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Accenture Invests Ahead of the Curve with Omni-Channel Testing Platform

Accenture recently briefed NelsonHall on its new Omni-Channel Testing Platform (OCTP), an accelerator that sits at the intersection of Accenture’s Digital and Testing businesses. This is a reflection of the fact that software testing services are no longer confined to custom applications and COTS, but are now well integrated into the digital world, a process that started some three to four years ago with mobile apps/web sites.

The extension of testing services towards digital, while logical, is not without its challenges, especially in terms of budget constraints. In the context of standalone mobile apps commanding short-term small budget activities, testing was clearly an expensive and time-consuming option. This is changing to some extent: client organizations are putting more emphasis on UX and also on integrating mobile apps/web sites with their own back-end systems. Budgets are growing and digital is becoming more strategic, hence the cost of testing is gradually becoming less of a less concern.

This is where Accenture’s OCTP comes into play with its focus on digital programs, relying on automation and UX. Some of OCTP’s key features include:

  • Its functional testing scope expands from mobile apps and traditional desktop-based applications to self-service kiosks, and also to smart TVs and even wearables. This is wider than the traditional mobile apps and kiosks. Accenture highlights that the organizational change in 2014 where it grouped its Mobile, Interactive and Analytics units within its overarching Digital practice has helped in expanding its scope. One example of this is in video, with the acquisition of S3 TV Technology (and its StormTest IP, for testing access to a set-up box). Accenture claims it is investing ahead of anticipated client demand, testing nascent use cases, and expanding (for example, with the ability to make a purchase on TV using a remote control), and expects demand to start growing in 2017
  • It includes a testing orchestrator that targets business users, rather than automation engineers. The orchestrator includes test scripts that business users can use under a drag and drop approach. An example of a use case in the retail sector is where a store manager, launching a new discount campaign, is able to use test objects to build its test scenarios across devices
  • A sentiment analysis feature, for post-launch analysis. The feature expands on the (now traditional) analysis of app store, Facebook and Twitter comments, and uses technology from testing ISV SOATSA (in which Accenture took a minority stake in 2015). The sentiment analysis is based on performance testing of thousands of variations of web site configuration (in terms of media content) and their impact on loading and on conversion rates. Accenture is thus looking to determine, for a given web site, the inflection point at which slow web site loading actually impacts sales. It is working with partners including SOASTA testing COTS (for correlating system performance to conversion rates) and internal accelerators, e.g. automated testing of contactless payments
  • The use of sentiment analysis is complemented by more traditional use of crowd-testing, relying on partners including Applause.

Accenture has four OCTP clients since launching the platform in March this year. OCTP is sold on a subscription basis for three, six, or twelve months, and on a modular basis. Accenture is also willing to accommodate clients who already have their own software licenses. OCTP implementation time is typically under two months, though clients usually start small.

OCTP is one of the earlier IPs available in the digital space. It expands on the traditional lab of testing devices with test scripts/test cases that most testing service vendors now offer systematically. With its capability of going beyond the traditional mobile apps and kiosks, plus the addition of sentiment analysis (an uncommon feature from a performance testing perspective), once again Accenture is investing ahead of the curve in a new offering.

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