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How Continuous Quality can address Digital Transformation challenges in the BFSI sector

May 17, 2019

Like every other vertical or industry, the BFSI sector is undergoing a tremendous evolution. Digital transformation and disruption are the new reality of this sector.

Yet, digital transformation of larger organizations like banks is atypical. Modern customers expect direct and instant engagement from any service and expect that their needs are met across the board of products and services. They expect the same responsiveness while banking.

 

But fintech continues to transform and disrupt at a pace that is difficult to match. With the emergence of new tech like AI and ML, blockchain, big data and digital payments – traditional processes are fast losing ground.

 

These are just some of the current realities of banking applications and software:

  • Large scale of integration: Applications in BFSI integrate with numerous other applications like bill pay, trading accounts and complex business workflows
  • Multi-tier functionality to support thousands of concurrent user sessions
  • Real-Time and Batch processing
  • High rate of Transactions per seconds
  • Security
  • High need for reporting to keep track of transaction data
  • Strong auditing to troubleshoot customer issues

It is a brave, new and complicated market – but one that promises opportunity if you deal your cards well.

 

DevOps and Agile methodologies hold the promise for faster digital transformation and better time-to-market. Yet, Banks are slow to adapt these approaches or face several challenges due to their technology stack.

What are the primary challenges and how can banks convert them into opportunities?

Computerization of bank began many decades ago mainly to adopt core banking systems.

 

As a result, banks find themselves chained to many applications and software that is no longer fit-to-serve scalability and the 24/7 availability demand of digital channels.

 

In the process of adapting to Agile delivery challenges, many banks have acquired different applications and technology stacks in the absence of a common and consistent technology strategy.

 

The first step in their digital rehaul should be to review the set of applications that weren’t developed or bought with a consistent tech goal but were built to fulfil some isolated requirements. For instance, to execute a simple query like finding customer balance, several different functions were written.

 

Consolidation of applications is the first step and will reduce time to market for new features. It will also reduce the cost of running multiple tool stacks and applications for day-to-day operations.

Loosely coupled architecture – required for digital transformation

Loosely coupled architecture makes it possible to build high quality software at speed. It increases resiliency and fault tolerance and enables systems that scale easily when the user base in digital channels increases.

 

In the banking sector unfortunately, applications that sit in the background of websites, apps and other digital products are built long ago and are monolithic in principle.

 

To get up to the speed of digital, BFSI sector needs to evolve to a loosely coupled architecture to benefit from distributed systems.

Increase in use of test automation

Test automation is one of the most widely adopted software development trends that has significant quality and speed benefits.

 

Using automation you can build better apps with lesser effort, in a shorter time. You can identify bugs earlier, run tests more often and improve your coverage.

 

With advances in technology and adoption of test engineering approaches like Behavior Driven Development and Test-Driven Development reduces time and manual testing efforts. It also allows teams to trace requirements to test cases and actual tests.

 

The automatic and repeatable test cases for the application in a regression test suite can facilitate rapid and frequent deployment of software in production.

Continuous integration and Continuous Deployment

To release frequent updates of software that are high quality and ensure a seamless user experience across channels, you need to build a continuous delivery pipeline.

 

This is done by automating the pipeline using automated scans that identify potential security issues or performance bottlenecks. By integrating these scans with automated test cases, you build software that is always release ready.

 

An automated and accelerated release process leads to on-time and frequent product releases. This eliminates the possibility of system down-time and automates the production release process with little or no effort from development teams.

 

But how can banks use their pre-existing systems to achieve automation, CI/CD and faster go-to-market?

 

By implementing a platform that allows them to implement multiple integrations and increase their productivity.

Does your existing architecture offer?

  • Multiple, bi-directional integrations with DevOps tools like Jira or Jenkins
  • Elimination of redundant tasks to decrease backlog
  • High collaboration, visibility and traceability
  • Cross project reporting and complex visual analysis to take go/no-go decisions
  • Higher productivity using actionable insights and a continuously improving test cycle

How can BFSI speed up digital transformation using DevOps?

Banks face a significant challenge with technical legacy. The technical legacy hinders the adoption of faster processes and automation.

 

To bring release cycles to the lightweight, experimental approach and speed of DevOps, banks need to establish the right business case. It is legacy systems that are most expensive to develop, change and run. But with targeted intervention and investing in the right set of modern tools, banks can secure huge cost savings and get agility and innovation back into the enterprise architectures.

DevOps tooling adoption

There has been great innovation in the DevOps tooling space in the past couple of years.

 

And the banking and finance sector is missing out on this innovation due to slow adoption of tools that can improve huge speed, quality and efficiency benefits.

 

For example, tools like Chef, Puppet and Ansible help automate the infrastructure, making it easier to manage large volumes of infrastructure easily.

 

Banks can retrofit these into their existing platforms to leverage their benefits, instead of continuing to manage environments using scripting.

 

In fact, the new generation of application delivery tools have emerged and are being aggressively adopted in other sectors and industries. What banks need is a big leap forward in their tooling maturity and acceptance to catch up with the innovation that DevOps offers.

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Deepak Parmar
Deepak Parmar
Head – Marketing & Channel Management

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