Remote work. Work from home. Virtual work. Hybrid workforce. Virtual Lab.
All these terms are now part of the new lexicon that businesses have acquired over the past several months as a part of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies, such as JP Morgan Chase, Truist, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Scotiabank, have announced that their remote workforce deployments will remain in effect until at least 2021. Many other prominent organizations, such as Twitter and Square, have announced strategies to support remote workers on a more permanent basis, driving businesses from all industry segments to consider the future of a traditional office environment.
What’s Your “Usual” Now?
COVID-19 lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and travel restrictions have challenged financial services companies from across the payments industry to revise their business-as-usual processes to deal with the large numbers of remote workers who are effectively isolated from company offices and each other. As businesses shift operations to support large numbers of staff working outside corporate facilities many questions must be answered:
- How will business critical projects get completed on time?
- How will remote staff access physical resources in locked-down labs?
- How will the Dev, QA, and Client Services teams collaborate on projects?
- How will the remote workforce balance work/home life?
These are just a few of the questions that affect financial institutions and the payments ecosystem as organizations large and small try to keep projects on track, meet compliance deadlines, and continue to provide services to their customers.
The top priority in any crisis is to maintain productivity as much as possible. Identifying business critical functions, providing online access, equipment, and tools to assist with collaboration and communication, as well as delivering robust cybersecurity and data protection are all absolute requirements for businesses to successfully deploy and support a remote workforce.
Testing is Essential
Testing has not historically been considered a critical business function in most disaster recovery scenarios, but we have never seen anything like the COVID catastrophe before. Now, with the overall impact of the pandemic and the uncertain prospects for a return to normalcy, testing has become a critical requirement for maintaining productive business operations and sustaining or improving customer satisfaction. Considering the unpredictable timeline for a full recovery and the necessity for significant numbers of staff to work remotely, businesses must invest in providing the testing tools and resources needed to maintain employee productivity and operational resiliency.
Network compliance regulations, PCI key blocking changes, contactless processing, customer certifications, ATM configuration changes, and custom card programs all must continue to be supported to meet mandated deadlines and ensure that the consumer experience is not compromised.
The Need for Modern Payments Testing Solutions
By using tools like Paragon’s Web FASTest and VirtualATM, businesses can effectively provide a robust and accessible payments testing environment, allowing remote teams to connect and collaborate in order to meet testing deadlines, complete projects on time and ensure the timely delivery of new products and services.
Web-enabled solutions that can be deployed on servers or virtual machines in the private or public cloud make it easier for your remote workforce to access the testing resources.
Our NextGen applications can be easily launched using a web browser. Your staff only needs an online connection and PC/laptop to test anytime of the day or night – allowing you to provide the flexibility required for a remote worker when they are balancing home and work life together.
Since these systems are always available and accessible, they also permit remote teams to utilize designated test workspaces and collaborate with the sharing of test cards, cases, and results. Test results are archived in a central database and can be recalled at any time. Documents can be created and attached to test cases, facilitating easy retrieval and access by other team members.
Not having access to physical ATMs in a test lab can literally bring ATM testing to a grinding halt. With VirtualATM, physical ATMs are virtualized, allowing multiple virtual copies to be created for all teams to access remotely. The validation and creation of screen and receipt changes, as well as ATM fault conditions, can be easily tested.
The Paragon solutions support the use of either soft cards or physical cards with the use of a smart card reader attached to the equipment being used to access the application. All test cases can be executed manually or configured to be run through automation scripts with the use of published API’s. The systems are easily integrated with CI/CD systems, as well as with third party products used to create automated test scenarios.
Delay is Not an Option
Manual testing, organizational silos, and the lack of automation have highlighted structural inefficiencies when testing various payment channels. As the uncertainty continues, it’s imperative to find solutions and a partner to ensure that you’ll have the functionality, flexibility and control you need to stay current, compliant, and competitive in today’s complex and rapidly changing payments landscape.