagues, the US investor and philanthropist wrote: “We can afford to lose money – even a lot of money. But we can’t afford to lose reputation – even a shred of reputation.
05 April 2017
The world is on the verge of a technological revolution and almost every company is facing the most extreme disruption of its history with digital transformation. Today’s customer experience and security requirements are more complex than ever and the role of automation is at the heart of the solutions that technology is offering to drive competitive differentiation, innovation and market leadership.
29 March 2017
According to SAP, S/4 HANA migration is the fastest upgrade cycle in their history. Just over one third of its customers have concrete plans to migrate to S/4 HANA and another third are currently discussing it. A majority of customers are convinced about its benefits and the automotive industry appears to be no exception.
17 March 2017
If you have access to this post then most likely you are living in the developed world, are digitally connected and are economically active. For those of us lucky enough to be in this position, when we think about digital transformation, we can probably distill it down to being about mass customization – selling to the “market of one”.
16 March 2017
We recently launched the new SQS website, with a completely new look and feel! Over the last 8 months, we have been working very hard behind the scenes to get the new website designed, built, and ready for launch.
21 January 2017
Sometimes a new way of working grows out of the lower ranks of an organization. Sometimes a new approach can spread organically, catching on with little direction or formalization. Transitioning to DevOps, however, cannot work this way. My experience in building IT teams and strategies has shown me that DevOps will not succeed without robust executive team oversight and engagement. It may not be what you want to hear, but DevOps is an approach that has to be boldly pushed from the top (I am looking at you CIOs) down. Dabbling in DevOps is not going to get an IT organization anywhere.
17 January 2017
2017 kicked off with Dik Vos, CEO, being interviewed live on BBC World News – Business Live on January 4th, discussing how we can protect our roads from autonomous vehicles. Check out the discussion below
13 January 2017
I am writing this letter to tell you that I’m really unhappy with what you gave me for Christmas this year. I wanted a Ferrari and I made same request last year. I’ve been really good now for 2 years running and I’m still confused as to why you haven’t given me my car….
12 January 2017
If you are on the digital side of banking, financial services or insurance (BFSI), 2017 is not at all the year to get comfortable. Put the stock market, politics and even (gasp!) security concerns aside for a second and consider this: In 2015, the world saw more than 426 billion digital payment transactions (Source: Cap Gemini and BNP Paribas World Payments Report 2016 (WPR)). As the global experts work to calculate what is likely to soon be trillions of transactions over the course of 2016, software development experts across the BFSI sector are gearing up for another year of rapidly developing digital tools to support mobile transactions and customers who demand instant, personal and seamless mobile banking services.
15 December 2016
A year ago, prognosticators looked to the year ahead and spoke of the growth of Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, ecommerce, robotics, the connected factory and cybersecurity. A year later, each of these trends continues to influence strategic planning sessions as manufacturers formulate the steps they will take to ensure a great beginning and strong momentum in 2017. As SQS partners with clients to maintain quality from start to finish for whatever is planned, there are five trends we see where testing will play a pivotal role.
14 December 2016
2016 has truly been a year of the digitalisation of many sectors, of industry, and our lives. It has been a year where the number of “Things” connected to the internet has outnumbered the numbers of Smartphones and PC’s.
30 November 2016
Robotic Process Automation (“RPA”) is an often misunderstood term. Those age-old images some may have of cumbersome hardware robots executing manual everyday tasks must instead be replaced by software ‘Bots’ running automated tasks over the Internet.
30 November 2016
New reports of accidents involving self-driving cars in “autopilot mode” are fueling the debate over whether the rapid introduction of autonomous vehicle technology and the use of driverless car enthusiasts as beta testers expose the industry to further risk. From industry analysts to consumer advocates, there have been a wide range of opinions from “not-ready-for-prime-time” to the need for more driver education and regulation.
16 November 2016
I read an interesting piece by Andy Mukherjee recently in Bloomberg’s Gadfly about the sad demise of the Indian software services industry and couldn’t agree more. At the turn of the millennium, Indian technicians were working around the clock, frenetically writing code as they sought to fix the looming – and potentially fatal – Millennium Bug.
15 November 2016
Sometimes being a Tester, you accept that areas must be tested because by our nature we are extremely risk adverse. When considering mobile app or mobile site testing it always made sense to me to include some element of network connectivity testing.
02 November 2016
Agile adoption gathers pace and is becoming the new norm for software delivery projects in support of major market trends such as digital transformation, which we are seeing penetrate deep into leading blue chip companies and their verticals. These organisations typically aspire to leveraging Agile methodologies for speed and quality for first-mover advantage within their marketplace. Cost efficiency also plays a key role although Return on Investment has taken a back seat over velocity. Unfortunately achieving speed, quality and cost savings in the delivery of software solutions presents a significant challenge for most.
28 October 2016
Pick a number between say 30 and 60, pick another number between 1 and 3. The former is the percentage of internet/mobile users that won’t wait for the latter (in seconds) to elapse before ditching a site or app and moving on to a competitor. In most cases resulting in a loss of revenue.
27 October 2016
For more than 40 years, consumers could order up what was billed as a custom-built burger. Maybe a little ahead of its time, but having greater choice and the ability to personalize a product to more snugly fit individual needs or wants is no longer restricted to fast food or tee-shirts or Swatches. We are leaving the age of mass production and now entering the era of “mass customization” for both the manufacturing and service industries. At its core is a tremendous increase in variety and personalization, led in part by a shift in consumer expectations. At its limit, it is the mass production of individually-customized goods and services―anything from sneakers to cars to entertainment. When done right, it provides a strategic advantage and adds economic value. Critical to ensuring it is done right is the integration of testing across all areas of the supply chain to help facilitate this paradigm shift in production.
19 October 2016
The World Quality Report 2015 indicates that the average spend on application quality as a share of the IT budget has increased from 18% in 2012 to 26% in 2014. According to the CIOs, IT Directors and VPs of the applications, they predict this will rise to 29% in 2017.
11 October 2016
Automation is becoming ubiquitous across most industries. In manufacturing, global sales of industrial robots are expected to almost double in volume by 2018, reaching 400,000 units. In the home, revenue from the home automation segment is expected to hit over $6 million this year and show an annual growth rate of CAGR 28.19%.
19 September 2016
With the recent mobile OS releases, Apple’s iOS 10 and Google’s Android 7.0 alias "Nougat", Test Team’s should revisit their Mobile Test Strategy, to ensure it covers the new OS versions and phones if applicable to their projects.
15 September 2016
Is there ever enough time to do what needs doing? Not likely, which is why so many of us struggle as we try to move faster, multitask and squeeze more activities into fewer hours. Sometimes it works; most times, it doesn’t. Try to cook pasta in half the recommended time and you’ll redefine “al dente.” Accelerate software updates from every three months to every three days and processes may break, quality may suffer and staff may run for the hills. That is exactly the situation many banking, insurance and financial services firms envision as the speed of technological change continuously accelerates the rate at which software updates must be released. That nightmare scenario can remain the stuff of dreams. In reality, it is absolutely possible to adapt to this new operational pace. It all starts with knowledge.
05 September 2016
With the first chip card deadline for ATMs coming up in a few weeks, banks need to quickly gain an upper hand on potential risks. This starts with a more complete understanding of the complex changes at the ATM terminal.
Mastercard's shift deadline is Oct. 1, while Visa's is in October 2017. Considering the complexity of the changes and the involvement of multiple stakeholders, comprehensive testing performed at various levels can reduce risk and enable cost- and time-savings for ATM owners.
02 September 2016
The i-gaming sector is growing and transforming at a rapid pace. One of the biggest challenges in online gambling games is itsfairness. To help overcome this challenge, regulatory bodies are constantly reviewing global regulations to ensure responsible gambling and protect players and their funds. Many independent testing facilities are emerging to help support these requirement. SQS, is one of the leading independent quality organisations which is also ISO-17025 certified (International standard of laboratory accreditation) and currently certified for Alderney Gaming Control Commission, Isle of Man Gaming Commission, UK Gaming Commission and Gibraltar Gaming Commission.
31 August 2016
Software updates. As consumers they can seem like the bane of our lives sometimes. When we shut down our PC at work, when we boot up our laptop at home, when our phones get on WiFi and now even our TVs and thermostats when we sleep - everything is getting updated.
15 August 2016
We live in a world where universal access and instant gratification are the norm. The slightest delay in getting our Game of Thrones fix or Google results or ATM cash dispersal is met with frustration and dissatisfaction. Should the screen go dark in any of these scenarios, reactions will likely bounce from dumbfounded dismay to furious clicking to mounting anger. The surest means to ensure quality of output is testing, testing and more testing to identify and eliminate problems before they occur. In a hyper-speed environment of continuous cycles of development, data processing and ever more rapid deployment, testing must also be both continuous and seamlessly integrated into every process. As demand for greater speed and agility continues to accelerate the complexity, pace and intensity of testing, the challenge of protecting data security, integrity and privacy escalates. Is there a way to ensure higher speed does not compromise data quality?
12 August 2016
Anyone who has spent much time in an IT environment has doubtlessly heard of virtualisation or virtual machines. For the unfamiliar, in essence this just means building a virtual computer inside another computer. The traditional system most businesses employ are individual terminals which are all standalone PCs (or Macs, laptops, tablets, etc.) that share files held on servers with other machines on the network.
03 August 2016
Major transformation projects today are driven by the business need and the primary drivers are First-to-Market and Faster-to-Market.
02 August 2016
With the advent of smart metering set to level the playing field for the utilities industry, a cultural shift is also on the horizon around how users not only consume, but pay for their energy. With direct debit agreements seen as the most effective way to pay for utilities, smart metering opens up the options to both suppliers and consumers by paving the way for pre-payment methods to become mainstream. But whilst this is certainly great news for the consumer, experience in smart pre-pay in the UK is low, with only a few suppliers having made the switch successfully. Unless the upgrade challenge is tackled in the right way energy suppliers could find themselves in hot water with unresolved data issues and holes in their underlying IT infrastructure coming to light fast.
01 August 2016
When a global behemoth that has dominated the industrial landscape for 130 years repositions itself as a digital company, it is a clear signal that big changes are underway. Billing itself as “the world's premier digital industrial company,” GE plans on “transforming industry by connecting the physical and digital.” This strategic shift reflects a growing movement across industries to create “connected” factories that incorporate lean techniques and smart technology. In this newly connected industrial age, made possible by the industrial internet of things (IIoT), along with advances in materials science, automation, robotics and 3D printing, there is one traditional element that is perhaps more important to digital excellence than any other: quality. And at the core of quality assurance is testing. It is critical to ensuring consistent and continuous high quality as a host of new physical/digital connections surfaces—from digital twins to smart products and factories to the convergence of IT and OT
19 July 2016
Instead of just adding value to the insurance sector, technology underpins its very growth and evolution. In the last few years alone, the use of mobile devices, GPS, social media and CCTV footage have all impacted hugely upon the way claims are processed and policies assessed. The analysis and value of “big data” gleaned through customer interactions has become more important than ever, as insurers look to maximise efficiencies and profits whilst keeping customers happy.
11 July 2016
With an expected 20.8 billion connected things to be in existence by 2020 these devices are producing data at an astonishing rate here in the UK. The Internet of Things (IoT) is having an increasing impact upon our ever-evolving lives. However, what many take for granted is the fact that algorithms are at the heart of the devices generating this data. Algorithms are essential to the running of everyday products, from the brakes in your car to trades on the stock exchange, creating our economy’s secret weapon of success and mass destruction in equal measure if risks aren’t mitigated for.
05 July 2016
Particular focus is needed in considering Change Management as a critical skillset within an organisation. This focus in itself may be construed as an acknowledgement of previous limitations, however it must be accepted that change does not always go “absolutely to plan”. When projects failed to deliver the expected benefits, when systems or processes are not fully adopted or when the vision of change is not achieved, organisations often turn in on themselves to identify what went wrong and to learn from their shortcomings (Andrews 2008). Often the outcome of such soul-searching is in reality “imperfect” change management.
01 July 2016
The Digital Revolution began sometime in the 1950s, and the evolution continues to be as dramatic today as it was when we witnessed the embryonic ideas that would lead to the Internet after the first message was sent over the ARPANET in 1969. We now live in an age where the world’s largest taxi company owns no taxis; the largest accommodation provider owns no real estate; and the most valuable retailer on the planet has no inventory. The meteoric rise of the likes of Uber, Airbnb and Alibaba is a direct result of digitalisation within this digital revolution. The change has created new opportunities and revenue streams for old enterprises and start-ups alike, as well as transforming the way we, as consumers, consume. You are probably reading this article on your smartphone right now while listening to Spotify and being unwittingly geo-located by the majority of your apps.
30 June 2016
Customer expectation has been increasing since the dawn of the customer and that pressure will only continue meaning businesses around the globe are re-thinking the received wisdom of the infamous ‘Time-Cost-Quality Triangle’.
New reports suggest that rather than having an opposing relationship, that the interplay between them is both more complex and more supportive than originally thought.
22 June 2016
The story of money is in many ways a story of convenience, spanning from coins to promissory notes, cheques, then credit cards, ATMs, online banking to today, where we live in a world of contactless payments and NFC-enabled smartphones that let us pay with our thumbprints and even selfies!
21 June 2016
The water industry is going through a period of unprecedented change. Having been static for two and a half decades, the structure of the retail market is about to be turned on its head. This is set to open the flood gates for new entrants and competition from existing suppliers. Previously a regionally-allocated utility, from April 2017, the Open Water Act will mean businesses can choose their water retailer, no matter where they are based in the UK.
09 June 2016
Global payments growth is accompanied by a need for transformation in the payments infrastructure. Emerging payment types and convergence of channels (physical, electronic and mobile) add to the pressure on the banks to provide innovative products and better customer experience and consistency across channels. With the new channels, the lines between payment types and methods are getting blurred. For example, as the vast majority of mobile payments flow over card rails, there is increasingly no difference between a mobile payment and a plastic card payment at point-of-sale. Mobile wallets bury the details of the cards they contain once the payment credentials have been loaded. Further complicating the environment is the rise of virtual payments.
07 June 2016
The UK automotive industry is back on track after years of decline, with many pointing to the important role it plays in improving the economy. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) UK car plants last year produced more than 1.5 million vehicles, the highest number since 2007. By 2017 that number is expected to rise to more than two million vehicles per annum.
01 June 2016
In the past 5 – 10 years, Test Automation has evolved considerably. Open Source tools such as Selenium have largely overtaken commercial based tools for Web Automation. Commercial tools, however, still dominate E2E integration testing involving non-web based technologies (e.g. SAP, Oracle CC+B, and Mainframe).
01 June 2016
In 2017 we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ATM. With many countries envisioning a cashless society, we find ourselves asking what is the future of ATM. The World Payment Report 2015 indicated that global non-cash payments grew at a rate of 7.6% in 2013, with emerging Asia at 21.6%. The non-cash payments consistently grew across all markets.
24 May 2016
Like watching a yoga expert balance on their head, being agile might look simple to the untrained eye. However, if you try to achieve that move gracefully for the first time, without the necessary preparation, you are sure to fall flat on your face. There are certainly a few IT professionals that have suffered this fate after assuming that following an Agile philosophy would be easy. Far from it. In order to do Agile, you need to be Agile, which can only be achieved by a change in mind set and cultural approach that spans the entire organisation – not just those tasked with working in this way.
23 May 2016
Let’s say a bank suffers a widespread system failure, leaving customers unable to use their credit cards. Or a system fault prevents customers from using online banking to check account details, make payments or receive direct deposits. Thanks to Twitter and other social media, customers can quickly broadcast their anger and, more often than not, their stories get picked up by the mainstream press.
20 May 2016
The payment infrastructure is undergoing a transformation. As the legacy payments systems struggle to cope, huge investments are being made to build newer and faster payment systems. Central banks, governments and payments associations are currently focusing on the modernisation of payment systems, decreasing the use of cash for payments and promoting competition within financial services. The sweeping transformational changes in the payments landscape are being driven by multiple factors, including:
11 May 2016
Remember the “do over”? It’s a free pass to throw a better pitch, re-roll the dice or re-start the clock. When you are young and at play, do overs are perfectly legitimate. They essentially turn back time, with absolutely no repercussions or penalties involved. As an adult, any do over usually carries a consequence. In the world of software applications, do overs can be costly. The “first time right” theory is designed to eliminate the need for do overs and their associated costs. There are a number of tools available to ensure first time right, starting with a clear understanding of business requirements, backed by testing, testing, testing.
10 May 2016
Look under the surface of any successful business today and you can guarantee that technology has played an integral part in helping them reach the top of their industry. However, for many businesses the IT department can be a barrier to innovation and technology change, with loyalty to legacy IT having a huge impact upon their ability to keep up with consumer and market demand.
18 April 2016
Gambling is big business. It’s no longer just the domain of the high street or about keeping the social and occasional gambler happy. It’s about providing more choice and ways for people to access the games they enjoy, anywhere and at any time. Recent advances in online and mobile technology have made gambling more accessible than ever. As well as appealing to those who already like a flutter, it has also opened up a whole new captive audience and world of opportunities for traditional gambling companies, platform providers and game developers. Recent figures suggest that almost half (44 per cent) of European gambling operators intend to spend more than £3m on online initiatives.
16 April 2016
From farm to fork, there is no doubting that technology plays an integral role in the way supermarket chains interact with their suppliers, partners and customers. Since the first, secure, online purchase 20 years ago, retailers have come a long way in their use of technology to provide an efficient service and meet the ever increasing demands and expectations of their customers.
20 January 2016
After years of decline, the UK vehicle manufacturing industry is undergoing a welcome resurgence. By 2017 it is expected to be turning out more than two million vehicles per year, a new record according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
20 December 2015
Very much the buzzword of the IT industry 15 years ago, today “agile” has become one of the most overused terms in business. In recent years, the word has come to supersede almost every business process to suggest a more efficient way of doing things - whether you’re being offered a new agile way of managing your finances, implementing an agile cloud solution, or developing an agile work environment.
20 October 2015
The pace of IT change today is moving faster than ever before; new technological advancements are being made every day. For the insurance industry, instead of just adding value, technology now underpins its very growth and evolution meaning digital transformation is more important than ever before.
12 October 2015
What is a business analyst? That question has stymied both business and IT managers for years. When it was the subject of a Forrester Research report back in 2008, the answer was: “Business analysts… blend the temperament and communications savvy of a diplomat with the analytical skills of an intelligence officer.” Interesting, but not incredibly illuminating, is it? So what is a business analyst and why do you need one? To help you successfully manage change.
24 August 2015
Automated software testing represents a significant advance in quality assurance. It can save time, reduce costs, improve accuracy and increase test coverage. In fact, it can decrease testing cycle time by as much as 70%. Whether it can completely eliminate the need for skilled software testers is a question on the minds of many QA professionals, especially college students and those just entering the field. While adoption of automated software testing is on the rise, can it ever totally replace skilled software testing professionals?
20 August 2015
With the impending EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the horizon, are you aware of the impact this will have on your current data management policies, processes and systems? For many businesses the realistic answer to this question is “I don’t know” and for most it will be “no”. No matter what industry you are in, if you handle other people’s data you are responsible for keeping it safe and bound by law to comply with data protection regulations.
21 July 2015
The emergence of cloud IT solutions has been picking up steam over the last few years. Cloud storage and computing are everywhere. Most of us have space on a cloud for our personal music, movies, pictures or other content, whether or not we even know it. Of course, corporate IT departments are implementing cloud solutions more quickly than ever as more business cases require flexible architecture solutions.
19 June 2015
Two of the most defining features of Agile development are speed and flexibility. Working software is delivered fast. One of the reasons is the integration of testing throughout the development process, which ensures defects are detected early and fixed quickly so that the process can continue. Testing takes time, however, so what can be done to maintain quality without sacrificing speed? Agilimation.
03 June 2015
While quality assurance (QA) has always been important to the reliability of software applications, it has often been shunted aside or squeezed in favor of development priorities. That was especially true prior to the introduction of “agile” methodologies in 2001, when Waterfall and V-Model predominated.
20 April 2015
(Don’t Just Take Our Word for It!)
When Glassdoor announced its inaugural ranking of the 25 Best Jobs in America for 2015, it came as no surprise to us to see QA engineer on the list. Among hundreds of different occupations, the group of 25 that made the cut was dominated by IT jobs. It also included positions in sales, healthcare, human resources, finance, marketing and engineering.
12 April 2015
In enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM) systems, any change can lead to unanticipated system glitches that can, in turn, lead to expensive downtime, damage to client relationships and potential loss of business. System upgrades, while potentially a source of especially high risk, are also a critical path for success. To ensure smoother and faster rollouts of any enhancement, to say nothing of preventing catastrophe, testing should always be part of any system upgrade.
17 March 2015
Spring is around the corner, which means the warmer temperatures are coming. That’s enough to make anyone happy! But, if you really want to be a happy tech professional, there’s one career path that is sure to put a smile on your face.
23 February 2015
We might be biased here at SQS-USA, but software testing careers offer incredible opportunities to use your tech skills in a fresh, challenging way. In fact, IT professionals from a range of different backgrounds make the transition to SQA jobs. Have you thought about pursuing a career in SQA?
17 February 2015
If you’ve had an opportunity to meet members of our team at recruiting conferences, job fairs, networking groups and other fun events, you may have heard us talk about how SQS-USA is a great place to work. Of course, we may be a bit biased, but we are very proud of the talented SQA professionals who work here and the incredible culture our team has developed.
09 January 2015
Today’s software is changing more rapidly than ever, which means as we kickoff 2015, the demand for skilled testers is higher than ever. As mobile and software continue to change quickly, software testing will need to be done quickly as well.
02 December 2014
As a technical recruiter, I interact with many software testers in a given week. I also speak frequently with companies across the country to understand their needs and the direction their projects are taking. In these conversations, certain elements come up frequently. I’ve compiled a short list of these elements to help you identify areas that can boost and advance your SQA career:
13 November 2014
Finding even the minutest issue within software is critical in our SQA roles. The successful launch of your product depends on it. As a software tester, I often find myself asking questions throughout the SDLC.
13 October 2014
The goal of having the testing team gain early access to the requirements documents is to allow them time to get involved early-on in the project. It further makes project teams feel as though they are being proactive and “getting out in front of things.”
While I don’t disagree that that’s the intent, if we’re going to take that approach, we need to admit that simply having a requirements document—one that doesn’t contain clearly defined requirements—is pretty minimal value wise. Producing a document just for the sake of being able to cross that task off of an SDLC checklist is counterproductive, and can ultimately lead to application issues in Production/Deployment.
30 September 2014
In many organizations, we find that the testing team is not required to provide official sign off on requirements specification documents. A common practice is to only have the Project Manager (PM), the business side subject matter expert (SME), and maybe (but not always) the development lead review and sign off on any requirements documents before they are considered baselined, and deemed useable by quality assurance (QA). In my opinion, that’s a big mistake that could prove costly.
05 August 2014
For some of us, that first daily hit of caffeine is more precious than gold. If your morning fix suddenly went from $1.38 a cup to $5.52, you’d be more steamed than the milk in your cappuccino. If it cost you $41.40, you would start carrying a thermos from home. If it came with a price tag that was 250 times what you expected, you’d probably kick the habit altogether.
25 June 2014
Single source IT delivery is a popular trend in IT as we move comfortably into mid-2014. As the economy shows signs of an uptick, businesses are looking for more ways to maximize their IT investment while continuing to attract in-demand professionals. With single source delivery, businesses really do get the benefits of contingent staffing and internal staff.
05 June 2014
While technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, software testing is evolving right along with it. But what does the future hold? Here are some insights into the software testing future from members of our SQS-USA team!
19 May 2014
Load and performance testing is often mistaken as a “general” type of test when actually this type of testing falls within several subsets of testing:
25 April 2014
Following are some key areas to review when considering Selenium and QTP for software testing automation.
13 March 2014
Just as this headline says, it feels like the mantra in security lately is, “Another day, another breach.” Although it’s big brands that get the most news coverage, companies of all sizes across the globe are being impacted by security flaws.
27 September 2013
ou might think those of us in software quality assurance (SQA) have a very serious aversion to risk. After all, we’re quality-focused seekers and squelchers of computer system flaws. Isn’t it our job to avoid and reduce business risk? Well, here’s a fun little secret from the trenches of software quality assurance: Risk is our friend.
12 September 2013
I’d like to share with you a real-world fable, illustrating the importance of Quality Assurance testing in your software development process.
At last! What felt like an eternity, scratching my way on to a development team, paying my dues, latching on to every senior programmer I could find who was willing to share a few table scraps of knowledge I could use later to impress others, had finally paid off. I have just been given the chance to show the world, my company, my bosses and my peers, what a good programmer I really am. I got my first team assignment as a programmer!
13 August 2013
Training is something that many businesses look at as a chore, or something that is a part of HR. Maybe employee training is something that your organization doesn’t offer at all. But here’s the thing, employee training can have a great impact on your organization. Instead of looking at employee training as a “task,” look at it this way – when your workplace is a learning environment, everyone wins and can truly transform your organization.
18 July 2013
Many enterprise software solutions have come and gone with varying success, but SAP remains an IT favorite across industries. Unlike many enterprise software solutions, SAP offers flexible, modular solutions for not just one or two, but nearly every aspect of your business operations. Its flexibility and performance are unrivaled. As an enterprise architect, I’ve seen many enterprise software solutions in play and I am continually impressed by the virtually universal applicability and staying power of SAP.
27 June 2013
SQS-USA has provided reliable, precise and effective software quality assurance solutions to organizations nationwide for over 14 years. It’s a fun job, and one that our 150+ consultants take seriously. But along with our commitment to provide the utmost in service and software quality assurance results, we are also dedicated to our community.
23 April 2013
Software Test Planning is essential for maximizing the effectiveness of your software quality assurance testing, particularly with the myriad of conflicting factors — schedule, cost and resources, to name a few. Experts agree that software quality testing must be targeted to the most critical and error-prone functionality. So risk-based testing is a critical component of your software quality assurance process.
27 March 2013
Our recent Spotlight Newsletter featured an article focusing on the 5 keys to Scrum success in software development projects. I obviously can’t get enough of it, so I’m writing this blog post as a follow-up to the newsletter feature. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so.
If you’re interested in the Scrum way of thinking, this blog will help you identify the first few steps toward converting your software development organization to a Scrum organization. Let’s start by asking a few questions: