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The payments industry is facing more change, challenges and competition than ever before. Continued reliance on legacy tools and technology has made it increasingly difficult to keep current with the growth of digital transactions, rapidly evolving customer expectations, legal and regulatory pressures, as well as disruptive competitors.
One specific area where the industry has lagged is the adoption of automation for payments testing. Simply put, automated testing is faster, more accurate, and less costly than traditional manual testing. We are at a point where it is no longer a question of whether organizations should introduce automation tools into their business, but what tools and how quickly they can be deployed.
Gartner says that automation is a critical component for any financial services organization that wants to improve its decision making capabilities, increase efficiency, deliver new products and services to the market more quickly and provide a superior consumer experience – as well as protecting shareholder value.
How can your organization take advantage of the benefits that test automation offers? To help answer that question, we’ve compiled a list of best practices that will help your organization build and operate an automated payment testing environment.
Interested in learning more on this topic? Check out our blog, Manual Testing vs Automated Testing: It's Not a Competition!
#1 - Have a Plan
Before you begin your automation journey, it is important to understand where you are today and where you want to wind up. It is crucial that you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your organization and your capabilities, as well as your existing applications and systems. Once this assessment is completed you will have a much better feel for how and where automation can best be applied to have the greatest impact.
And don’t forget to identify the key metrics that you will use to measure your success. Typical automation related metrics include time savings, improvements in project delivery timeframes, increases in test coverage, and reduced errors.
#2 - It’s All About the People
No new initiative will be successful if the people who are responsible for execution are not consulted and considered as a part of the planning process. Meeting your automation goals will require alignment with broader company objectives, as well as clear and open communications with the development, testing and QA teams who will be responsible for executing the automation vision.
It should also be noted that any and all stakeholders who may be involved with the automation initiative, no matter how small the role, should be consulted, this includes business owners, DevOps, InfoSec, network, HR, etc. No one wins if the project runs into a roadblock because all of the stakeholders were not properly consulted and considered at the very start of the exercise.
As Deloitte states in their 2023 Quality Engineering Trends Report: “When exploring the major concerns in meeting organizational goals for quality engineering, respondents from the survey highlighted limited automation, competing priorities, and time constraints as the top three challenges.”
#3 - It’s All About the Data
OK, so it’s not only about the people. The importance of working with current and accurate data as part of the payment testing process cannot be underestimated. After all, the whole purpose of testing is to ensure that your organization can correctly and securely process financial messages and transactions within your organization, as well as with external partners and payment networks.
Automation goals cannot be achieved if the data underlying the testing process is bad, so it's essential that the source(s) and management of test data are considered as a critical component in your automation framework.
A centralized database repository where test data can be easily imported, exported, filtered and segmented will improve the efficiency and accuracy of your testing operations significantly and make it much easier for your resources to communicate, collaborate and carry out their responsibilities.
#4 - Pick the Right Tools
Once you have completed the first three steps, selecting the right automation tools becomes a much more manageable exercise. There is a wide variety of tools and technologies available today, each with its strengths and weaknesses, so it is critical to select solutions that best suit the needs of your organization.
It is important to take what you learned from engaging with your staff and the stakeholders into the selection process:
And it is also important not to overlook the importance of good vendor support. You'll want a vendor who is responsive and provides the education, training and support that your teams need to be successful.
#5 - Get started
Once you have documented your strategy, consulted with the stakeholders and selected your tools and technology, the real work begins. The fastest way to achieve a rapid return on your investment and see tangible results is by quickly automating the most common transaction scenarios that make up the majority of your testing workload.
Automation will make it easy to run these common scenarios over and over again, anytime from anywhere, on whatever schedule makes sense for your organization. Automation expands test coverage, improves quality, shortens project delivery cycles and reduces time-to-market for new revenue generating products and services.
Once you have the most common test scenarios covered, you can use the savings generated to strategically expand your automation capabilities to include additional transactions, integration with other enterprise systems, including CI/CD pipelines, etc.
An Investment That Pays For Itself
The more you use and leverage automation tools in your payment testing environment, the more valuable they become. Introducing and expanding the use of automation across your payment testing operations will significantly multiply that bandwidth of your staff, expand test coverage, improve quality, and reduce costs.
Investing in automation means investing in your customers, your staff and your brand. Building and executing a comprehensive automated payment testing strategy will help your organization deliver higher quality products and services more quickly, efficiently - as well as more profitably.
In need of help choosing an automated payment testing tool that will enable you to increase efficiency, improve test quality, expand test coverage and speed up your time-to-market? Request a free consultation with Paragon today, and learn about our unique range of payment testing products.
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