Expect the Unexpected – What Have We Learned In 2020

Posted by Steve Gilde on December 10, 2020

As far as anyone knows, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 made its first leap from animals to humans through two key sources: pangolins and bats. Most everyone knows what a bat is, but before the pandemic, relatively few were familiar with the humble pangolin (the only mammal on Earth covered in scales).

The first- animal-human transmission of the novel coronavirus may have occurred at a “wet market” in Shenzhen, China. At these markets, which have existed for thousands of years, animals of all types are stabled, bought, and sold every day. Those farming, tending, and processing the animals are in close contact with them thousands of times a month.

Shenzhen is a city of 12.3 million people, with millions more living in the region. When you consider how many times a local person might have been in contact with a potentially infected animal, you get astronomical numbers – tens of millions of contacts. But it only took one “black swan” event to turn our world upside down.

Testing is The Best Defense Against Events Outside Your Control

So it goes with managing payment systems that are now so large, so complex, and undergoing so much change that unexpected behaviors can arise any time for reasons that aren’t always clear. The best defense to prevent and respond to disasters when they ultimately happen is a robust and automated testing strategy. Unfortunately, some organizations still rely on manual testing processes that simply cannot keep up any longer. History has shown us over and over again that when the unexpected happens – and it will happen – comprehensive testing can stop the first domino from falling and prevent a disastrous chain of events.

Scientists call it an emergent property.

The truth is, of course, that payment systems don’t simply break down spontaneously. Unfortunately, there are now so many moving parts – provided by so many vendors, communicating through so many different standards – that it is nearly impossible to have complete knowledge of every link in the chain.

To illustrate this point, consider the unexpected ways COVID-19 has impacted the world in 2020:

1. Everyone Suddenly Knows What Zoom Is

Prior to the pandemic, Skype led the pack in video calling and conferencing. Zoom was catapulted to its current prominence in a matter of weeks, reaching a stock price just over $598 in mid-October. Then, by early November, it lost 17% of its value on announcements that an effective COVID-19 vaccine is in sight.

2. Remote Work Is a “Perk” No More

Remote work was proudly promoted as a perk by forward-thinking companies before it suddenly became mandatory. Now, there are still some upsides – many workers stand to save thousands of hours on commutes – but research by Harvard Business School has shown remote work can lead to a much longer workday, potentially compromising the work/life balance for many.

3. Millions of People Discovered They’re “Essential”

After years of wrangling over minimum wage hikes, it must have come as a surprise to many retail workers to learn they are indispensable to society. Retail sales have been strongly up YOY since June, while 20% of workers in one “essential” category, grocery, have tested positive for COVID-19.

4. Computer Networks Throughout the Globe Are Straining

With shelter-in-place orders looming in many areas, much of the world has seen remarkable (and durable) spikes in network traffic. To name just a few, Ghana’s data traffic grew 50%; Croatia saw 50% growth in Q2 2020 alone; and one UK provider tracked downloads at an extra 3.4 gigabytes per day.

To put it simply, many of the systems – technological, economic, and human – that were once regarded as robust and reliable have proven to be inadequate in the face of new and unexpected demands. Without a comprehensive testing strategy in place, the very same thing can happen in a heartbeat to your payment systems, potentially costing millions in lost business and billions in shareholder value.

Paragon Application Systems Delivers Streamlined, Reliable Testing Solutions

At Paragon, we understand you don’t need another “system” – you need a solution.

Our team has built best-in-class test tools like Web FASTest and VirtualATM that deliver rich functionality and remote accessibility, as well as supporting both automation and integration with other applications. In today’s uncertain landscape, we enable you to connect and communicate so project teams based around the world can collaborate as if they are just across the hall. Our technologies are Web-enabled and cloud-compatible, putting you in total control of your testing environment.

If we have learned anything in 2020, it is to expect the unexpected.

Web FASTest

Topics: Payments Testing, Automation, Innovation