The “do more with less” mantra can easily become a cliché, but it’s important to take an occasional step back and consider its implications. Since the financial crisis, banks have shed countless “legacy” jobs. To the extent hiring has picked up, it tends to be concentrated in new initiatives – witness JPMorgan Chase’s announced multi-billion dollar investment in blockchain and identity technologies.
These forward-looking endeavors are certainly critical to future health; however, even as banks launch new products and channels they suffer from well-documented challenges in retiring old ones. Unfortunately, support requirements for existing platforms are not declining – if anything they are on the rise, given the continual introduction of new payment schemes that touch every aspect of infrastructure. Meanwhile, business is increasingly globalized even as support is consolidated offshore in order to make do with limited budgets.
Choosing Between Two Painful Alternatives
Inevitably, this leads to shortcuts. A leading US financial institution recently acknowledged upgrading directly from NCR’s Aptra 3.0 to 5.0, forgoing an entire release cycle. This was a simple case of triage – although certainly far from ideal, the effort and pain involved in executing multiple upgrades was deemed to exceed the risk of running old software. While this case drew added attention, it’s hardly unique. Payments solution providers regularly grouse about difficulties getting banks to implement new versions and bring enhanced functionality to market. For their part, banks push back at the rapid-fire release cycles continually impacting their patchwork of systems.
It’s easy to understand the frustration. QA shops are asked to guarantee the accuracy of their institution’s applications and transactions with too few capable resources and too little time. They’re further hindered by logistical issues like multiple time zones, a shortage of network certification personnel, and limited access to local test labs. If issues are encountered when updating a home grown tool, addressing the fix winds up taking precedence over other “high priority” development work, adding to tensions. As for the testing itself, if teams have a tool from a vendor it most likely supports manual testing routines requiring skilled technical staff to devote more time to running tests than to designing them.
A Testing Option That Addresses Market Realities
Much of the problem stems from the fact that many banks still use antiquated manual payments testing routines to address modern-day issues. Given today’s more complex environments, leaner staffs and quicker turnaround expectations, we are past the point where the value of automated payments testing and cloud delivery has become imperative.
Cloud-based payments testing offers solutions to these challenges. Namely,
- Eliminates cost of licensing, installing and managing desktop testing software.
- Scales faster than on premise methods.
- Testing resources located anywhere in the world can test on demand 7/24/365
- Allows simultaneous testing of more users than other testing models.
- Increases productivity and quality of existing testing resource.
- Centralized management of testing software, test cases and test results improving effectiveness and efficiency.
It’s unlikely testing teams will return to pre-crisis staffing levels anytime soon. However, with next-generation tools like Web FASTest they can harness technology to meet the rigorous quality demands of the modern marketplace, and actually do more with less.