Digital transformation drives the need for the constant delivery of customer experience capabilities. For companies across all industries, software development has become strategic. Companies are challenged to deliver innovative customer experience features quickly and flawlessly. “DevOps for Customer Experience (CX)” is a way for companies to meet the challenge. “Companies pave the way for digital transformation by deploying processes, tools, and organizational approaches that enable them to quickly deliver applications that codify high-quality CX,” according to Forrester 1.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a “culture” that grew out of the Agile software development practices. Agile practices were adopted in the mid-1990s to better deliver on rapidly evolving customer needs. Agile practices focus on collaboration, self-organizing teams, and iterative development. At the core of the DevOps culture is an emphasis on collaboration between historically siloed teams: development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). “DevOps is an understood set of practices and cultural values that has been proven to help organizations of all sizes improve their software release cycles, software quality, security, and the ability to get rapid feedback on product development,” according to the State of DevOps Report 2.
DevOps focuses on delivering software with speed and quality. Some of the DevOps concepts are particularly attuned to customer experience software development.
Collaboration is the cornerstone of DevOps where development teams and operations teams work together and share the responsibility to achieve speed and quality in releases. Software development requires constant and effective communication between teams.
Automation is essential to enable DevOps. DevOps requires automated builds, automated functional and regression testing, automated feedback on code quality, and automated monitoring of the production system. DevOps requires test automation tools.
Continuous integration refers to the build stage of the software development process and the practice of integrating frequently. The goals of DevOps integration are to improve developer productivity, find and address problems sooner, and deliver releases faster. Continuous integration is dependent on continuous testing and automation.
Continuous testing is the practice of executing automated tests in order to assess if software is ready to proceed through the software lifecycle. Simply put, continuous testing practices are to test early, test faster, test often, and automate. Continuous testing is dependent on having automated testing tools.
The DevOps Iterative Process
The DevOps approach to software development is an iterative process as projects move from development stages (plan, design, build, and test), through to operations stages (release, deploy, operate, and monitor), and back to development stages for software upgrades.
What is DevOps for Customer Experience?
DevOps for Customer Experience takes DevOps practices and focuses on the unique aspects of CX software, enabling speed and quality. One of the key focus areas in DevOps for Customer Experience is the customer’s perspective. Customer experience software must be designed and tested with the customer’s goal in mind. Today’s customer journey is an omnichannel one, often spanning digital and voice channels. When it comes to design, one approach is to design software based on common customer issues and identify the customer journeys to resolve the issue. When it comes to testing, those customer journeys must be tested using omnichannel testing to ensure that the transitions between channels are seamless.
CX DevOps takes existing DevOps practices and focuses on the specific needs of customer experience software.
CX automation refers to the automated execution of CX tests in order to ensure development speed and quality.
CX testing refers to tests that are focused on the customer’s perspective. The different types of testing are included in this list of practices.
CX Functional Testing
CX functional tests cover new products and capabilities but the tests do more than just test functionality. The tests take the customer’s perspective and cover the complete omnichannel customer journey that crosses multiple channels. Journeys often traverse from self-service to assisted service channels.
CX Regression Testing
CX regression tests are the subset of CX functional tests that are run on a regular basis to prevent new code from affecting existing functionality. CX regression tests are often run when new code is checked in or on a regular daily or weekly cycle.
CX Performance Testing
CX performance includes load and performance testing of CX software. Omnichannel customer journeys are enabled by complex contact center technologies that support the website, chatbot, live chat, IVR, live voice agents, email, SMS, and other channels. The underlying technologies must be tested to ensure that the infrastructure has been sufficiently provisioned to withstand the volume of interactions that might occur.
When CX software is in production, customer experience monitoring must be done on an ongoing basis to ensure that the omnichannel journeys continue to work as designed. It is critical that companies be alerted to any customer-facing issues before customers come across them.
There are other aspects of DevOps for Customer Experience as CX leaders move forward in their digital transformations. Learn more in The Definitive Guide to DevOps for Customer Experience white paper.
1 “Agile and DevOps Adoption Drives Digital Business Success.” Forrester, October 23, 2018
2 “State of DevOps Report, Puppet+DevOps Research & Assessment.” 2017