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As secrets go, the fact that technology has fundamentally changed the face of business has to be the worst kept. From leap to bound, tech innovation and invention have shifted foundations and redefined potential, putting the customer in the driving seat and the enterprise under pressure. The past 10 years have seen cloud move from a concept to a critical business tool, the Internet of Things from postulated idea to realised potential, and artificial intelligence already embedded into chatbot and call centre. According to Mandla Mbonambi, founding CEO of Africonology, technology will continue its relentless evolution, transformation will become increasingly focused on the customer and service delivery, and testing will remain critical in ensuring the success of both.

“Innovation and digital transformation have placed the customer at the centre of the enterprise,” he says. “Technology is allowing for the business to take products and services to market far more effectively and is putting it under pressure to ensure performance is closely aligned to customer demand. The changes that have taken place in the IT sector have been the biggest drivers of digital transformation and it is affecting each industry, regardless of type and product.”

The mantra remains true – if your business doesn’t transform today, it’s done. Why? Because the changes have rippled along the value chain. The organisations that invest in digital are those that are consistently and agilely refining the management of the value chain and unlocking out new revenue models and opportunities. Manual processes are automated and service delivery improved to the point where it now provides other service avenues to the business.

“Customer expectations are consistently revising, upwards,” says Mbonambi. “Speed of delivery and getting the product to market first has become critical to meet these expectations. It is also the agility and ability to pivot on opportunity – the ability to recognise customer trends or needs and to fill them before anyone else.”

It is into this morass of customer and experience and satisfaction that automation has taken its first tentative steps. The immediacy and efficacy of the technology has introduced new layers to customer engagement and process management. Automation is transforming how the business delivers to its market but equally how its internal functions are managed. The focus has shifted from the where to the how.

“I believe that there will be even more services and automated solutions entering the market over the next few years,” says Mbonambi. “Users will be able to access their services through technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). These changes aren’t years into the future, either, they’re imminent. They are also going to change the skills landscape.”

For Mbonambi the next 10 years will not only see the rise of the robots but of new skills. Into the digitally empowered future will arrive a new type of talent that’s multi-skilled and capable of taking on a variety of roles and responsibilities. Perhaps the changes in skills demand and ability could be defined as one of the most seismic shifts introduced by technology and this metamorphosis is unlikely to slow down any time in the future.

“I think that performance testing is also going to play a pivotal role in the success of any digital transformation strategy or implementation,” he concludes. “We need to ensure that the services being created can satisfy clients and their objectives while remaining aligned to regulatory requirements and being compliant. This is particularly relevant when it comes to AI and IOT as regulation will continue to adapt to meet the challenges presented by these technologies and the enterprise has to keep up.”

For Africonology, the market’s changes in technology and capability have influenced an equal evolution in performance testing. To meet both business and market demand, the technology must meet objectives, deliver on parameters and take on more responsibilities and testing is critical in ensuring that this is exactly what happens.