Quality Engineering in the Financial Services market

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The value of global stock market is over $80 trillion where billions of shares change hands in stocks every day. 

The financial trading ecosystem is a highly complex, interweaved market that deals with tons of volumes of data on a daily basis. Today, over 80% of the stock market is automated. This means that algorithms take care of the major chunk of calculations for traders, who can set their required entry and exit rules and the computer will take care of the rest. 

Considering the everyday amount of data being generated, volume of transactions happening, and the level of monetary risks involved in financial trading, it is essential that traders have access to a secure, reliable, and robust platform. 

An online trading platform or an electronic trading platform facilitates the trading of various financial instruments including equities, mutual funds, and commodities. Such online portals have kept the market open and traders active even during the global lockdown scenario due to COVID-19 outbreak. However, there has also been a rise in the incidents where technical glitches halted trading on various stock exchanges. 

Recently, technical glitches at online brokerage platforms like Schwab, Fidelity, and others caused many traders to miss the opportunity of the U.S. stock market rally. Todd Kenney, Chief Technology Officer at Sterling Trading Tech, commented“No one ever accounted for the sheer load that is coming into these platform layers. People have this expectation that all their information is at their fingertips, by clicking on their iPhones or logging into a website, and all that information will be returned in real time. When you don’t have a concept of how to deal with that load or figure out ways to allow more people onto the (service), you run into these issues.” 

As digital becomes the primary method of operations for every industry, including financial services and Stocks and securities market, the scope for such glitches also widens. The only way to prevent these software-related issues is to take a proactive approach for eradicating any bugs, establish a practice of engineering quality rather than just assuring quality at the end, and implement a cycle of continuous feedback and continuous improvement.  

Shift quality to the top on the priority list 

The financial services and trading market is a fast-moving landscape with several interdependencies. For an online trading platform or application to justify digitization of trading activities, it is essential that those interdependencies are woven into the development of the platforms. While having multiple features in a trading platform can be convenient to the traders, it can also pose high risks in terms of functional, non-functional, and security issues. 

Having a feature-rich application is one thing. Having a feature-rich application that performs seamlessly under heavy load, is secure, and functions smoothly is whole another ball game. And that’s where the perspective for quality engineering needs to be brought in. 

Unlike with the traditional development methodologies, quality should become the top most priority. The end users should not only get a product at high speed, but instead a product that delivers quality and value at high speed. To do so, quality needs to be built in, or engineered into the software application.  

Quality Engineering and shift everywhere 

Given the high-risk nature of financial services and trading applications, quality is a business-critical imperative. Therefore, it is necessary that the trading platform providers embrace a quality-first approach in their software development lifecycle.  

Quality Engineering entails involvement of QA right from the beginning of the SDLC, such that the quality-related processes run in parallel to development until the final release. Certainly, this is not feasible to do manually, necessitating the employment of test automation. Moving QA to the initial stages is known as the shift-left strategy. But, shifting-left is not enough in the day and age of constantly evolving customer demands and volatile financial markets.  

Quality should be omnipresent, giving rise to the need for a shift-everywhere strategy for QA. From shifting left for starting QA early to shifting right for channeling continuous improvement through user feedback, a shift everywhere strategy and a Quality Engineering approach result in an application that scores high on all the key parameters of functionality, security, reliability, and performance, among others. 

To sum up 

The recent technical glitch at the online brokerage platforms has been attributed to unprecedented volumes of activity caused by the announcement of U.S. election results and the Pfizer vaccine’s success. COVID-19 outbreak was unprecedented, but we can always be extra prepared to deal with such technical issues.  

A quality engineering approach for developing trading platforms can empower financial organizations to predict and prevent unanticipated software failures. Taking a proactive and preemptive approach toward resolving these issues using financial services testing translates into high returns, increased user satisfaction, improved reputation, and higher trust among users in the long run. 

Cigniti’s Financial domain competency group (DCG) has in-depth experience in testing Fintech applications covering the spectrum of Capital Markets, sophisticated Order Management Systems interlaced with Smart Order Routers, and intricate Execution Management Systems. This helps you assure the best user-experience to your customers consistently. Additionally, our repertoire of proprietary tools, reusable artifacts, & automation framework can positively impact your time-to-market significantly. 

Connect with our financial services testing experts and schedule a discussion regarding how we can help you deliver the best-in-class application to your users.