Using the most advanced automated testing suite helps banks develop more robust software and complete implementations faster, writes Piotr Sklodowski
Fixing software bugs is up to 30 times more expensive i during the end-user testing or production stage than during development. But all too often, time pressures mean this crucial process gets delayed. Adding to this, the majority of testing is still done manually, making it time-consuming and prone to errors. A triple whammy.
The solution is simple. When testing is automated and performed in an Agile environment it can be continuously applied, speeding up implementation and making the software more robust. This is what TestMaster does.
TestMaster is an advanced test-automation suite for core banking implementations of Avaloq and other satellite applications. It was developed by specialists at private banking and wealth-management implementation consultants Orbium but is used by developers to test a lot more than just Avaloq systems. A key area is Avaloq API testing which is made easy thanks to model-based testing in TestMaster. Combined with web-testing applications that use a browser – Avaloq Front Platform for e-banking, for example, can conduct end-to-end tests.
Testing times made easy
Many private banks have been slow to introduce digital services such as online banking, but changing customer expectations mean that demand is rising, putting pressure on banks to deliver such services fast. TestMaster is proving to be an invaluable help in testing new e-banking packages efficiently.
Testing involves many actions being repeated time and again with slight variations. For example, a UK bank with overseas branches will need to test each process in a new application – not only for the UK network, but also for each of the offices abroad to make sure it works with each IT setup. The tests for each process are fundamentally the same, with only the ID being altered for each location. In contrast, a manual approach demands that a new test is written for each particular instance, which adds risk and time.
TestMaster allows the implementation team to create automated test scripts that will do the testing for them. This model-based approach means they can be written quickly, keeping costs down and helping shorten the testing period. They are also more robust and can be executed on small units of code as the project proceeds. Indeed, test cases developed early on can be used as smoke (i.e. early stage) and integration tests and reused during subsequent phases of the development cycle. Implementation tests can also be reused in regression testing, when systems are assessed to ensure a post go-live change has not affected existing features.
TestMaster allows the development process to “shift left” so that code can be integrated continuously and new releases are ready for deployment within days rather than months. The gains are such that TestMaster is appropriate when performing five or more manual tests.
It can also help improve test-data management for automated and manual tests to ensure that a bank is using life-like conditions and data. For example, TestMaster will ensure a test includes a parameter to generate an alert when USD 10,000 is transferred for secondary validation for all locations except the UK, where this is not required. It also allows testers to run dynamic queries.
This involves automatically finding substitute test data when the original data became obsolete. For example, bank account balances may go up or down. If the original test was run on bank account x with a balance of y, but subsequently the test is run again and the balance has shifted to z, TestMaster will find an account with y balance so as not to compromise the test.
The case for flexible testing
TestMaster can be bought on a licence and maintenance-fee basis that includes fully compatible upgrades and support, as well as by subscription. Another option is Orbium TestMaster specialists working in-house with banks to teach staff how to create fully reusable test cases, helping them get the most out of the suite. Remote TestCase development and execution services are also available.
Knowing how broad to make a test can save a great deal of time and effort. Orbium specialists instruct banks on this to maximise efficiency. In the above example of the UK bank with overseas branches, they would help develop a test that covers the broadest common set of circumstances and add specific parameters for each location.
TestMaster is proving to be an incredibly flexible suite that significantly increases productivity by proving faster execution times, wider test coverage and an integrated feedback mechanism. The result is more robust software implemented faster and at a lower cost. Masterful.