Testing has always been an essential part of any ATM fleet owner's core business process. Even after 50 years, the ATM channel continues to evolve, requiring a strategic approach to testing that ensures the machines are secure, comply with current legal and regulatory requirements and can deliver a seamless customer experience on every transaction.
Unfortunately, effectively testing ATMs has historically been an inefficient, time consuming and costly process, requiring lots of expensive ATM hardware sitting in specially designed lab facilities. In this scenario, testing efficiency is limited by the number of people who can access the lab to stand in front of an ATM with a stack of test cards to run transactions and (maybe) document the results.
What if there was a way to increase testing productivity and accuracy, while freeing your resources from the constraints of the test lab? There is and it's based on virtualization technology.
What is ATM virtualization?
“Virtualization" is the process of running a virtual instance of a computer system in a layer abstracted from the actual hardware.” This means that it is possible to make an exact copy of all the software running on a physical ATM, including the operating system, applications, log files, etc., and allow these components to interact with simulated ATM hardware via the CEN/XFS device interface specifications.
Once an ATM is virtualized, it can be deployed in various network environments, including private or public clouds, and becomes easily accessible to developers, testers and QA resources 24x7x365, no matter where they are located.
ATM virtualization also facilitates testing automation, allowing organizations to test faster while increasing both test coverage and accuracy. Virtualized ATMs can also be driven programmatically via APIs, further increasing the speed and flexibility of testing. Ultimately, automation will enable your resources to spend less hours testing and more time on higher value tasks like developing innovative new products and services.
By enabling remote resources to test exact virtual replicas of ATMs any time and from anywhere, fleet owners can dramatically expand test coverage, improve the efficiency of their operations, reduce costs, and increase the speed of their testing processes.
Let’s look at these benefits in a little more detail.
How you will benefit from remote ATM testing
#1 - Access to resources
In many businesses, bigger is better. This is especially true in financial services where scale matters. The growth and consolidation of this industry over the past few decades means that most organizations are widely dispersed across multiple geographies and time zones. Expanded use of offshore resources also adds to this complexity. So even before COVID-19 hit, it was becoming increasingly difficult to put the right resources in the right place at the right time to ensure that necessary testing could be completed on schedule and on budget.
Implementing a testing platform that enables remote access to virtualized ATMs removes any restrictions on time and distance for your testing and QA resources. Virtualization also makes it easy to quickly flex your testing capabilities up (or down) as required, just clone more copies of the virtual ATMs and make them available to additional testers no matter where they are geographically.
#2 - Increased collaboration and productivity
Of course, managing a remote workforce can also be complicated. How do you ensure that everyone has access to the materials and information they need to be productive and collaborate with other remote workers? The key is a centrally managed, server based architecture that gives system administrators total control of the testing environment.
This approach makes it easy to set up and manage specific user roles and permissions, as well as groups of users. Test cards, scripts, media, results and reports can be shared or restricted by the system administrators. Team members can collaborate with other members of the same team or other teams as necessary.
Automation also improves productivity, allowing users to record transactions and run them again and again as required; these transactions can even be scheduled to run at specific times to facilitate regression or performance testing. The use of APIs facilitates integration of the ATM channel with other enterprise systems, further enhancing opportunities for automation and productivity gains.
#3 - Reduced costs
While there is no denying that everything is more expensive these days, implementing a modern, server-based platform for ATM testing can provide opportunities for cost savings in several areas:
Flexible deployment options, include public and private cloud alternatives, can help reduce the cost of acquiring and managing infrastructure
Virtualization helps minimize the need for both expensive ATM hardware and raised-floor lab space
Automation will increase test coverage and quality, allowing the same number of resources to do more with less
Remote access capabilities help reduce the cost of finding, acquiring and retaining staff
Effectively supporting a remote workforce can also eliminate the cost and time associated with daily commutes - improving employee productivity and work/life balance
Are you an ATM fleet owner? Do you want to learn how you can achieve improved testing efficiency by transitioning your team to remote testing? We’ve developed the VirtualATM platform to support virtualization, remote access, and automation, as well as flexible deployment options - helping your organization move away from the constraints of the physical test lab.