We’re halfway through January and today is Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day. While our personal resolutions might already be losing steam, our professional plans for better software quality, more efficient processes and faster delivery timelines are just getting underway.

In this year’s World Quality Report, QA leaders from around the world and across various industries contributed their thoughts on the continually evolving landscape of modern QA. Here are three trends highlighted by this year’s report. Read them and learn how they’ll change the way we test in 2019.

1. End-User Satisfaction Has Become a Key Priority

Expectations for quality have climbed higher and higher, and 42% of quality executives surveyed stated that ensuring end-user satisfaction is a major objective for their team this year — surpassed only by security improvement initiatives. As consumers in the b2b and b2c worlds alike have become more accustomed to using software every day, the demand for delightful product experiences has become less of a differentiator and more of a baseline across many sectors.

An increased focus on end-user satisfaction means urgency around adopting rapid development methodologies like Agile and CI/CD, to help get new and updated features to customers faster. The World Quality Report also notes that a focus on user experience has led teams to put more resources into capturing data produced by their users. As a result, we should expect to see more data-driven product decisions being made in 2019 and beyond.

2. AI is Finding Its Place in the QA Process

A key QA process challenge QA teams face as they move towards continuous delivery is getting fast-enough test results to keep up with the cadence of development and delivery. The need for faster test turnaround has nearly a quarter of QA teams exploring AI to help speed up testing. 45% of those teams are using AI as an intelligent automation solution.

The World Quality Report states that while a growing percentage of teams want to leverage AI, many struggle to do so. Some of the most common issues among survey participants include trouble identifying where AI can be used within the business, difficulty integrating AI into existing processes, and the availability of AI knowledge in development. As AI for QA becomes a more widely-adopted trend, organizations will need to develop a strategy around incorporating AI into their QA process to optimize for its benefits.

3. Automation is an Ongoing Challenge

It’s no surprise that automation continues to be a challenge for QA teams. Nearly two-thirds of all teams agree that they find it difficult to automate “because our applications change too much with every release.” Specific challenges include maintaining test data and environments, as well as a lack of automation skills on the team.

How will this change in 2019? The World Quality Report notes that in the past, the success of automation initiatives often happened in silos — for example, automating test case execution. Today, we’re seeing a shift in focus towards automating entire test lifecycles and processes. The complexity and frequency of changes to code mean that teams now look for more dynamic applications of automation in their QA strategies. 61% of teams surveyed stated they plan to use model-based testing (automated test cases design) in the coming year.