What makes Software Testing so critical for Banking Applications?
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A recent news update states how an ATM in the Houston area was shut down as it was dispensing $100 bills instead of $10s. This happened due to a manual error when a vendor incorrectly loaded $100 bills in a $10 slot. Though this was not a software glitch, we are very much aware about the software hiccups that have cost serious damage for the banking sector. The banking sector is prone to various risks such as online thefts, data breaches and cyberattacks too. This makes the sector absolutely vulnerable, which emphasizes the need for software testing and quality assurance.
Apart from the security aspects, the banking sector needs to keep catering to its customers in various ways. Banking/Financial Applications are very much complex and interconnected. Hence, there are some common challenges that teams face while testing these applications. Tremendous effort and skill is needed to execute the testing activities for improving and enhancing software applications.
Some of the common challenges are related to changing regulatory requirements, shifting bank policies, maintaining confidentiality of customer sensitive data, and complexity of the interconnected nodes within the application. These are just a few to be mentioned, where banking applications struggle to maintain security aspects and also deal with the growing demands of its users.
Banking applications are considered one of the most complex applications amongst all in the application development scenario. The reason being, these applications are wrapped under a layer of thick network and interconnections. Hence, while developing and testing these applications, it is important to strategize and understand their workflow, and later draw a testing plan of action.
Understanding the DNA of a Banking Application
According to a report by Deloitte, ‘For banks globally, 2018 could be a pivotal year in accelerating the transformation into more strategically focused, technologically modern, and operationally agile institutions, so that they may remain dominant in a rapidly evolving ecosystem. This metamorphosis is far from easy as most banks grapple with multiple challenges: complex and diverging regulations, legacy systems, disruptive models and technologies, new competitors, and, last but not least, an often restive customer base with ever-higher expectations.’
In order to understand the testing requirements of the banking sector, it is important to get a good picture of various aspects within a banking application. A banking application is responsible for supporting multiple concurrent user sessions, large scale integration, complex business workflows, real-time and batch processing, huge transactions, secure transactions, and robust reporting structures. It has to have a strong mechanism to troubleshoot customer issues, a massive storage system, and foolproof disaster recovery management plan.
Moreover, the application has to work across various legacy systems in order to execute trillions of transactions within a second. Hence, what testing and development teams need is an end-to-end testing methodology that involves various software testing techniques that can provide total coverage of all banking workflows and business requirements.
At the same time, it is important to take a stock of various functional aspects of the application, even security aspects that includes Data Integrity and Concurrency. Delivering flawless customer experience is definitely becoming a major part of the overall testing and development scenario as well.
On similar lines, the Deloitte report further explores ‘the challenges most banks face in balancing the need to restructure their foundations for the long-term with finding near-term growth’. They have identifies six macro themes that should be critical for long-term growth – Customer centricity, Regulatory recalibration, Technology management, Mitigating cyber risk, Fintechs and big techs, Reimagining the workforce.
These macro themes kind of sum up the burgeoning challenges and opportunities for the banking sector. Now, the only impediment is to understand and gauge how the teams working on these critical projects deal with the challenges and opportunities that are coming up their way.
Some of the key strategies to consider for Testing Banking Applications
Reference to the aspect of ensuring customer centricity, the Deloitte report states, ‘Long-term sustainable growth in the banking industry seems only possible with a radical departure from a sales- and product-obsessed mind-set to one of genuine customer centricity, and further rationalization of strategies to target the right markets, customer segments, and solutions. Although banking has undoubtedly improved in many ways in the last couple of decades, most organizations have not gone through the customer-centric transformation that other industries have undergone. With widespread digital disruption, banks may even risk losing control over customer experience.’
In order to ensure that these demands and requirements are catered to, teams need to strategize and twist their approach towards testing banking applications. While working on a financial application, a lot of focus has to be based on requirement gathering, where the banking experts and business analysts should be approached to provide the use cases and customer requirements from the application under concern. For instance, what will the application provide, an insurance service, an online trading platform, or a retail banking platform?
Eventually, a lot of thought has to shift on understanding the business scenario and incorporating the business needs right towards the beginning of the application development process. Business scenarios generally provide a high-level understanding of the customer needs and business requirements. These briefings can include high-level scenarios and even a review of detailed Test cases.
What we are suggesting is to shift the focus on understanding the business requirements to ensure that the testing and development efforts are in sync with what the industry needs from the sector.
The banking domain is replete with ever changing and cutting-edge technology, with ever more intricate functionality intertwined into applications. Business Continuity, Service Delivery, and Performance are key aspects that need to be kept in mind for improving and increasing RoI. Cigniti’s dedicated Banking Domain Competency Group (DCG) furthers our thought leadership in the Banking functional and technology landscape. It facilitates effective delivery through an experienced pool of top quality test consultants who are industry SMEs and certified professionals.