Testing of financial services applications is a complicated process, as the landscape is frequently made up of a multitude of systems with different underlying technologies, created over a long time and managed by different groups.
Further complexity comes from requirements to have significant business knowledge, scope of testing coverage, test data, test environments, and time to market. Testing of applications most often is conducted at the application level, and very limited E2E scenarios are run. Many aspects of the systems are barely touched during testing, due to missing test cases, test environments, and test data.
Technological advances and the pace at which things need to change aren’t helping testing either. The core systems and the backend systems at most financial institutions utilize legacy technologies. However, to gain a competitive edge, firms must appeal to customers and make adjustments to their systems. Most often this is done by replacing the old applications with new ones, or vastly improving on the legacy application. Finally, regulators are mandating more-rigorous testing practices that can guarantee better quality outcomes. All of this means – testing more to produce quality products on time!
These challenges can be solved. It requires transformation and embracing new processes / procedures. Agile development can help businesses produce workable features that can be tested quickly.
Agile development has to be complemented with continuous integration that works in the high-complexity IT environment of a typical financial services firm. Business knowledge is in abundance with the BAs, functional testers, and other Operations team members who have limited or no test automation skills. Test automation must be made easier and less dependent on technical skills. Functional testers need to be able to create automation, as they know real user behavior better than automation testers. Good test data is critical and often in short supply, as help from scarce DBA resources are needed. Test data must be comprehensive so that more and meaningful scenarios can be tested. Test environments are another bottleneck that needs to be solved. The environments must support multiple applications, such that E2E testing can be conducted prior to production releases.
The financial services organization needs to restructure testing to become much more automated and focused on testing end-to-end scenarios, as they are perceived by end users. This implies better priority setting, and a strategic perspective of which tests are executed on different technology levels. The transformation plan must take tools, processes, and people into account to deliver business value.
Anju Jain is the Head of Delivery for Testing Practice at ROKITT. At ROKITT, she is responsible for building the testing practice, implementing Continuous Delivery and build Data Management product. Prior to joining ROKITT, she led large Transformation Programs and QA teams at various organizations like Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley. She has been instrumental in improving overall quality of the products and in bringing positive change in the organizations.
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