Testing Center of Excellence: A Mission (Not So) Impossible for Financial Institutions

Posted by Steve Gilde on August 7, 2018

“Good morning Ethan. It's been widely reported in the press, through research papers and by industry analysts that consumers across the globe have now taken control of their own financial destiny - utilizing a wide variety of increasing sophisticated devices these individuals are demanding that financial services company provide 24 x 7 access to their accounts, financial information and payment services. They want to conduct their personal business any way, any place and any time that they desire. 

Unfortunately, supporting these rapidly evolving requirements is proving to be a significant challenge for a variety of organizations, large and small. Many existing financial institutions maintain a conglomeration of disparate systems that make the rapid development of new products and services unnecessarily complex and expensive. Some of these systems date back to the 1970’s, but still process significant volumes of mission critical payment transactions. In more than a few cases, testing of these legacy systems is still done manually or by using tools and processes developed by resources who have long since retired. At the same time, many of these companies are struggling to become "Agile" and are restructuring their organizations to become more customer-centric.  

To further complicate matters, several leading FIs and payment processors have recently suffered highly publicized outages that call the safety, security and viability of the entire payment system into question.

Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to take on the role of Senior Vice President at a top 5 financial institutions and build a Testing Center of Excellence in order to help your organization remain competitive, relevant and profitable. You must accomplish the follow tasks: 

  • Lead and direct the required transformational activities to build a World Class Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE) focused on providing consumers with the very best user experience possible no matter when, where or how they choose to interact with the enterprise
  • Engage with key stakeholders from all across the organization to ensure that they understand the importance of the TCoE and get their “buy-in”. This includes, Line of Business Owners, IT, Info Sec, Legal, Risk & Compliance, Procurement, etc.
  • Avoid any failures that result in a disruption in the delivery of products or services to the marketplace or cause brand damage
  • Define and design a 10 year strategic testing roadmap, including capacity planning
  • Select and inspire the resources necessary to execute on the 10 year plan
  • Establish goals, processes and procedures to continually improve the quality of products and services
  • Increase the use of automation, analytics and artificial intelligence to improve quality, efficiency and reduce delivery times
  • Utilize appropriate new technologies to keep the organization moving forward, competitive and relevant
  • Ensure the TCoE is always in complete compliance with all corporate, industry and regulatory standards

As always, if you or any member of your team fails in the mission, your company will face a storm of negative comments and reviews on social media. Of course, the board of directors will disavow any knowledge of your activities.

Good luck, Ethan.”


Hollywood, CA (August 7, 2018) – Paramount Pictures has yet to respond to rumors that they already in the planning stages for the next installment of the highly successful Mission Impossible series starring Tom Cruise. While the 6th MI picture is still number 1 at the US box office, Mission Impossible 7 – Total Meltdown, is reportedly in the works.

The next episode is said to focus on the challenges and political intrigue associated with the inner workings of large financial institution that is struggling to stay competitive and relevant in a rapidly changing and customer-centric world.

While Cruise has previously learned how to hold his breath for 6 minutes, jump out of airplanes, fly a helicopter and even cling to the outside of the world’s tallest building, the next role may be his most challenging yet. As a senior manager at a top tier bank, Cruise will need to negotiate with entrenched stakeholders and navigate through a complex web of IT networks, systems and processes on order to build a World Class Testing Center of Excellence that transforms his organization into a dynamic and profitable fintech powerhouse.

With a story ripped from today’s headlines, the next mission may be the most impossible yet.

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Topics: ATM Testing, Payments Testing, Automation, Innovation