Quality assurance (QA) is an irreplaceable component of any business. From the hospital that works hard to ensure its patients are receiving the best care possible to the software development firm doing its best to deliver bug-free software, QA helps make it happen.
Most executives would agree that quality assurance is an important contributor to the success of their business. But, while they may agree on its importance, they don’t seem to value it as something that contributes to business growth. In fact, only 29% of executive teams expect their QA and software testing strategies to contribute to business growth. Why is that?
There is a disconnect for business owners between the benefits QA provides and their overarching business goals. This makes the impact hard to quantify and even harder to justify which creates problems for the QA team. How can C-Suite leaders prove the value and necessity of QA? It starts with understanding its business impact.
THE BUSINESS IMPACT OF QUALITY ASSURANCE
According to the Global State of Quality 2 Research, 96% of world-class manufacturers see quality as a strategic asset and competitive differentiator, tripling the non-world-class rate. This way of thinking crosses industry lines into retail, healthcare, and yes, software development. Why? Your product or service is the single most important component of your business. You may have amazing service, trendy branding, and visionary thinking, but if your product stinks, it’s all for nothing.
Companies who work hard to improve the quality of their offerings experience many measurable business impacts. Let’s focus on just five of them:
- Sales effectiveness. Selling a bad or defective product is hard. By ensuring your products are making customers happy, you give your sales team indispensable tools, like customer reviews, case studies, and a product they believe in.
- Speed to delivery. Businesses have to play a numbers game when it comes to profitability. The basic equation looks like this: rates – (materials + cost of labor) = profitability. By having processes in place to ensure product quality, it will reduce the time employees need to spend working and reworking a project until the client is satisfied.
- More profitable client engagements. Higher-quality products limit the amount of time spent on resolving customer problems, security issues, etc. Happy online customers are also more likely to stay engaged longer and buy more.
- Brand and product alignment. Every brand makes certain promises to its clients. These usually include things like quality and customer service, among other things. By delivering high-quality products, you fulfill that promise to your clients and show your brand’s integrity.
- Referral business. According to 78% of B2B marketers, referral programs generate good or excellent leads. Every business can benefit from a consistent source of high-quality leads. By improving your digital products, you improve customer experience and the chances customers will make a referral.
There is ample support to motivate business leaders to invest in quality assurance. Why then is it hard to get buy-in from leadership? The problem isn’t with QA’s value, but rather mapping its value to business goals.
MAPPING QA TO TOP-LINE GOALS
Imagine a company has set an OKR (objectives and key results) to increase revenue by 10% year-over-year. Who will they look to when trying to make this happen? The first choice might be the sales team. Their activities tie to revenue in a more obvious way since more sales typically represent more income. But, the way to reach the OKR on a long-term basis isn’t necessarily so clear. Let’s do some math.
Imagine the company doubles its sales, improving revenue by 25%, but its process is only 60% efficient. Although they will make more revenue, they will lose a lot of potential income due to low-quality processes. This is an ineffective long-term solution. Now let’s map QA to that top-line goal.
Instead of investing all of their efforts into sales, this same company puts half towards improving quality assurance programs across the company. This results in bringing their process efficiency rates up to 85% and increases revenue by 15%. At the same time, referrals go up by 10%, and sales still increase by 15% because of your investment and the improvement in quality. In this scenario, sales didn’t go up by as much, but the cumulative revenue increase was greater. In addition, the long-term benefits of efficient processes are longer lasting than short-term sales gains.
The problem is that proving the value of quality assurance requires businesses to do the math. If C-Suite leaders want to make a difference, they must first understand their organization’s high-level goals and connect quality assurance to those goals.
BRINGING QA INTO THE CONVERSATION EARLY
Quality assurance has an impact on a wide range of business goals, from better customer service to increased profitability. But, budgets are set early and at a high level. For quality assurance to make a difference, it can’t be an afterthought. QA needs to be talked about early during an organization’s goal-setting phase. Build your brand and profitability by taking QA seriously.
Are you ready to start the quality assurance conversation? Coherent Solutions can help. Talk to one of our expert QA consultants today