When it comes to things you can do online, the world is your oyster. Over the past decade, we have witnessed the dramatic emergence of the online channel. Amongst industries, retailers have capitalized on this the most - one can purchase almost any everyday item such as clothes, electronics, software products, or even food at the click of a button. But what about IT services like Quality Assurance (QA)? Can these be productized and sold online as well? Careful analysis of the market reveals that that there is indeed a business need today that supports this case. However, one would think that to deliver QA-as-a-service, the existing e-tailing/ecommerce models would need to be customized or tweaked to a high degree. However, not really. Let's take a look at what the basic requirements of the innovative new channel would be:
- A comprehensive service catalogue addressing customer's need for a variety of services customized as per requirements, rather than one specific service
- Cost efficient pricing based on the kind of services provided, in contrast to the skillset and number of resources
- Consolidated view of the entire engagement enabling the customer to manage projects more efficiently with the ability to measure performance based on predetermined metrics
For QA, a platform with the above features would be extremely powerful and address a number of unfulfilled needs, in addition to the above. By serving as a gateway for a unified view of quality across the engagement, it would address the most important need of large QA engagements today - transparency. In addition, it would define and digitize the entire QA process/ workflow right from onboarding of new services to execution and defined closure.
Let's look at some of the major components or modules that would form the key pillars of the proposed system.
- Demand management and forecasting: Capture current and future demand right at the source. Should go hand in hand with multiple pricing models
- Exhaustive service catalogue tailored to customer needs: Provide an easily accessible, quality-as-a-service offering across the entire enterprise
- Dynamic pricing models: Unit Based Pricing for maximum cost effectiveness and ROI, including support for traditional models such as Time and Material (T&M) and Fixed Price
- Managed Services: SLA driven, outcome defined model to build and configure services as per client requirements
- Project management: Track activities, address risks and eliminate road blocks via intelligent dash boards displaying business critical Qualitative Information. Should also sport an efficient reporting mechanism defined by project metrics, and provide automated SLA driven status updates
- Bimodal IT support: Address the QA needs of Agile as well as Waterfall projects
- Resource Management: Based on information collected on efforts utilization across various projects, portfolios or programs, allocate resources effectively as per the need and skillset
- Ease of integration with Test Management tools: Automatically retrieve information on critical tasks such as test planning, requirements management, test execution, defects and traceability at real-time, with minimal configuration of the target system
- Ease of integration with source control systems (Subversion, Microsoft TFS etc.): Dynamically trace testing artifacts within the source control system, to provide a 360 degree view of the development status of project, with traceability to test completion.
To summarize, a digitized platform serving as a unified governance platform providing a 360-degree view of the entire QA engagement will immensely benefit customers by enabling better decision making.