Dr. John Bates, CEO, Eggplant, talks about how the new normal is changing the IT industry, and why networked software is critical to ongoing life.
Prior to the global pandemic, 92 percent of companies planned on changing their business models in order to digitise operations. With the luxury of planning, these changes were scheduled to take place over a set period of time. However, once the outbreak happened, economic and business operations had no choice but to undergo digital transformation almost overnight in order to keep up with the needs of workers and consumers, as well as remain financially stable.
The crisis has forced companies to move at a faster pace to keep their businesses running, cutting costs and redesigning how work gets done. Despite the efforts made by businesses to rapidly change to meet demands, COVID-19 has shown us how vulnerable some companies – even entire sectors – are. Digital roadmaps scheduled to take place and be carried out over yearly phases, suddenly accelerated and were conducted within weeks, leaving little time for preparation. And as people remained at home and turned to the Internet like never before, there has been a severe strain on the IT industry to ensure everything works smoothly.
However, despite frustration and annoyances, such as crashing broadband or faulty technology, it is true now that networked software has become vital to how we live and operate in today’s world and is critical to maintaining our new normal.
Minimal contact is here to stay
The crisis has brought the digital world forward and forced businesses in nearly every industry to change. While we weren’t able to shop in physical retailers due to lockdown restrictions and store closures, it didn’t stop us from pivoting our shopping habits online. Online shopping experienced a 129% increase across the UK and Europe in the early months of the outbreak and moving into the new normal, the British Retail Consortium announced retail sales were rising despite high street visits dropping.
It has also transformed the way we deal with transactions, as cashless and contactless payments become essential to avoid the spread of germs. The role of IoT in payments has enhanced contactless and mobile payments as convenience has been the main driver for adoption. The pandemic is forcing us to rethink the way we want to pay, avoiding touchscreen devices and resulting in the rise of new technologies, such as voice commerce and store loyalty schemes. With 7.4 million people living an almost cashless life in the UK, it is safe to say that cash is no longer king.
Social distancing has even pushed us into an era of minimum physical contact, and sped up digitisation to the point where the majority of us have become virtual, at least in some ways. Organisations across healthcare, retail, transport, among others, have upgraded their systems to provide virtual and remote access services and come up with ways to make their workers and customers feel safe – from creating social distancing guidelines to implementing virtual working and increasing health and safety measures – as they decide whether or not to head back into the office.
And whilst we may not know exactly what the future will look like, we do know it will be digital, and much more so than it was before.
Networked software is critical to ongoing life
Communications and connectivity have been in high demand, as people rely on telecom services to work and virtually get in contact with others. Ernst & Young (EY) research found that as a result of COVID-19, 40% of UK consumers have valued the reliability of their connection more than the speed it offers, while multiple customers voiced their frustration as Virgin Media broadband crashed multiple times during summer 2020. In today’s household, the primary concern is focused on having a reliable, strong network connectivity to meet people’s needs and continued attention will be expected.
Telecom providers have found themselves at the heart of a fast-changing world. Video conferencing apps especially have become critical as remote working has increased. The new era of working from home caused a surge in usage from employees globally. Video conferencing platform Zoom saw its revenues skyrocket as its profits from the recent quarter more than doubled because of the crisis.
While telecoms has kept the world connected, it is DevOps software providers that have enabled businesses to up the pace and complexity of their development and testing — keeping people connected, releasing new products and keeping products working at the required scale. New requirements on software have been accelerated, across areas of functionality, performance, handling load at scale, and usability. New versions are required continuously, and each must keep running – increasing and accelerating continuous delivery and DevOps needs. Providing a quality customer experience is more paramount than ever.
Whether working from home or attending a virtual medical appointment, IT is being updated quickly to support these new work patterns, but most IT systems and teams are not set up to change at the speed required. Companies need to have fast and reliable testing to be able to roll out changes at speed and ensure they are providing a consistent and flawless service.
Combining networked software automation with testing
As the world continues to pivot digitally and be reliant on technology, networked software has become as important to life as water and electricity. Without it, we no longer are able to function. Networked software and telecommunications companies have been key drivers in pushing our world forward, allowing us to get our essentials delivered to our front door and work outside of the office, helping to boost productivity for some.
As we enter into a contactless, automated era, rapid software development, testing and monitoring need to be top of mind in order to provide a frictionless, high-quality digital experience that results in successful outcomes for customers. The next generation platforms are supporting this by incorporating the latest AI techniques that learn from real application usage, historical bug patterns and which application behaviours yield the most important business outcomes. These platforms can automatically generate tests that focus on the user journeys in the application that are the most critical to business success. Such end-to-end intelligent test automation within a DevOps framework allows companies to deliver improved quality software at a faster speed while freeing up teams to increase their productivity.
During times of uncertainty, it is important for businesses to respond with urgency by thinking ahead and preparing for what’s to come. Those taking firm action now will be the ones coming out stronger when the crisis ends.