wqr 2020 blog

Accelerating online customer engagement with QA and Testing in CPRD

The consumer products, retail and distribution (CPRD) sector has turned up the dial on QA and testing as new trends emerge, according to the latest World Quality Report from Capgemini and Sogeti, in partnership with Micro Focus, published in November 2020.

The high street is in turmoil. Shops are closing – some permanently, others temporarily due to lockdowns measures. The increased volume of online shopping noted in last year’s World Quality Report has clearly grown exponentially over the past year. And with research for the latest report conducted in June and July 2020, the findings reflect how COVID-19 was already impacting this sector.

Customer engagement in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) subsector is a case a point. As we point out in the report, before the pandemic, CPG companies often had little idea of who their ultimate customers were because the end-user relationship was owned not by them, but by the retailer. Now, however, these manufacturers have realized they need to get closer to their customers.

Boundaries are beginning to blur. Retailers and manufacturers are starting to interact with consumers on common platforms, thereby creating new ecosystems in which the end-to-end customer experience (CX) will be even more important. Across the whole CPRD sector, ensuring end-user satisfaction and a good CX was rated as an ‘essential’ objective of testing and QA in the latest WQR survey by 44% of CPRD respondents – a significantly higher figure than for survey respondents as a whole.

A focus on security and efficiency

With more consumer data being collected and stored, and more CPG companies adopting a direct-to-consumer model, there is a greater need for penetration testing, data security testing, and regulatory alignment testing. So, it is no surprise that the WQR survey of participants in the CPRD sector found that, when came to overall IT strategy, enhancing security was rated as ‘essential’ the most times by respondents in this sector (42%).

Another trend having an impact on QA and testing is the heightened volume, speed, and competition. This is evidenced by the efficiency measures in place. For example, a higher-than-average 56% of CPRD respondents rated shift-left testing as an essential step in this direction. Other highly rated efficiency measures included the implementation of smart autonomous test solutions, and the enhanced provisioning of test environments. Although agile development is another contributor to efficiency, the latest WQR survey reveals that it is yet to be fully embraced in this sector.

What next for QA and testing in CPRD?

Looking ahead, there are aspirations amongst many CPRD respondents to use artificial intelligence in testing. Manufacturers and CPG companies will also have to contend with increased demand for traceability, with testing models that tie into new technology drivers, such as blockchain. The highly integrated, flexible and scalable cloud-based business models required to satisfy growing and changing needs will have to be optimized to perform during periods of high demand. And while mainstream online retailers are a little further ahead in this, the rest of the sector is moving rapidly in the same direction.

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