Where does the time go?
As I get older, time seems to fly by faster and faster. It seems like only yesterday that the Paragon team was putting the finishing touches on the 2018 plan and here we are now, getting ready to close out the year and start all over again.
We saw a lot of change again over the past twelve months and we had a chance to cover a lot of interesting topics. We've talked to a lot of customers, prospects and partners during the course of the year and I’d like to use this post to summarize some of the common threads from those discussions:
Automation was a key topic of conversation this year and has clearly emerged as a critical requirement to shorten delivery times for new products and services, increase efficiency, improve accuracy, and extend test coverage. There is a growing realization that manual processes really are too slow, cost too much and do not provide broad enough test coverage. During 2018, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) also surfaced as a new focus area for payments testing, specifically as it relates to automating any and all repetitive testing processes in order to free up experienced resources to focus on other, higher value tasks.
We also spent a lot of time this year talking about integration. While this is not a new topic, it really came to the front burner during 2018. We saw the topic broaden out considerably to include not only integration with Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools, but also Agile development environments and other enterprise systems. We are typically able to communicate with systems such as these via our standard API, but this subject area will continue to evolve rapidly. The digital world continues to generate new payments options, devices and gateways that must be connected, integrated and tested and API level integration will become more and more common.
Flexibility and Control
We started several new engagements this year with organizations that have been using various legacy testing tools. One common thread that emerged from all of these discussions: the legacy products no longer provide the control or flexibility required to stay current with the rapidly evolving marketplace. Some of these tools have been in place for many years and have simply not seen the investment necessary to keep them current. Paragon’s core strategy has always been to work with our customer in partnership and give them as much control over their testing environment as possible. In addition to the capabilities built into our standard products, we also offer a Software Development Kit (SDK) that also featured in many of our discussions this year.
Security remains a critical part of any discussion with either existing or prospective customers, with a focus on two main areas: how do we help our customers build and maintain the most secure payments testing environment and how does Paragon manage our own security. As it relates to customer security, we offer a centralized command and control infrastructure that allows system administrators to manage users, roles and permissions, no matter if the resources are all in the same building or spread out all over the globe. We can also integrate with our client’s Single Sign On (SSO) systems to provide an additional level of security.
As far as Paragon security goes, we run our operation so that we can meet the security and audit requirements of some of the largest and most sophisticated financial services organizations in the world. This is not always easy or inexpensive, but all of our clients benefit from the investments that are driven by these industry leaders.
Of course, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and as well as payment scheme mandates is critical for banks and other regulated financial service providers. We understand that compliance "overhead" is perceived as onerous by many organizations. However, the reality is that failure to meet industry rules and mandates can result in substantial financial penalties, as well as significant (and in some cases catastrophic) brand damage. All of these mandatory changes must be exhaustively tested to ensure compliance. As noted above, manual testing methods and processes are too slow and will often not allow organization to meet regulatory time frames. As the marketplace continues to evolve, it will also become more critical for FinTechs and other disruptors to meet these same compliance requirements.
When everyone comes back after the break, we will take a look at some of the key topics and trends that we think will drive conversations in 2019.
The entire team here at Paragon would like to thank you for your continued interest in our solutions and we hope that you have a great holiday season.
We’ll be back in January, looking forward to another great year.