What is the importance of Software Quality for businesses, and how can AI help?
Software Quality is the degree of excellence to which a software product or system meets specified requirements. It is measured by the number of defects in the code, and the level of user satisfaction with the program. This is especially important for businesses that use or sell software products such as eCommerce stores, startups, or even companies developing their own software internally.
In this episode of Qcast, we’ll discuss what is it about software quality that makes it an attractive and relevant business need to solve with AI?
Sahil Brij Malhotra:
Hi I am Sahil Brij Malhotra, director of business development at Qualetics Data Machines. Welcome to Qcast, Where we bring in our leaders, experts, and guests to talk about AI challenges and opportunities. Today we are going to interact with Suamnth Vakada, founder and CEO of Qualetics. We are going to talk to him about the impact of AI on business growth.
Sumanth Vakada: Hi Sahil, glad to be back on your channel
Sahil Brij Malhotra: So Sumanth, last time when we were having a conversation, The conversation revolved around how analytics and AI have come up in the last decade or so, and then we spoke about what are the various factors which are involved in the successful implementation of AI and analytics efforts across organizations off late. I’ve also observed and heard you talking more about software quality and its relevance now Sumanth. What is it about software quality that makes it a particularly attractive and relevant business need to solve with AI? So could you help us understand that?
Sumanth Vakada: Sure Sahil, I’m happy to talk about that. So in the last couple of years, there’s been a tremendous amount of growth in digital transformation. Companies have invested heavily in their roadmaps and accelerated their digital transformation by almost six to seven years in the last two years alone. So what that means is as consumers or as customers of digital products, we now have a multitude of options when we are using a product or a service. So as a customer now when you’re using a product or a service, if you don’t like it or if you happen to have a negative experience with that product, you just simply switch to another service or product that gives you the same offering. So be it streaming media or e-commerce or any other kind of service where you now have a lot of options, unlike the pre-pandemic time when you had the option of going to a physical good store or just trying to buy it online. Now, many companies have their entire offering in a digital medium and that’s making things easy for the consumers and it’s making things difficult for the providers actually. What I mean by that is let us say, as a customer you are using a product and you happen to have a negative experience of some kind while you’re using the product, you now have the ability to go and choose your product’s competitor. Once you do that and if you like the service you tend to stay with them, right. So now what is happening is a company is losing its customers to competitors owing to a poor customer experience. So in this current landscape of digital transformation, it is extremely important for companies to focus heavily on offering a very high positive customer experience to their consumers. With software whether it be a web application or a mobile application the only way you can ensure that customers are having a very good experience is by offering them software that performs with the highest quality possible. When I say software quality, what I mean is the number of defects that occur in the software or the number of friction points that occur, or the number of issues that can impact the user’s experience, while they’re using the product. If you’re able to reduce all of that you can retain your customers more and not have to lose them to your competitors. Because when you lose your customer to your competitors, you’re not just losing your customer loyalty, you’re losing revenue, you’re losing business, and you’re losing their ability to grow in the market with a good reputation. So I feel having a very good software quality that enhances your customers’ experience is extremely important and it’s something that companies should put a lot of emphasis on and focus on to retain, grow or win back their customers.
Sahil Brij Malhotra: Very interesting thoughts put by you Sumanth. So when we look at software quality, we are looking at quality from the aspect of reduction in bugs, defects, latency issues, user friction points, etc. And of course, some very relevant thoughts that came up during this conversation is that over the last two years the pace of growth of digitization is almost three to four times as was expected at the time when the pandemic started. Because all of a sudden everything just went digital. Now, this is where of course software quality comes in and it becomes an even more relevant and vital need for the organizations rather than being a choice or a luxury. Now Sumanth, continuing this conversation could you help us understand that if we couple software quality with AI how would that kind of change the equation for the positive customer experience for organizations and companies operating in their respective competitive landscapes.
Sumanth Vakada: Sure another great question. So let us see how we would solve the problem. Normally when a customer is experiencing an issue, they would usually call in the support line or use a chatbot and then submit their ticket. That’s when that message can go to the customer service, who then direct that to a team and then they jump into action to solve the problem. But, what we have seen and there’s an interesting fact in the market today, that out of every 26 customers that experience an issue while using a product only one decides to complain and the rest simply churn. What that means is that by the time a customer has actually called you to report a problem there could have been 25 other customers that have faced the same problem and have already left your product and gone to your competitor. So whatever remediation you’re doing, once the customer complains about a problem is after the fact post-incident and it’s already too late to correct for your customers. So there is a common motto in agile software development, where we say fail fast and fail early. What that means is software development is extremely complex no matter how much testing you do on software, there are usually a few bugs that are always present and only surface in live usage when actually customers are using your product. That is unavoidable, that is part and parcel of a software product. So the agile moto tells you that when that happens you make sure that you are failing fast as early as possible and then you are able to react fast and then fix the issue. So in this scenario where you are dependent on humans to report the problem and humans to take care of the problem, that kind of a motto actually even though it’s valid, is very difficult to implement in real-time. So that’s where AI can come in and help you. There is enough technology in our current data and AI landscape where you can have a model that is running along with your application, where it is learning what your application does, it’s also understanding what your users are doing on your application. Then the models can understand what a good sequence of actions is and it can also understand what alternative action or what a deviation or what an anomaly looks like. When that happens a model can assist the impact of that anomaly or defect on the actual user using a product and can do one of three things – either it can send the user on an alternative path into a correct remediating action or it can report that issue to the customer service, so the customer service can immediately jump into action and help the customer avoid that issue or take them on a different route. The third thing that AI can do is actually go and fix the problem itself and present a solution to the customer without even involving a human representative from the company. The third is a bit too advanced but the first two options can be easily implemented now using AI. In fact, at Qualetics, we are working on a solution to do exactly that where we can identify when a customer is having a negative experience while using a product and then trigger an alert to the appropriate person whether it’s a product person or a customer service person. So that they can then immediately take action and help the customer. And who’s to say, we may even be able to soon launch the self-remediating aspect, where the program itself can correct itself and fix the problem for the customer without having to ever involve a human in the process. So that’s how I see AI coming in to help software quality. But at the end of the day, it’s helping a customer to have a positive customer experience. And by having AI do this we are setting up the landscape for software to progress to software 2.0, which is higher-order software applications where they have the ability to self learn, self mitigate, and self remediate any kind of issues that happen while a customer is using a product. So that’s my take on how AI can help and I believe we are very close to solving that problem and letting you know customers see it for themselves.
Sahil Brij Malhotra: So, very interesting thoughts came up during this conversation, Sumanth. Wherein you’ve said that AI is here to enable the customer service. So there has been a lot of talks and myths around AI and how computers are going to replace customer service, or customer service will no longer be there, or they won’t be needed. But I think AI is actually enabling the customer service teams to go ahead and enhance the user experiences for their particular users and of course, it’s so refreshing to learn that Qualetics is working on a solution, which revolves around software quality to help our customers in real-time by giving them insights, Wherein they will be able to take proactive corrective measures to not only enhance their user experiences but also to enhance the value propositions or upscale their current value propositions and products for their customers. In addition, they will also be able to come up with new products and solutions with the given insights that will be available to them.
Well, we just heard from Sumanth Vakada, Founder and CEO at Qualetics Data Machines and we will be back with more thoughts from Sumanth and our other team members soon.