test Transformation in the Financial Services Domain

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28 Feb, 2020


These days, it’s hard to imagine a day or week without online payments/transactions since these activities have become a part of customers’/users’ daily lives. The financial sector, in general, has undergone digital transformation, aiding globalization of the economic environment. An important factor in this transformation is the advent of various mobile devices and mobility services. This has worked well in favor of this sector that has also been positively impacted by technology innovation and varying customer expectations.

Statistical data prove that whether it is an e-wallet transaction or mobile interface for retail banking, financial services govern every aspect of our existence. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global mobile wallet market had a growth rate of 127.5% during the period 2012-2020. This was mainly due to the effective management of customer experience and expectations. Reports suggest that FinTech has witnessed a surge over the past couple of years and is creating ripples globally. By merging financial services with technology, the sector aims to reap the benefits in the form of cost-effectiveness and improved quality.

That is not all. According to the estimates of Goldman Sachs, $660 billion in revenue could migrate from traditional financial services to crowdfunding, FinTech payments, wealth management, and lending. This opens the door for IT and QA services to provide robust back-end strategies and IT back-up to manage several aspects of the user-friendly and secure interface. This is where testing will play an important role. Testing requires time and resources in exchange for guaranteed returns in the long run and optimistically in the short run.

By definition, testing transformation is a set of practices and processes followed to attain the defined business objectives. The primary purpose is to constantly foster an environment that improves processes and enhances quality standards for its stakeholders. Quality standards vary across industry domains and organizations. Its primary determinants are the goals and vision of the organization. Testing transformation requires a change in all major aspects of the organization such as overall performance expectations, processes, technology, and culture.

Some much-needed prerequisites/investments for implementing Test transformation are:

  • Creation of the Center of Excellence (CoE)
  • Test Data Management
  • QA standards & practices
  • Test automation methodologies
  • Standardized testing strategies
  • Relevant software testing tools 

The benefits of a comprehensive and well-thought testing transformation strategy are immense. Having a testing transformation strategy in place:

  • Leads to cost-effectiveness
  • Help stay on par with high-quality standards and speed up the time to market
  • Establishes a robust testing framework based on the testing requirements
  • Provides elaborate benchmarks and plans for defining business goals
  • Sets focus on key areas

Testing transformation, in a way, revolutionizes your testing experience from evaluation of your testing requirements to overall planning of the process to provide never-before-achieved benefits. It ensures the delivery of tangible results while taking quality to a higher level of optimization.

Steps for Testing Transformation

The following outlined steps can help financial institutions create stellar, value-added products quicker. 

Step 1: Reduce project size

If you are to move from point A to point B, it’s better to take small steps than making a giant leap. Select an initiative from the product portfolio and distill it to the smallest functional modules to allow your team to iterate on sub-components of the overall products. This allows the cross-functional team to understand the workflow, build confidence in each other, and experience the rhythm of agile rituals. This also limits the financial impact in case of failure that encourages teams to fail and learn in the long-run.

Step 2: Use lean requirements to jump-start delivery

Lean requirements help maximize customer value while minimizing waste by shipping working software over comprehensive documentation, which is one of the cornerstones of the agile manifesto. The first step is to conduct a lean workshop as a group. The primary goal should be to arrive at a shared understanding of the deliverable as a team, while including, customer needs and stakeholders in the exercise. A workshop can be conducted to go through basic prioritization exercises for the captured scope, draw user flow diagrams, perform a story mapping exercise, and establish personas. 

Step 3: Upgrade your software testing tools to coordinate communication

If your current process is wrought with numerous administrative teams, disconnected systems, and lacks transparency, take a look at software testing tools like Kualitee and Jira. These tools are the best of the lot when it comes to software product delivery. They help all members of the team to stay current and connected. A great way to move lean is to start by licensing a cloud instance. Once you need a more granular instance and you’re more comfortable, an enterprise package can be opted for and dedicated application can be set up within your own data center.

Step 4: Invest in Continuous Integration and Delivery

Continuous integration is a development toolset and practice that allows engineers to integrate their code into a shared repository daily. CI build servers build the product and run automated tests that allow individual contributors to detect defects early and often. Following are some of the benefits:

  • Using a single repository helps avoid a lot of conflicts
  • Your deployment is automated. Meaning that a single click can initiate deployment and update your production environment to a copy of the application in your UAT/QA environment.
  • Predictable delivery ensures that there are no last-minute hot-fixes.
  • Your QA, support, and infrastructure costs decrease as you get more done quicker, with less.

Step 5: Integrate your QA and delivery teams

Among several tiers of integration, it’s important to pick one that is easiest to pull off within your organization and bring to your delivery strategy. Moreover, integrate UAT into your delivery sprints. Having the QA team execute tests on fully functional software and integrate into the sprint-based delivery schedule significantly reduces churn since issues are included within the acceptance of the sprint and are resolved quickly. Use the same software testing tools to allow your team to quickly validate the acceptance criteria used and map defects to user stories to avoid the disconnected practice of defect tracking in an enterprise quality assurance system that is barely visible to the delivery team. Use staging and development environments with access to all dependencies and introduce inclusive code coverage and unit tests.

Final Words

Test transformation can be a painful process for a large and heavily regulated institution. It’s like turning an aircraft around. But if done, it can yield benefits far beyond expectations.

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