Banks and FinTech firms today have geared up to implement effective digital strategies to enhance the overall banking experience. However, the financial services industry juggles multiple priorities within its technology function.
- Speed of change: Businesses wish to adopt new technologies more rapidly. Just like the Apple iPhone did a decade ago, growth of ubiquitous computational power (the smart phone) and the associated apps boom is further revolutionizing the expectations in speed and agility from enterprise applications. While a business’ need for innovation has always been there, the expectations from IT (in terms of response times, UI/UX/CX) have changed.
- Complexity of environment: Unlike the broad adoption of Core Banking Solutions (single monolithic applications) witnessed in early 2000s, today organizations are more more likely to go for a best-of-breed application stack. This leads to a higher complexity in the institution’s IT landscape and leverages integration technologies (service bus, SOA) extensively.
- Frequency of change/ deployment: Improvement in software development techniques and the adoption of new development frameworks such as Agile have increased the speed at which enterprise software is updated. OEMs are now releasing weekly or monthly patches. With COTS solutions/ packaged applications forming the majority of the banking tech landscape, banks have to proactively plan update cycles – build and testing.
- Digital transformation: In the current technology landscape, more digital based technologies are being adopted at a rapid pace. An Accenture survey of 80 bank COOs in North America says, “The need is for back-office operations to become more digital and to act as the new front office.” Most of the banking applications today need to interact with multiple back-end systems such as trade, loan origination, core-banking, retail lending, and wealth management. Each back-end system uses different technology frameworks that make integration quite complex. Additionally, business processes and transaction lifecycles are spread across multiple days or may need to be executed in real time. Banks need to manage these transactions without losing them, and they must flow from one back-office system to another seamlessly. To offer consistent user experience banks require end-to-end integration between multiple channels and legacy back-end systems. To ensure applications are robust and highly scalable, test automation becomes a critical part of any banking applications’ software development life cycle (SDLC).
When such complex integrations, multiple business workflows need to be tested repeatedly, manual testing can become quite cumbersome and time-consuming. Manual testing will not be able to completely test all the touch-points of the applications. Even so, the manual team’s attention to detail would falter if a significant volume of cases have to be repeated often.
Why QA Automation Matters
With most financial organizations moving towards continuous delivery and agile based development models, the frequency of testing increases. Considering the complexity of the landscape and the business transactions themselves, any QA effort would be complex and need to combine multi-disciplinary skills. In such a scenario, regression testing (testing of existing or unchanged functionality to ensure its stability) becomes a larger volume of work, drudgery and potential point of failure.
In order to keep testing efforts focused, efficient and consistent, test automation is becoming absolutely necessary. In a continuous delivery approach, the source code is developed, tested, and refined further. In agile project framework, several iterations of development happen in a day. With more QA feedback, these iterations only continue to increase. Therefore, highly efficient and self-sustainable automated deployment process is essential.
According to Forrester 2019 Financial services predictions, in 2019, innovation will finally come to the back office. After a decade of focus on customer experience, overhauling back-office processes will become fashionable again. This will see automation testing playing a major role to increase efficiencies and reduce time taken to modernize back-offices.