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Automation testing skills define the future

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In 2016, the global test automation market was valued at around $US16 billion. In a study done by Zion Market Research, the company also predicted that this market will reach $US55 billion by 2022 with a CAGR of just over 23% from 2017. Driven by digital transformation and measurable benefits to business and process, the test automation market is seeing steady growth. However, according to Mandla Mbonambi, founding CEO of Africonology, there is a critical need to invest in new skill sets to make local adoption of automated testing a more impactful reality.

“It is essential that we invest into multiskilling on the use of automation testing tools to ignite digital transformation and the adoption of automated testing in South Africa,” he says. “Manual testing is still a critical component of testing, it cannot be completely removed, but it cannot cater for the full project scope beyond the sanity testing stage. As DevOps continues to grow in popularity alongside Continuous Integration/Delivery, automation testing is becoming increasingly important and so are the skills that support it.”

South Africa is facing a significant skills shortage. Statistics point to a market that’s lacking in education and has limited skills development. Organisations wrestle over the small pool of talent available while the young and the restless remain unemployed and untrained. It has never been more important for both the public and private sector to invest in skills development, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and maths.

“To build these skill sets in the African market, companies, and universities can only align by collaborating with one another,” he adds. “It is time to create opportunity and expand capability through innovative projects that address existing challenges and inspire students to come up with solutions. Universities and schools must emphasise the qualities of creativity and innovation to prepare the workforce of tomorrow.”

That said, there has been a significant increase in test automation skills development in the industry as a whole. Most testing professionals are acquiring the knowledge and capability required to embrace the full potential of testing automation as they recognise the need to remain relevant in the digital transformation era.

“Organisations should invest into continuous training and innovation,” Mbonambi concludes. “This will ensure that they stay ahead of the technology curve while endorsing a culture that embraces ongoing skills development and career growth. The result of this focus will be a marked increase in their testing capability while giving them the skills base they need to take advantage of the potential that automation testing offers.”

Those organisations that miss the skills development boat will struggle to locate the talent required to kickstart their digital transformation plans and drive their automated testing goals. Without the right talent, their only option is to contract experienced test automation specialists at high cost and high talent turnover. By investing in training, both at the student and professional levels, the private sector is ultimately investing into a more sustainable and skilled workforce that will have a positive impact on the all-important bottom line.

Budgeting the digital tightrope

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Digital tools have the potential to transform the relationship between the employee and the business. Research has found that employees can potentially lose up to 42 days a year thanks to outdated technology. Pause for a second on that maths. It’s the same as giving the entire company six weeks off for the July holidays. Now, imagine what could be achieved if the organisation’s technology investment didn’t impact on performance? It’s a giddy nirvana of productivity and extraordinary client and employee experiences. It also isn’t realistic.

There is a fine line between the business budget and the technology it can realistically afford.

How can the business invest in the right technology without overstepping its budget? According to Mandla Mbonambi, founding CEO of Africonology, technology purchasing decisions need to be influenced by strategy, market value and long-term sustainability. They also need to be transparent and relevant.

“The technology the business chooses to invest in from the outset has to support its strategy in delivering services and enabling them to remain competitive,” he says. “Today, the organisation is under enormous pressure to retain its market worth, much less increase it, and any technology investment needs to be weighed against these budgetary imperatives.”

For the business that’s already halfway across the tightrope with an economy on its back and complex market conditions scampering along the wire, the added complexities of budget versus employee are difficult to manage. The business must invest in the productivity and happiness of its employees without risking long-term business success.

“Technology purchasing decisions are influenced by a variety of factors,” explains Mbonambi. “On one hand, new product development and new solutions that are being developed need to be prioritised. On the other hand, the way in which the business plans to increase its efficiency in delivering these products and services is equally important.”

Providing the employees with the right technology extends far beyond just quick access to an operating system. It ties directly into the organisation’s need to service clients and deliver products seamlessly. Without the right tools, clients won’t have the kind of experience that will elevate the business above the clutter.

“It is extremely challenging to keep everyone happy,” says Mbonambi. “Organisations have to remain in control of their technology decisions while ensuring their employees are happy and their tools are relevant. It is one of the biggest elephants in the room.”

What’s the best way to deal with an elephant? Training. Change management workshops and training can play a significant role in rallying employees to the organisation’s cause. Providing them with information and being transparent about the direction the business is taking can make a huge difference in how employees approach their technology and their future.

“Transparent and honest communication from the organisation to the employees is crucial,” concludes Mbonambi. “If employees understand why a technology decision has been made and why they are valuable assets, then they will be open to working with the company and supporting its investment decisions.”

In addition to qualifying the why of the technology investment, these training sessions are essential in providing the how. Insight into how new tools work, what technology changes mean, the impact that new systems will have on legacy operations, and how to get the most from the outdated while budget waits for the new, will revolutionise how employees engage. While there is no miracle cure for the balance between budget and technology, there are ways of smoothing over the rougher parts of the journey.

About Africonology

Africonology Solutions is a Quality Assurance and Software Testing consulting company specialising in the design and delivery of professional testing services and training products nationwide and in regional markets. Africonology offers a reliable, high-quality alternative to in-house resources for Software Testing, Training and Quality Assurance.

Africonology Solutions is also a specialist IT recruitment consultancy, providing IT recruitment solutions for companies and candidates both in South Africa and abroad.

For more information, please visit www.africonology.com.

Sources:

https://www.ricoh.co.za/news-events/news/outdated-technology-wastes-42-days-a-year-in-employee-productivity.html

 

The office relationship: It’s digital anxiety

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The fax machine. It still squawks dustily in some African offices, sending messages using a technology almost as dated as the smoke signal. Employees still work with legacy technology, ageing systems, and outdated operating systems. Their relationship with technology is both flawed and frustrating – they’re intimidated, confused and distrustful. According to Mandla Mbonambi, founding CEO of Africonology Solutions, technology in the office isn’t just the fax machine, email and office products. It is a landscape populated by the complex, challenging and the new. For employees who aren’t tech savvy, technology can introduce a challenging dynamic that has to be addressed to ensure return on investment and employee engagement.

“The relationship between the employee and technology has become an anxious one,” he says. “Some may find the introduction of new services and solutions to be exciting, but most are worried about how it will impact on their roles, privacy, and productivity.”

The new breed of employee – the much-talked-about millennial, for example – is embracing technology-driven change. These so-called digital natives have grown up with mobile phones, tablets, and disruption. Many older employees are more comfortable with the old ways of doing things and the jarring interruption of technology into their tried and trusted lives isn’t a welcome one. Mbonambi believes that their relationship with technology requires a transition period and a measure of endorsement.

“It is also important to recognise the impact that security has had on this relationship,” he adds. “It has created hostilities and tensions. People aren’t confident in their technology and feel as if they no longer own their identities, confidential data, and privacy. Networks are perceived as the all-seeing, prying eyes.”

Cloud computing is a great example. Some employees feel it adds enormous value to their working lives and relationships. They can access their data on demand, files are convenient to use and share, devices connect to accounts and link to domains, and they feel it is an open landscape for career growth and productivity. But for others, Mbonambi warns, it creates a disconnect between employer and employee as they ask: ‘Who else has access to my data and files? Who is watching what I do?’

“This dynamic has come about thanks to the transformation around how business is conducted and how it executes on its mandate to customer and client,” he explains. “For an organisation to achieve a competitive edge in the current economic landscape, it has to be agile and adapt to new and evolving technologies and capabilities. They can’t afford to delay this transformation otherwise they run the risk of being disrupted, becoming irrelevant or losing market share.”

This is further affected by changes in what employees want, how they want it and what tools they use to consume it. Technology is changing so fast that its rapid revolution can be defined as consistent. This means that employees must be agile and adaptive alongside the organisation. Technology forces change onto employees and what they need, as well as what is needed from them. It’s a push and pull of need-demand that puts tension on the business and its people.

To resolve these issues, to help both enterprise and employee extricate themselves from the endless loop of technology adoption and adaptation, the organisation must ignite change management processes. These need to be ongoing, relevant and enduringly valuable. They must create a journey, one that the employee will take along with the company and the technology to ensure meaningful change and information exchange.

“Training and upskilling play a vital role in this process as they empower employees and give them the tools they need to take advantage of the technology and really eke out its true value,” concludes Mbonambi. “This also ensures that the organisation gets a return on investment – new technology may be essential, but plenty of investments have grown dusty and forgotten in the wake of poor employee adoption and lack of understanding. Employees must be engaged from the outset and understand the business processes and strategic imperatives that have driven the technology investment.”

There’s no need to hire fresh young digital talent to replace the retrenched entrenched older employees. Inspiration, training, and education empower everyone from the new digital natives to the nervous digital dodgers and create a business that benefits from the technology of the future, today.

About Africonology

Africonology Solutions is a Quality Assurance and Software Testing consulting company specialising in the design and delivery of professional testing services and training products nationwide and in regional markets. Africonology offers a reliable, high-quality alternative to in-house resources for Software Testing, Training and Quality Assurance.

Africonology Solutions is also a specialist IT recruitment consultancy, providing IT recruitment solutions for companies and candidates both in South Africa and abroad.

The impact of digital transformation on economic growth in Africa

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The impact of digital transformation on economic growth in Africa

As African organisations undergo digital transformation, understanding this massive shift and how to harness it, will be vital for organisations across the continent. According to Mandla Mbonambi, founding CEO of Africonology, increased access to information, new ways of doing things and consumer consumption patterns will continue to force African organisation to digitise their products and service to provide more flexibility to their customers.

“African organisations can help shape their local economies through digital transformation by adopting megatrend technologies such as cloud computing, mobility, Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and social platforms. That said, they must ensure that these technologies fit into their organisations structures, processes, activities and, more importantly, support their business models,” he says. “For digital transformation to yield the desired result of shaping local economies, companies will have to follow a step-by-step approach that includes organisational change management and a shift in both mindset and culture. Creating the right skills set will also be crucial to success.”

Mbonambi believes that digital transformation has the potential of enabling economic growth, job creating and improving the social welfare of the society in which the organisations operates. “As much as digital transformation brings about uncertainty, it can drive positive development and growth on the continent. The early adopters of digital transformation are without fail poised to be the next leaders and many of these fall within the youth of Africa,” he says. “Disruptive technologies because of digital transformation have the potential to meet Africa’s development needs, enabling the different countries to be among some of the fastest-growing economies. This is where the protection of intellectual property, ICT related innovation, and start-up activities is paramount.”

Digital transformation is impacting people’s everyday life and has the power to transform communities and even whole economies in Africa. “Access to mobile phones, especially smartphones, is growing exponentially. This has made information more accessible to people and has changed their lifestyles considerably. This is evident in the growth of online stores, the rise of online transactions through banking apps, access to transport and accommodation and the use of social media to reach customers directly,” says Mbonambi. “Digital currency, such as mobile money, is also a key consideration on the African continent and FinTech’s are disrupting the way traditional banks operate.”

He says the change in effective business models because of digital transformation is creating new rules of engagement, that more traditional organisations must take heed of. “Business models and the way organisations engage with customers must change dramatically. Internally, the way organisations communicate must change, allowing for far greater efficiencies. Companies need to embrace agile methodologies and practices across the organisation, not just in project delivery. DevOps, for example, is one way we have, for example, enabled continuous improvement within our organisation and methodologies.”

Mbonambi says the key to success will lie in understanding what is required to transform your organisation digitally, as it cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Companies must also not expect to have all the answers all the time. “Each organisation’s needs are unique, therefore it is crucial that transforming digitally is a tool to scale your business, but that it must be underpinned by a solid strategy. You must also find meaningful synergies with other businesses with complementary services as this will drive your growth even further.”

About Africonology

Africonology Solutions is a Quality Assurance and Software Testing consulting company specialising in the design and delivery of professional testing services and training products nationwide and in regional markets. Africonology offers a reliable, high-quality alternative to in-house resources for Software Testing, Training and Quality Assurance.

Africonology Solutions is also a specialist IT recruitment consultancy, providing IT recruitment solutions for companies and candidates both in South Africa and abroad.

For more information, please visit www.africonology.com.

Digital transformation requires a clear organisational vision

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Digital transformation requires a clear organisational vision

Your employees are just as critical to your transformation process

The subject of digital transformation is not new and is typically related to upcoming technology megatrends such as cloud computing, mobility, Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and social platforms. There is no doubt that the growing connectivity of people, machines, and businesses has reformed market demands, and, to keep up and stay competitive, organisations must adjust by digitising their processes and business models. According to Mandla Mbonambi, founding CEO of Africonology, digital transformation presents many new opportunities to grow and expand into the rest of Africa.

“Organisations must adapt to a new, innovative way of delivering on their brand promise, ensuring effective customer engagement, bringing in fresh and creative ways of thinking, and empowering the company to make well-informed decisions as a collective,” he says. “Digital transformation is not an option anymore. Globally, and on the African continent, organisations must embrace digital transformation as a key enabler of innovation and to drive continuous improvements that will ultimately translate into business growth.”

Mbonambi says it is particularly important to African organisations, because it enables entry into new markets, access to new client bases and more innovative ways of provisioning products and services that are in line with market demands. “Moreover, African organisations need digital transformation to drive profitability, customer satisfaction and increased speed to market along with borderless entry into new markets within the Africa diaspora and beyond. That said, for digital transformation to be effective and yield results, there must be a clear organisational vision.”

For African organisations to become more competitive in a global context, they need to first redefine their strategies and business models to make sense in the current business context and markets they operate in. “Their next step is to then identify the right technology fit for their strategy in relation to the products and services they offer and leverage that technology to enable them to be more innovative and flexible in their offering and the way in which they deliver that offering through different digital channels,” he says.

“The key to successful digital transformation also lies in moving away from focusing on standalone technology and adopting solutions that will allow organisations to empower their people and support them in making more effective, better informed and faster decisions,” says Mbonambi. “We cannot change the volumes of data we are exposed to, but we can improve the ability of our employees to leverage that data and translate it into information quickly and accurately to support decision-making. While the decision to digitally transform usually lies within the top levels of management of the organisation, it is crucial to involve your employees throughout the process. This requires a change in mindset, training, ensuring they buy into the redefined business model and an in-depth change management programme as the culture of the organisation will also be impacted.”

The risks of not transforming and ensuring that you do it properly cannot be over-emphasised. “If organisations delay digital transformation, or do not transform at all, they risk being ousted by competitors, which will result in a loss of market share, revenue and could even lead to shut down,” says Mbonambi. “In this fast-paced environment where continuous improvement and innovation is required to stay ahead of the game, organisations simply cannot risk this. We have already seen several organisations in the recent past filing for bankruptcy, because they are not transforming fast enough, or at all.”

He adds that it is not about scare tactics, but rather emphasising the need to transform in a strategic and prioritised way. “We know that organisations that do not transform risk being left behind or forced to shut their doors. The key here is to ensure that the entire organisation is on board with the transformation process so that the organisation can unlock the full potential of their products and services, while embracing the opportunity of attracting new customer bases as they evolve,” says Mbonambi.

 

About Africonology

Africonology Solutions is a Quality Assurance and Software Testing consulting company specialising in the design and delivery of professional testing services and training products nationwide and in regional markets. Africonology offers a reliable, high-quality alternative to in-house resources for Software Testing, Training and Quality Assurance.

Africonology Solutions is also a specialist IT recruitment consultancy, providing IT recruitment solutions for companies and candidates both in South Africa and abroad.