Daniele Sana, Head of QA at SoftSolutions!, explains the challenges that banks face with technology outsourcing and how his firm is not only helping with a fully managed trading service but a fully hosted testing service as well.
Banks have a challenge. As they look to outsource more of their business infrastructure to application service providers and the cloud, regulation like MiFID II make it clear that firms can in no way outsource the blame if things go wrong.
So when SoftSolutions! initially looked to move from selling deployed Fixed Income trading software to offering fully hosted and managed “Trading as a Service”, there were more challenges to address than simply delivering a trading platform.
We needed to answer the question: “How do I give confidence to a potential client that this highly complex trading application has been fully tested?”
This was a question we needed to answer for both the business and compliance departments of a bank. Testing needs to be: Consistent, complete and transparent.
As financial applications get more complex, so do the demands on testing. Relying on manual testing strategies was simply not an option. It is a time-consuming process to carry out accurately and continual manual regression testing, because of its repetitive nature, is error-prone.
Test Automation is the only way to keep ensuring the quality of our trading applications and has become an essential part of our evolution into providing cloud solutions.
SoftSolutions! has already adopted Test Automation processes into its production lifecycle. Every new feature, change request or bug fix must be covered with Test Automation before it’s considered complete and ready for client delivery. Strict guidelines are defined and documented in order to help software and quality engineers, and potentially even business analysts, to write their own tests in an easy and standardised way.
With Automation Testing we were able to provide more stable applications to our clients in a faster way. We are continuously integrating our test suites covering our solutions as much as possible, both for regression testing and functional testing on new features.
Performance tests have also been addressed as we want our solutions to work smoothly both in low and high-volatility conditions. Consequently, productivity has also been increased as automated tests are executed on a nightly basis, test results are harvested the next morning and engineers can focus on critical tasks and less time is spent on manual testing.
However, automation is not enough. We need to prove to our clients that our software has gone through the right level of rigour. This is not a matter of trust, it is a matter of transparency and sharing.
If our clients are able to see exactly what tests have been run by being able to inspect the test scripts and the results, they can make their own call as to how much more testing needs to be done to satisfy their own standards.
Hosted Collaborative Testing
Providing an environment that both software vendor and client can access in an efficient way has led us to provide a new proposition: Testing as a Service.
This service provides a complete client environment set up in a secure and dedicated cloud environment with all the test automation and test scripts set up to run with the client’s version of nexRates and the option to provide connectivity to the client’s own systems.
After the SoftSolutions! test teams have verified a successful test run, our client can take over the environment to run any additional tests by simply adding their own automated test scripts to the existing suite or to conduct their own manual testing as well.
Test Script Transparency: If our clients can see exactly what tests have been run and the results, rather than running a full suite of testing of their own (from the basic test, all the way to complex scenarios), they can choose just to add the tests they feel they need to complete the testing to reach their own level of satisfaction.
Testing as a Service: By giving access to this collaborative testing environment, in a secure hosted space in the cloud, infrastructure can be provisioned at a moment’s notice and sized appropriately according to the type of testing (e.g. functional vs capacity & performance testing).
Time to Market: Ultimately, with this transparent, collaborative process to testing, the overall time from development to production is shortened. Meaning that new features can be brought to market faster, benefitting our clients’ businesses.
This is where we think SoftSolutions! are doing things differently. Rather than making statements about the level of testing, our clients can see, run and modify the testing in their own dedicated Testing as a Service environment.
Come and talk to us to learn more about this new approach to testing trading software.