Charles Hudson was founded by long-term industry veterans who have years of experience with retail and eCommerce. Successfully delivering eCommerce platforms over the last 15+ years has given us deep insights into the space, helped us develop strong expertise and a proven, effective delivery model.
Over the years we analyzed our successes and failures and came to the conclusion that the complexity and the rapid pace of change in the eCommerce space has left traditional quality assurance practices inadequate.
While development practices and architectures have evolved to meet the challenges of the modern IT landscape, traditional QA approaches employed in the majority of instances have fallen well short of the mark. As a result, QA tends to become the long pole in todays eCommerce implementations, consuming unacceptably high share of resources without delivering on its stated goals. Over the recent years, we’ve seen more instances of delays and headaches caused by poor QA than almost anything else.
At about the same time, modern technologies like the cloud and AI were opening up new avenues to improve the assurance process to meet the unique challenges of the eCommerce space.
With the express goal of improving our customers’ lives, we decided to re-think the current eCommerce assurance processes by leveraging new toolsets effectively along with our expertise and knowhow in the space.
Along the way, we’ve learnt some key lessons that now form part of our core beliefs.
1. Expert beats Generic
There’s just no debating how much more effective, efficient teams become when they have a core area of expertise. The QA landscape suffers from too many generic players who try to apply a one size fits all solution. We believe that to effectively assure commerce experiences, one must have a deep understanding of the business, the processes and a knowledge base to rely on and gain insights from. This is why Charles Hudson focused solely on eCommerce and retail and has built an optimized set of tools and IP to cater to this segment. We believe this allows us to focus our investments and improve the final delivery to our customers.
2. Focus on the end goal
The bottom line is an assured customer experience in PROD. Seems like a no-brainer but we’ve encountered so many instances of projects bogged down with massive assurance efforts that don’t actually deliver where it matters. We routinely see tremendous effort placed on testing in lower environments and not enough correlation between that effort and the results in the live environment. While assurance in earlier stages is important, we feel modern architectures make it hard for lower environments to replicate the issues you’ll face in PROD.
3. Use the right mix of tools
Technology trends come and go. We don’t believe in being beholden to any one emerging fad or idea. We believe in leveraging the right mix of tools to solve problems efficiently. For example, while automation is a key tool, it’s not sufficient on its own. All current automation is script based and while sophisticated scripts can greatly reduce effort, scripts inherently test only what’s scripted. While AI promises further sophistication and most definitely has a role to play, it doesn’t completely replace the need for targeted, expert manual validation. The mix of resources and tools, intelligently applied to your specific assurance needs and properly aligned to business outcomes is what gives results.
4. Independent, expert validation is a must
The experience you serve up today emerges from complex interaction of multiple software systems and services. In today’s landscape, these systems have independent release cycles and are supported by multiple development teams. An expert team independently validating the overall experience that emerges from the interaction of these systems is a must. Development teams can, and should continue to be responsible for their code but the overall experience is owned by no single IT team and must be validated as a whole. This can be accomplished best by an unbiased, expert team. We’ve seen this approach deliver better results much more efficiently time and again.