Digital transformation is a term that is used regularly across the business world, but it can sometimes be difficult to pin down what it means in practice. That’s because it can mean very different things across different businesses and industries, whether it’s introducing new software tools for greater efficiency, or overhauling an entire network infrastructure to improve cost-efficiency and security.
What is clear, though, is that transformation is essential, not only to drive competitive advantage, but simply just to keep pace with progress in whichever sector you operate in. Gartner research has found that 91% of businesses are currently engaged in a digital initiative of some kind, while 87% say that digitalization is one of their top priorities.
So digital transformation is vital for future success - and that means that it needs to be done right. The best way to achieve this is through digital assurance, and this guide will explore what that means for you: how it works, the benefits of using it, and how that can influence the future prosperity of your organization.
What is digital assurance and transparency?
Digital assurance is a type of quality assurance that takes a wider view of ensuring the quality, security and compliance of digital products and services. It takes into account the role of any transformation across an entire ecosystem, and goes far beyond simple software testing. Instead, it involves a wide range of tests and assessments, from integrations and workflows to outcome consistency and omnichannel experiences. Upholding transparency throughout these processes is crucial, providing stakeholders with clear insights into the testing methodologies and results.
The importance of digital assurance during digital transformation
When you realize just how difficult it is to get digital transformation right, the value of a digital assurance strategy starts to become clear. Deloitte research indicates that as many as 70% of all digital transformation efforts ultimately end in failure.
Much of this is down to the fact that lots of different factors have to come together to make digital transformation a success: internal working practices, client communication, risk factors, changing security threats and much more. Digital assurance takes all of these considerations into account, and can make your organization better-equipped to:
Avoid risks and mitigate mistakes
Risk management and understanding is a vital part of good digital assurance. Without knowing where risks could manifest themselves, and what the consequences could be to the business as a whole, nobody can have confidence that the right transformation decisions are being made. This is why risk assessment, as well as putting the tools in place to manage risks along the way, should be part of the digital assurance process as early as practically possible.
Maximize software testing
Digital assurance allows the quality of software testing to be ramped up substantially. Instead of relying on functional validation, businesses can use verification techniques and other methods to provide an objective valuation of every part of production, including project management.
Make security-conscious decisions
Increased digitalization and the rising sophistication of cyber attacks only point to one thing: a rapidly expanding cyber risk profile for almost every type of organization. Indeed, PwC has found that in the United Kingdom, 90% of organizations feel that greater digitalization over the last two years has increased their exposure to cyber risks.
Digital assurance can not only decrease the probability that data, systems and applications are safe from breaches, but it can be more proactive than that, too: it can discover ways in which breaches could occur in the future, and suggest means of evolving projects in order to meet higher security standards.
Improve workflow and efficiency
During the transformation process itself, efficiency and predictability are essential to ensure nothing goes off-track, whether it’s cost, timeframe or excessive business disruption. A good digital assurance strategy will take all this into account with comprehensive planning and regular reviews, so that any delays or blockages can have little or no effect on the overall success of the project.
The benefits of digital assurance services for change implementation
Digital assurance isn’t just there to ensure that a digital transformation runs smoothly - in the long run, it can make a real difference to the wider organization, too:
Clear roles and responsibilities
Many digital transformation projects often struggle with a ‘too many cooks’ situation, where there are too many stakeholders overlapping and getting in each other’s way in the same areas of responsibility. This can be a real barrier to smooth progress and implementation, and it’s something that digital assurance can stamp out, right from the start. Digital assurance specialists are well-versed in gatekeeping roles and responsibilities, and keeping the right people focused on the right things.
Enabling consistent user experiences
One of the key end-products of any digital transformation is to guarantee that the users of the technology involved get real improvements in their experiences, whether they’re employees or customers. This could, for example, be faster and stress-free passages through workflows or customer journeys, or it could be the ability to access data and applications remotely and enable flexible working. Digital assurance always keeps the user in mind, so that tangible and lasting improvements are made to core experiences.
Speeding up time-to-market
In competitive marketplaces, first-mover advantage is perhaps more important than it’s ever been. However, there’s an important balance to be struck: getting new products and services into market first is pointless if quality has been compromised. Digital assurance, however, can play a leading role in delivering the best of both worlds: optimizing processes allows time-to-market to be accelerated substantially, while ensuring that high quality standards are maintained throughout.
Streamlining development cycles
Connected to the previous point, optimizing those processes means that much of the inefficiency can be cut out of development cycles. By being able to identify and address issues at the digital assurance stage, rather than when they’re suddenly encountered during development, problems can be addressed proactively rather than reactively. It also allows more to be achieved with less, and cost efficiency to be further increased.
Achieving transformation objectives
Ultimately, the reason for digital transformation is to achieve new business goals, and drive growth and profitability for years to come. By ironing out many of the potential issues, digital assurance gives a transformation project the best possible chance of achieving that.
In summary: maximizing the potential of digital assurance
The ideal way to approach digital assurance is to get an objective, third-party view. Working with a digital assurance partner can ensure that your transformation concepts and implementation plans are looked at from a different perspective, along with robust testing and validation processes that can make sure you’re doing the right things.
At Ciklum, we have years of experience working with businesses just like yours in digital quality assurance services, from retail enterprises to the world of banking, financial services and insurance. Our innovative approaches and proven best practice mean that you can rely on us to identify the biggest barriers to your successful transformation, and devise the best ways to break them down and maximize the return on your investment.
A key part of our digital assurance approach is our partnership with WalkMe, a leading provider of digital adoption solutions. With their support, we facilitate smoother transitions in change management, user insight, and onboarding/training, promoting both seamless adoption and sustained continuous improvement.