Q&A | Stepping Inside Engagis’ Staging and Testing Process
Engagis deploys large volumes of digital technology that involve both hardware and software updates and installation. Staging and testing refer to the testing of all hardware and software components before they are sent away to our clients for installation. Our rigorous staging and testing process reflects the high level of care we have for our customers, ensuring they are receiving the best quality products. Max, our Technical Project Lead, has been with the company for over 10 years and has played an integral part in the development and expansion of our staging process to where it is today. We sat down with Max to discuss this process, how it came about, and some of the main client benefits.
ER: Thanks for chatting with us today, Max. You’ve obviously seen Engagis evolve over the years, can you tell us about how the staging and testing process came about?
MK: I started off in the warehouse, so I got to observe a lot of things firsthand. I noticed there wasn’t a huge focus on staging and QA-ing products. So the process started off with us asking ourselves some simple questions: how do we reduce risks? How can we make our jobs and technicians’ jobs less stressful? How do we make the client’s lives easier and more stress-free? And how do we optimise and make deployment as efficient as possible? I had a bird’s eye view of the process, so I could see how a thorough staging and testing regime trickled down into all other aspects of the job, but one of the main challenges we faced in the earlier stages was convincing external people that testing and staging products before deployment was important.
ER: I think businesses that haven’t had as much hands-on experience with digital technology may not see the merit in focusing on the staging and testing process to this extent. In a nutshell, why should you stage and test digital technology before commercial use?
MK: Ultimately, the results of our detailed staging and testing routine speak for themselves by reducing the number of defects and problems clients experience after installation. One of the main reasons why we developed these testing strategies was to make sure that when the hardware is delivered to a client’s site for installation, it spends the least amount of time in the technician’s hands. We are essentially mitigating as much on-site risk of failure as possible, as this is where we have the least amount of access to the products and therefore the lowest capacity to fix issues quickly. Customers trust us to take control and we always deliver on time, within their budget, and above expectations. So, customers can feel safe knowing we can meet and exceed expectations.
ER: What steps are taken to get to this final installation stage and what does the process look like?
MK: Businesses looking to install or update their digital technology will typically approach us to provide a safe set of hands to handle the entire process end-to-end, from procurement to delivery. We have a huge pool of hardware that can be used at our warehouse, depending on the project. We can manage everything from the media players to the peripherals, screens, and external teams involved.
Once we procure the hardware, everything gets unboxed, built and assembled, and software is applied to the media player PCs and screens. All the cables and screens are plugged into the right places. We also stage the customer’s content on each device, to ensure that what the customer will see on day one in-store is exactly what they wanted. Our main purpose during the testing period is to simulate the customer’s experience step by step in a controlled environment, so we can see if there are any defects.
We do this in a way that is highly efficient so that whether it’s a request for one media player or 100 media players, we can meet the deadlines. A lot of different strategies go into this, we have a high-deployment network infrastructure and AV infrastructure that allows us to stage and test around 100 media players a day and implement solutions. Once everything is tested, all hardware gets boxed back up and shipped to our clients.
ER: It seems like you’d need quite a large space to fit 100 media players for staging and testing as well as extra areas for building, assembling and repacking. How does the functionality of the warehouse impact your ability to test hardware and software?
MK: It’s a mix of our physical warehouse space, software and hardware technology tools, and operational human resources that allow us to have this unique capability. It’s definitely a three-dimensional approach, where we take into account hardware and software technologies, and the physical space, alongside client and staff needs. Every part of our warehouse space is heavily utilised and maximised for efficiency, which in turn reduces waste and cost for our business. Everything is very purpose-built where not only efficiency but staff happiness and satisfaction are priorities. Ultimately, we take on a very intuitive, human approach to our workplace and how the warehouse functions.
ER: And I suppose you also adopt this ‘human approach’ with your customers and their concerns? How do you typically work to meet the needs of the customer?
MK: Because of our diverse portfolio, we are in a good place to guide customers in the right direction, even if we can’t fix the problem ourselves we can at least be a solid starting point to help with their goals. We are very good at building a really strong sense of trust in our clients, to the point where they know they can come to us to assist with any issues. Without the help of a company like Engagis, this process often lacks the integration component. We mostly cater to clients who don’t have the particular skill set to integrate all of the pieces. Managing the extensive processes and teams involved can be very difficult, on top of this you need to consider the ongoing maintenance and assistance you may need if issues arise in the future. To meet the needs of our clients, we integrate all of these components into a seamless, comprehensive service offering.
Engagis has used its impressive staging and testing process to assist clients like Australia Post, Suncorp, and Telstra. As well-established companies in the Australian market, each of these required detailed and thorough services end-to-end, which our team was able to provide. If you’d like to hear more about our staging and testing process, or if you’re interested in partnering with Engagis for your business’s digital technology you can contact us today, or head to our website to read more.