The BFS industry is characterized by a physical branch distribution model that makes them susceptible to disruption from technological advancements. Age-old incumbents have fallen prey (read despite valiant, yet late efforts) to digital disruption and progressive culture shifts, keeping them miles behind digital native banks in terms of its Agile adoption.

Although an instrumental force in the digital journey, the use of agile technologies is still picking up its pace in the world of banking. This is because of the dominating lofty and hierarchical processes, in-house legacy infrastructure and dynamic mergers and acquisitions that are constantly subjected to change. On the flip side, this could potentially be a substantial competitive advantage when it comes to the depth, timeliness, and customer relationships. And in sync, agile technology helps to consistently engage and serve customers with iteratively innovative products, at crucial touchpoints in the customer journey. A customer-centric culture that is truly where Agile stems off, has foregone the regular operations to transition the focus towards an augmented market responsiveness, affordability, sustainability, and quality of services. Based on research conducted by McKinsey, here are a few success stories, disguised as promising statistics.

  • A BFSI giant embraced a 23x decrease in time to market for new features and products by pivoting to Agile.
  • Businesses that have adopted continuous testing have recorded a gain of $7 million in operating cost reductions over three years.
  • A prominent bank recorded a 50% reduction in the software defects and error rates post the Agile transition.
  • A US bank attributed a 25% increase in revenue from all their digital channels to their Agile shift.

While Agile may seem like it belongs to software space alone, Agile testing renders flexibility for any kind of transformation beyond regular operations, paving the path for a satisfied customer journey. Red tape, performance failures, lack of compliance, security vulnerabilities and in short complex functions has influenced banks to shun away agile adoption. However, agile testing creates an automated feedback loop creating room for an optimal performance and a seamless experience.

Agile testing creates a cross-functional expertise that delivers business value at frequent intervals, all at a sustainable pace. The testing is now as early, thus keeping up with product growth and release deadlines. Beyond this value add, it also massively saves time, improves decision making and determines priorities. Also, with Agile Testing automated tests are fully leveraged to implement Regression; application delivery is accelerated and changing priorities effectively managed.

Although Agile is not a silver bullet, its iterative nature benefits the user with continuous feedback and refinement. The banking industry can leverage this success and quick time to market while still mitigating the heavy risks and warranting compliance and regulatory requirements. Agile practices can complement the need to meet regulatory requirements, through every stage of the sprints.

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Agile Testing: A Statement Piece in a Bank’s Technology

Diving deeper into the testing aspect, the complex and hierarchical nature of the domain demands smooth functioning, protection and security of business-critical activities and all integrated modules, as intended. And the most efficient way to achieve this is through CI/CD (continuous integration, continuous development). Unlike the waterfall method, where the QA Teams test the software at the end of the Software Development Cycle (SDLC), Agile Testing at banks ensures there are no last-minute changes or unfinished/faulty software, making the process more flexible and efficient at speed. With this approach, the tester is at the core of the continuous feedback loop with the customers, developers, and other stakeholders.

Now that it has been established, continuous delivery and agile testing go hand in hand. Conversely, Agile testing cannot be achieved without automation. Automated testing allows Quality Assurance to fail fast and react to bugs promptly. For instance, Regression testing is a pivotal aspect of Automation. As banking systems evolve and expand to cater to customer needs, the number of test cases and thereby the regression suite also follow along. To top it all, limited resources force regression to be overlooked, rushed, or down prioritized. This culminates with a negative spiral of releases with bugs, poor user experiences, and thus unsatisfied customers.

While the processes under test are significant and confidential, it is imperative to choose an automation tool that deals with a codeless infrastructure. This not only narrows the communication and skill gaps, but also brings a plethora of advantages like:

  1.     Rapid release cycles during the product life-cycle
  2.     Flexible decision making through iterative sprints
  3.     End-to-end stakeholder involvement
  4.     Increased profitability

All in all, the purpose of Agile technology is to help financial institutions of all sizes and background to become as nimble as startups. In sync, integrating a test automation tool acts as a catalyst for multiple growth vectors and paves the path for scalability, fast experimentation, adaptive change management, all while leveraging the distinct relationship driven nature of the industry.