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Transforming the World Through Quality
Transforming the World Through Quality

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The modern ghostbusters keeping customer scares at bay

The news is reporting more and more cases of customers being incorrectly charged for bills such as mortgage repayments and bank loans. In fact, late last year, it was announced that more than 750,000 mortgage borrowers were in line for compensation after technical faults in their banks’ systems[1] overcharged them for falling into arrears. Caused by ‘ghosts’, these IT faults (and the subsequent fines and legal fees that came with them) could have been avoided if ghostbusting measures had been put in place.

Despite the risk of heavy fines, and the reputational damage inflicted on those publicly suffering from ghosts, many businesses within the financial services sector aren’t acting to exorcise their own.

“Ghosts” themselves are relatively simple to define – inaccurate information or data, often customer information that is “hidden” in an IT system. However, pinpointing and exorcising such ghosts, and the issues they cause, is a different matter made increasingly difficult due to ambiguous root causes, with the added complication of legacy IT systems.

Finding the ‘marshmallow man’ hidden in IT systems

Any organisation using IT systems to bill and contact customers is immediately susceptible to ghosts, with some of the worst affected industries being banking, utilities, telecoms and insurance.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done to stop ghosts from rearing their ugly heads once they are there. Prevention is key. With no single underlying cause for ghosts – it could be as simple as a human typo, a business process that wasn’t followed, bad system upgrades or even a system failure – they’re impossible to predict and only become visible to businesses once it is too late.
For instance, in the banking industry, ghosts have been known to affect and increase interest rates without detection. While this may seem like a small issue, which can be easily fixed, it’s vital for organisations to understand the ramifications of unhappy customers and that these occurrences are avoidable. Any disruption in the customer journey will lead to disgruntled customers, each of which can cost a business anywhere up to £7,000. If a ghost causes an issue affecting every customer, businesses could be looking at potential bankruptcy before even facing regulatory fines.

This only makes it more urgent that organisations do everything in their power to stop ghosts from infiltrating and compromising their systems. While testing all IT systems is vital for the smooth running of an organisation, ghost-busting is a different matter and should be treated so. Quality assurance is key.

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Make sure to check out our new blog post How to ‘keep calm and carry on’ during an M&A in the gaming sector

Last year, acquisitions in the gaming sector hit an all time record, topping $25 billion. Thanks to deals such as the $4.4 billion acquisition of Playtika by a Chinese consortium led by Giant, the $8.6 billion acquisition of 84.3 per cent of Supercell by Tencent and King’s $5.9 billion acquisition by Activision-Blizzard[1]. Gaming is an industry that moves at an extremely fast pace, as video games need to be turned around from concept to launch in a small timeframe to keep loyal fans captivated. This places even more importance upon mergers and acquisitions in the industry to be completed in a timely and secure manner, avoiding downtime at all costs.

With so much at stake, organisations in the gaming sector looking to be acquired or to acquire must do so with utmost caution. Hackers are always on the look out for opportunities to exploit vulnerable IT systems during mergers or acquisitions.

Read the rest of the post by clicking the link below.
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The approach of the automated age

The world is on the verge of a technological revolution and almost every company is facing the most extreme disruption of its history with digital transformation. Today’s customer experience and security requirements are more complex than ever and the role of automation is at the heart of the solutions that technology is offering to drive competitive differentiation, innovation and market leadership.

The success of a company in this digital era is often dictated by the ability to adapt to the changing needs of its customers and deliver effective solutions. The recent migration towards digital offerings has placed pressure on IT departments to get their systems up-to-speed with their competitors, meet the needs of regulators and meet the fast changing consumer demands. However, updating legacy systems or acquiring new software can pose lead to potential issues of quality, security and data integrity. The failure to consider a comprehensive quality assurance strategy that underpins digital transformation can expose vulnerabilities whilst directly affecting the bottom line of a business.

Click here to read on.
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From Ford Model T to Coffee – The Move towards Mass Customisation

Any colour you want

Customer choice has increased significantly in the past hundred years. At the turn of the 20th Century Henry Ford launched the Model T, the first automobile mass-produced on moving assembly lines. Buyers could famously choose it in any colour they wanted – as long as it was black.

As time went on, customers became used to buying goods in standard specifications, for example clothes in different sizes and colours. As we have turned into the 21st Century, however, we’ve seen features that have allowed consumers to customise products or services with an almost infinite range of components, whether it be when ordering a computer, smartphone or pair of trainers. This paradigm shift has been brought on because the customers themselves have evolved, and the demands have begun to vary significantly from customer to customer, not just region to region.

The new frontier

As such, we are leaving the age of mass production and now entering the era of ‘mass customisation’ within both the manufacturing and service industries. At its core is a tremendous increase in variety and customisation without a corresponding increase in costs. At its limit, it is the mass production of individually customised goods and services. At its best, it provides strategic competitive advantage and economic value.

The need for a move towards a mass customisation form of production has been accelerated by the fact that millennials have grown up with the Internet and are used to its personalised delivery of information and, as such, are demanding a similar experience from personalised products. The trend has already reached the high street, we no longer go into Costa Coffee and order just a coffee, but a primo soya flat white latte with vanilla.

Mass customisation is best described as "the capability to manufacture a relatively high volume of product options for a relatively large market (or collection of niche markets) that demands customisation, without trade-offs in cost, delivery and quality"[2].

In essence, it can be viewed as a collaborative effort between customers and manufacturers, who have different sets of priorities and need to jointly search for solutions that best match customers’ individual specific needs within the realms of a manufacturers’ customisation capabilities.

In today’s landscape, many commercial sectors, whether it be retail, service, technology, or manufacturing have started taking the likes and dislikes of the consumers very seriously.

Read the rest of the blog post here to find out the barriers holding this technology back and tips on and how to ensure that it is a success within your company.
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Have you seen our new & improved website? Make sure you stop by & take a look today to see its fresh look & feel, exciting new content around Management Consultancy, & fully responsive site, all centered around quality & our customers:
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Embracing DevOps Takes Nerve: 5 Tips for Making the Transition

Sometimes a new way of working grows out of the lower ranks of an organization. Sometimes a new approach can spread organically, catching on with little direction or formalization. Transitioning to DevOps, however, cannot work this way. My experience in building IT teams and strategies has shown me that DevOps will not succeed without robust executive team oversight and engagement. It may not be what you want to hear, but DevOps is an approach that has to be boldly pushed from the top (I am looking at you CIOs) down. Dabbling in DevOps is not going to get an IT organization anywhere.

For interested CIOs (and peers of similar title and remit), I offer up the following five DevOps transition tips. Together they offer a high-level road map designed to help you lead this change with both rigor and the precision to make it stick.

Find out what the five tips are in this blog post here:
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SQS India - New facility inaugurated by the hands of Hon. Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis in the presence of Industrial minister Subhash Desai, Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, SQS GMB - Ralph Gillessen and MD India Gireendra Kasmalkar.
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Now available: SQS Thought Leadership Book 2015 - Download here
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SQS - The world's leading specialist in software quality [SQS Video]
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€100million fines for those who fail in their test data management
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