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Deloitte 2021 Quality Engineering Report: Emerging Technology Driving QE To A Top Priority For Enterprises

More than 50% of respondents foresee a rapid shift in digital landscape and widespread adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques

A new Deloitte report found that those who embrace quality engineering (QE) as a catalyst for speed, agility and business performance will be better positioned in a highly competitive, fast-paced market in the future. The inaugural report, “Deloitte 2021 Quality Engineering Trends,” released today, also highlights quality engineering (QE) organizational expectations, investment priorities, challenges in engineering ecosystem management and how emerging technological developments such as artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and the business of IT impact QE.

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According to the report, which breaks down key opportunities in major trend areas that impact QE, the future will center around scaling intelligent automation (IA), perfecting continuous testing, securing the enterprise, and cloud-based testing. These elements are key, respondents say, to roll out new technology solutions that require advanced upskilling, tighter coordination within and among teams and a proficiency in the latest tools and methods available within QE.

“With the advent of disruptive forces such as 5G and IoT; and proliferation in use of Cloud, AI and ML; organizations have an opportunity to improve software delivery and their overall approach to QE by leveraging next generation technologies to significantly improve quality delivery,” said Rohit Pereira, principal and quality engineering practice leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “As leaders look at ways to leapfrog the competition, shifting QE’s paradigm from ‘cost of quality’ to ‘value of quality’ and viewing it as an efficiency enabling function versus a supporting cost function will be crucial.”

Quality engineering trends key findings

Challenges

COVID-19 forced organizations to become more adaptable and responsive than ever before, and in some cases, what we considered “future plans” were condensed from years into weeks. Rolling out new solutions quickly in this environment has required advanced upskilling, tighter coordination within and among teams, and a firm grip on the latest tools and methods available to the quality engineering function — all areas that previously most organizations had underway but not yet fully established.

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With this and the pace of emerging technology, organizations are facing unprecedented complexity when it comes to QE. Top challenges cited by respondents include limited automation (56%), competing priorities (51%) and maturity of test processes (50%).

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In addition, engineering teams are often strained when it comes to keeping up with rapidly evolving technologies, such as AI. The biggest challenge faced in implementing AI — according to respondents — resource skills (55%), which underscores the difficulties in upskilling fast enough. Other talent challenges include the strain on quality engineering teams when it comes to meeting ever-changing user preferences, resulting in many organizations considering crowd testing to scale. According to the survey, 90% of respondents reported having piloted crowd testing.

Top investments and opportunities

Results of this year’s Quality Engineering Trends Report reflect the breadth of options facing IT and business leaders in quality and testing trends investments. Respondents largely indicated they were planning to invest in more than one trend area over the next one to two years. Agile and DevOps were leading trends according to over 70% of respondents, followed by IA (54%). Performance and security testing and test data and environments (48%) were each indicated as priorities by roughly half of respondents.

Specific to IA, with AI and ML, there are now a variety of manual tasks across the testing lifecycle that can be automated with the help of digital testers, freeing up humans to perform more strategic tasks. Organizations can then overcome common challenges in the test process, such as the need for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), speed and time to market and test governance by advancing human-machine collaboration to enable far greater outcomes in what Deloitte classifies as the “Age of With.”  

In addition, QE excellence requires a balanced approach of maintaining high availability, business continuity, business agility, and scalability. Cloud supports all of these pillars and serves as an innovation enabler as next generation technologies come to fruition. Respondents are well on their way with cloud migration: 60% of respondents already have at least 11% of their applications in the cloud, and 25% have at least 50% in the cloud. Overall, 98% of respondents are planning to use the cloud.

Finally, in transformative ecosystems, like 5G, QE is key to framing strategies around managing customer experience; security; connected device enablement; network validation and rollout; technology transformation; and connectivity and communication.

2021 Deloitte Quality Engineering Report methodology
Deloitte surveyed 224 senior executives with IT leadership roles across industries including retail and consumer packaged goods; banking and financial services; health care; technology; and more. Respondents represent organizations with at least $500 million in annual revenue. The survey was conducted in March 2021.

To access the full findings, including all 10 key trends the study explores, please visit the 2021 Quality Engineering Trends Report site.

Deloitte’s quality engineering practice
Deloitte’s QE services merge deep industry testing experience with next-generation technologies to help deliver higher-quality, cost-efficient testing solutions. Deloitte offers a full spectrum of quality assurance (QA) and testing services and assets, allowing for the creation of quality engineering organizations that are aligned with and responsive to business and IT goals.

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