Mitigating Challenges in Banking Application Testing with Right Automated Testing Suite

Leveraging digital technologies help to provide superior customer experience and bring greater measurability to internal processes. However, digital transformations are marathons and not sprints. With constant innovation in technology and changes in device platforms, there has been a growing magnetic pull towards “self-service” banking.

The growth of OpenBanking (PSD2, UPI etc.) is increasing competition for user data, and the one that has the better UI, features and more will acquire more customers with their faithful data.

With rapid changes, the diversity of digital platforms and the growth of third-party service providers, banks cannot help but invest in ensuring that their applications are of high-quality and feature enriched. This would require investing early in process and infrastructure to allow frequent and fast validation of the digital platforms.

Gone are the days when manual testing was conducted to check if applications worked well. It is no longer feasible to depend entirely on manual testing to meet the demands of 24/7 uninterrupted banking services. With constant and unprecedented changes in the overall banking technology framework and architecture, banks must quickly build, deploy, and operate applications to stay ahead of their game.

According to BBVA by adopting automation for their API products and services, “banks can reduce costs between 20% and 50%, workflows are facilitated in IT departments, better risk control with reduced human error in operations and a more efficient collection and data analysis for decision making”.

Why do you need automation testing?

  1. Automation is an investment to yield results in the near term by reducing future workloads, ensuring faster turnarounds of your application builds, validating basic functionality and possibly complex features as well.
  2. Automation Tools are complex to use and tough to maintain. Your ROI can be determined not by the initial cost and effort, but the cost of maintenance of fast-changing and modification of application features.
  3. Teams need diverse skill sets – Programmers must be paired with functional experts to achieve automation. Programmers must be familiar with automation tools, which otherwise could make your available resource pools shallow.
  4. Platforms – Self-service customer facing digital applications need to work on multiple platforms. Therefore, they need to be tested on multiple platforms. Automation will help reduce repetitive work or regression test burden.

Furthermore, with digital transformation, there has been a considerable increase in application workloads. The integration between legacy back-end systems and new applications involves complex processes and middleware platforms.

Testing such complex architecture involving multiple systems, channels, and processes comes with its own set of challenges. While the move towards automated testing is a step in the right direction, banks will need a definitive strategy to successfully adopt automated testing.

The challenges that the banks face during automated testing, include:

  • Following customer journeys

Technology landscapes in banks are complex. Digital platforms hide the complexity for end-users. However, ensuring these platforms remain accurate requires traversing the complex landscape of diverse applications. Automation platforms chosen should be able to address these complexities and resolve them.

  • Deciding the approach to automation

At the core of any banking technology framework there are very few applications that handle 80% of transactional loads. At first banks will need to automate these core applications to achieve greater efficiency and eliminate redundant processes. The changes/upgrades to these applications happen on a constant basis, requiring extensive regression testing.

Additionally, banking processes require testing of numerous data scenarios. Banking applications have multiple touch points interfacing with various channels and systems that makes testing a challenge.

  • Managing test data

Testing is ‘Business as Usual’ to ensure mission-critical applications are up and running always. Data management is another big aspect of testing. Banks must perform different kinds of testing on huge volumes of data across multiple environments. Performance, load, and stress testing require humongous amounts of data, sometimes going past the production data volumes. With automation, test data management needs to be highly organised and well planned.

Test automation solutions come with built-in simulators and test data repositories. Such features help to generate, structure, and store test data and use them as and when required. Banks need a test data management solution that performs the following:

  1. Generates synthetic test data that meets the compliance and regulatory requirements
  2. Data masking feature to mask sensitive information of production data
  3. Data transformation & ETL features to test complex scenarios, interface between legacy back-ends and other systems

  • Planning regression testing

Regression testing must be highly consistent. Whether introduced changes are minor or major in nature, the applications need to be tested extensively. To ensure no existing feature is broken or to avoid any eventful news headlines, regression testing needs to be automated.

As complexities in banking technology framework increases and with agile in software development lifecycle (SDLC), regression testing becomes a must to adopt.

A report by PWC highlights that 21% of defects are not identified until after the software goes live putting more light on the need of regression testing. With automated testing, regression tests can be scheduled and initiated with very fewer manual interventions. This allows the QA team to focus on other complex testing scenarios.

  • Launching application/products in time

Being a first mover in highly competitive markets has its own advantages. Similarly, many financial institutions offer on-demand and real-time services. These applications will also need to be developed and tested in rapidly evolving environments. In such scenarios, the right testing solution can save time and speed up the process of deploying applications in the production environment.

  • Need for reporting for greater visibility & transparency

With automation, proactive and preventive actions become seamlessly possible. With outcomes of test results in real time, development teams can plan for fixes and functionality changes. Additionally, update of test results provides an opportunity for product enhancements. With activity tracker, the complete process workflows of testing can be analysed, and bottlenecks can be identified with ease. For instance, if there is an issue in network connectivity or high latency or unsuccessful data transformation, such issues can be determined with precision. Real-time reports also make it possible to meet regulatory and compliance requirements in time.

In light of the PwC Report ‘An Ounce of Prevention, Why Financial Institutions Need Automated Testing’, it is established that 21% of defects in the software remains unidentified until after the software goes live.

Thus, organizations have an obligation to insist on unassailable software testing. Test automation is the way forward for financial institutions to remain competitive and agile. Tenjin has been specifically designed keeping in mind heterogeneous banking environments and ever-changing requirements.

To know how Tenjin can help your bank, request a demo today.

Challenges to address

1. Follow customer journeys across all technology platforms.

2. Reduce or eliminate programming in Automation by reducing errors and maintaining efforts.

3. Plan for data controls and pre-determined data strategy can significantly reduce the rework.

4. Adequate planning of skillsets for programmers, BA, and testers is mandatory.

5. Integrated Infrastructure like automation, platform, reporting, etc can help reduce overall workload during a critical run test phase. Planning and investing in this upfront reduces time and effort as you move forward.