Discover the Test Data Management Techniques in Banking that empower Software Testing

The Growing Need for Test Data Management

Early in 2018 four major Banks in the US had clients up in arms when, for several hours, banking services were not accessible via their mobile banking apps. The interrupted services were attributed to a major spike in traffic due to it being payday. Notwithstanding, reputational damage had been done to the banks and, adding to their woes, a social media tirade on platforms like Twitter, where irate clients vented their frustrations and further lambasted the banks, ensued. The experience of these banks again highlighted the importance of software system testing in banking and financial services. However, software system testing is only as good as its test data management strategy, which should be adopted and implemented to:

  • Manage test and development processes to meet testing and application development requirements
  • Secure data and streamline cloning processes, delivering clones needed to meet upgrade and patch cycles as well as maintain data security
  • Identify appropriate replicable accounts and transactions from production to meet test criteria
  • Mitigate the threat of identity theft concerns among consumers and regulators
  • Improve turn-around-times during system upgrades through improved planning of data refreshes and overall data utilization.

The importance of test data management in testing

At its core, data management is the science of creating and maintaining the data sets generated by software system testing, driven by cause-effect relationships, producing predictable outcomes and responses. These data sets can be generated entirely by the tester, by simulating each stage of the customer or transaction journey, producing what is called synthetic data. Alternatively, data generated by actual transactions and previously recorded is called migrated data, providing authentic sets. Each of these forms of data generation has its value and challenges.

Synthetic data needs to be interoperable, able to account for diverse systems in varying environments without diluting the complexity of inter-relationships. Besides, the data needs to be refreshed and valid for multiple rounds of testing and if in an automated environment, should not need to be updated by manual intervention. Migrated data, in turn, is drawn from authentic transactions has limited reusability across different test-cycles, hamstrung further by data confidentiality obligations.

Mitigating the risks inherent in Test Data Management

Implementing a Test Data Management strategy requires that several risks and their potential impacts be considered. The complexity of the data, structured or unstructured, whether the databases are new or from legacy systems and how the data is stored. If kept in multiple environments, it may have the added challenge of access sensitivities and potential confidentiality breaches. Assessing the time available for data discovery, its generation and management is another factor that is paramount in ensuring representative samples are obtained. Besides, test data management requires different types of data for different types of testing, from performance through to user acceptance testing, so data needs to be organized correctly to fit within the required time and budgetary constraints. Another potential risk is the measure to which the organization operates in a distributed multi-supplier or outsourced environment, with multiple users accessing the data in multiple locations. Operating in such an environment also highlights the importance of data security and protection. As a standard, new security protocols will be required as well as staff training, highlighting the importance of protecting live production data as well as guarding test environments.

Empowered Software Testing through Test Data Management

Given the dynamic nature of the banking environment and the need to ensure optimized and efficient process continuity, any process that does not facilitate this expediency will have a negative impact on the entire system. Accordingly, if the process of choosing, interpreting and scrutinizing test results is time-consuming, arduous, and requiring specific knowledge of underlying applications, it will have a direct negative impact on the entire system. The time it takes for reporting and information sharing in an organization can also be a significant factor in the efficiency of the entire organization.

To meet these dual needs of time and efficiency, banks should implement the following test data management techniques, while taking care to mask sensitive information:

  1. Database cloning through the copying of production data
  2. Data sub-setting by substituting production data when appropriate, &
  3. Synthetic data generation, through the production of synthetic data based on a clear understanding of the underlying data model, which requires no de-identification

Yethi, a leader in software solutions and quality assurance in global banking and financial services has developed substantial expertise in creating end-to-end enterprise-wide test data management services which include data quality assessment, data masking, data subset, data archiving, data cleansing and data optimization. Yethi also assures that through rigorous control the thorough management of test data is ensured, beginning with quality assured consistent data. Data security and privacy are also safeguarded, while storage requirements and software costs are significantly reduced.

Difference between manual testing and automation testing

Testing software is important before its launch. Testing an application ensures that it meets the objectives to which it was designed. With the frequency of changes to software increasing, the percentage of tests for “new features” progressively diminishes.  Teams are increasingly spending time to ensure existing features continue to work.  Therefore, the practice of automating tests to reduce the “regression” burden has steadily increased.

What is Manual Testing?

A QA Analyst executes manual testing to detect bugs or defects found in software at the development stage. Software is built with several essential features. A skilled and experienced tester checks all these features, execute test cases and generate reports without the help of any software automation testing tools. This traditional method helps in detecting bugs in software systems. To accomplish the software testing process, it is conducted by the experienced testers.

Benefits of Manual Testing

  • In manual testing, the testers execute test cases manually without any support from tools or scripts. Manual testing allows you to detect the errors.
  • Manual testing allows you to explore a little more possibility. Ad hoc testing allows trying different avenues of detecting errors.
  • Manual testing can eliminate the errors, which automated testing fails to detect.
  • Manual testing is useful when automated testing is not technically possible or is not cost-effective.
  • Manual Testing can help you to detect the issues better, identify the whole problem and fix them.

What is Automation Testing?

Automation allows the testing team to offload some of the test execution efforts to software to execute against a set of pre-determined inputs and validate against expected outputs. Automated testing is a pre-scripted test that runs automatically to help the tester determine whether the behaviour of the application is as expected. Automated testing lowers the run time of repetitive tasks or regression test execution. Automation is an investment that would reduce your efforts over a period of time.  Initially, additional effort and costs are required for procuring the software and creating the test scripts, thereafter it may run automatically with lack or no human effort. 

Benefits of Automation Testing

  • Automation allows the testing team to focus more on “new features” and reduces the repetitive, detailed oriented regression testing.
  • By completing tasks faster, any potential errors can be identified faster to enable faster closure of defects.
  • It reduces business risks by increasing coverage of the tests that you can perform within a given period-of-time. 
  • Ensures increased quality of test results by decreasing the necessity of fixing glitches after release and reduces project costs
  • It increases high test coverage leading to testing more features. Automated test cases can be used multiple times through different approaches
  • Automation allows you to detect software defects at an early stage so that the glitches can be fixed in a cost-effective way
  • Automation allows you to launch the product in the market faster while protecting the potential risks of data manipulation

Despite its benefits, many organizations do not fully implement test automation, either because of the initial cost or the efforts required to maintain the level of automation.   This is a case where the intangible benefits are equally important to the tangible benefits. 

Both manual and automated testing have advantages and disadvantages, and both forms of testing are equally important to get the best results of testing.  It is not a case of one or the other, but a question of using the right tool for the right task.

A few key differentiation are:

  • Manual Testing is done manually by an experienced QA analyst.

Automation Testing is done using scripts, codes, and automation tools by a tester.

  • In the manual testing process, there are possibilities of human errors.

The automation process is code and script-based, hence it is reliable.

  • Manual Testing is time-consuming.

Automation Testing is very fast.

  • Manual Testing is possible without programming knowledge.

Automation Testing needs programming knowledge.

  • Manual Testing allows for random testing.

There is no scope for random testing in the automation process.

What manual testing is best suitable for?  

Ad-hoc Testing: It is an unplanned method of testing. The important factor is the tester’s understanding and insights.

Exploratory Testing: This test is not possible without human skills. A tester must have the knowledge, experience, analytical/logical skills, creativity, and intuition to execute the testing process.

Usability Testing: Human observation is an important factor to measure user-friendliness, efficiency, or the convenience of the software or product for the end-users.

How to think about the complexity of the testing automation?

Application Under Enhancement Cost of automation is relatively low, ROI is moderate.  Reduce cost of automation build. Cost of Automation / Investment is high. ROI is also high. Reduce cost of maintenance.
Application Under Development Cost of automation build is high – repetitive builds. Focus tool on build / change management. Focus on API testing.
  Low Regression Load High Regression Load
Automation Testing Complexities

The differences between these two forms of testing are enlisted below to help you achieve quality output well within your budget and timeline.

Difference Between Manual Testing and Automation Testing

About Yethi:

Yethi has taken the enterprise software testing to the next level with Tenjin’s superior automated test suite. It is powered by an intuitive and path-breaking algorithm that automatically “learns” the software’s UI and “re-learns” any changes without manual assistance. We are led by a team of functional experts, who can conduct testing without relying alone on technical resources. We thrive to help our clients achieve their business objectives within the stipulated time-frame, without compromising on quality. With multiple test case instances, we have proved our technical capabilities.

Outsourcing User Acceptance Testing

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Service ensures that a software continues to perform and provide you with expected outcome under all business scenarios. UAT is an essential part of the software development process, regardless of whether the system is developed in-house and purchased from a licensed firm.

The methodology of User Acceptance Testing is complicated because it is not always easy for a developer to understand what customers seek. The developers may misconstrue and edit specifications, which may not be useful for the customers.

User Acceptance Testing involves multiple stages and some companies may not have time, bandwidth, and experienced staff to conduct the tests. Under this scenario, it is extremely profitable to outsource testing to an experienced team of professionals who can perform all the stages of UAT without any errors.

Outsourcing the manual and automation testing work to professionals allow you to focus on your business priorities with an assurance that all your testing needs are taken care off by the professionals. It does not let you drive away your focus from the fundamental requirements of your business.

Business Challenges

The software testing cycle includes a few challenges. The common business challenges are as mentioned below:

  1. The reluctance of users to perform the test
  2. Lack of participation
  3. Allocating resources for UAT testing
  4. Improper test design and planning
  5. Untrained and inexperienced UAT testers

The advantage of outsourcing User Acceptance Testing

  • A team of experienced testing professionals with thorough knowhow of the business domain executes your project
  • Develops a thorough UAT strategy and improves the quality of your project outcome
  • Projects are successfully executed within strict deadlines
  • Not just developing, but a specialised outsourcing firm provides guidance and support for seamless implementation of User Acceptance Test plans
  • You can get access to a large repository of test cases and real-life scenarios based on your business requirements
  • Availability of well-defined models like the risk-based testing approach that aligns perfectly with the ever-evolving business needs and schedules
  • With a large pool of specialised consultants being available, there is no additional responsibility for hiring and managing internal consultants
  • Get relevant defect management based on your preferences

Steps of User Acceptance Testing Services:

Steps of User Acceptance Testing Services

Outsourcing user acceptance testing services reduce risk, ensuring customer satisfaction. UAT services comes is wrapped with the following features: –

  • Enhance the productivity of your team without hiring new resources
  • Get your UAT professionals, testers, and consultants to develop relevant test cases based on user/business requirements
  • Set up relevant defect management system as per customer preferences
  • Make informed decisions based on accurate reporting and proper communication protocol

Benefits of outsourcing UAT

Cost Management: Outsourcing user acceptance testing will help you to manage your budget constraint by reducing the costs. You can be sure of high-quality services at affordable prices.

Risk Management: Outsourcing UAT services can help you to minimize risks associated with operations, testing automation, test management and resource planning as only the domain experts can make a secured test plan to control the risk.

Time Management: In addition to cost and risk management, an experienced UAT outsourcing firm can help you with time management, which is an important criterion for your project inception. The domain expert understands your time constraint and takes care of your project from start to end.

Business Expansion: When you are outsourcing the user acceptance testing process, you will gain a competitive edge across the market. The experienced outsourcing firm can optimise the use of your resources and provide you with additional support to improve your delivery schedules and service quality.

Skilled Resources: You can get access to the skilled resources who are experts in their domain practice. This allows you to free your in-house resources and delegate them on your business priorities, based on their core competencies.

Why Choose Yethi?

With years of experience, we have developed solutions of varied scales and complexities for our BFSI clients so that they can conduct comprehensive testing and auditing of their services. Our team has helped the clients with error-free implementations whether they needed to upgrade or test the applications for new modules. We offer extensive solutions within the stipulated timelines by leveraging domain expertise and script-less in-house automation platform. We offer varied testing types to unlock their business potential through new avenues and enhance application quality while managing the budget and time constraints. Our experienced team has worked with multiple technologies to seamlessly implement a user acceptance test plan based on our client’s requirements. With a team of experienced UAT consultants, advanced tools, and testers, we ensure a quality to match your organization’s reputation.

Yethi’s achievement of being 6 years in the operation:

Yethi’s Achievement

  • 300 highly experienced consultants
  • Tenjin – 5th Generation Test Automation Accelerator
  • Structured test and system integration plan
  • Tested for quality and accuracy
  • Result-driven testing processes
  • Dedicated manager and BFSI domain experts
  • Cost-effective and time-efficient deployment
  • Customised testing services
  • Comprehensive support during test execution

Leveraging Automation and Outsourcing to Reduce Test Costs

Testing software before it is put to live is an important phase to ensure that your software is safe and user friendly. Testing software properly can help you to utilize your resources efficiently to lower down the costs significantly. Testing an application detect defects during the early stages of software development. It ensures the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency before the software is launched. With the increase in the size of the product, the size and cost of the test phase also increases. It is important to be careful and consider making decisions to plan intelligently throughout the process. The time and cost spent on testing the software may impact the overall cost and schedule of the software development stage. Hence it is essential to effectively control the efforts and costs of testing while ensuring there is no compromise on quality coverage.

Two key factors which can aid an organisation on this front are Test Automation and Test Outsourcing

Automation

Software test automation needs specialised tools to control test execution and compare actual results with projected ones much faster, and with high accuracy. There are plenty of repetitive actions that are undertaken while running software tests. The tests are automated with specialised testing tools, which helps in leveraging data configuration, installing products, GUI interactions, logging defects, and many more. An organization establishes a powerful QA program cost-effectively by leveraging test automation. The test automation is a leap from manual testing, which has a substantial impact on test automation ROI.

Key Parameters influencing ROI

Key Parameters of ROI

Benefits of Automation:

  • Lowers operating costs

Automation reduces the requirement of the dedicated workforce based on the task. It is an energy-saving activity that lowers the heating requirement as well. It also minimizes operation waste.

  • Increases ROI

Due to its lower operating costs, automation solutions can take care of your unique needs and goals. It reduces lead times, increases output and more.

  • Competitiveness

Automation allows you to stay in the competition, globally by decreasing cycle times and cost-per-piece and improving quality.

  • Improves production output

Automation increases production output as it has an ability to work at a constant speed, unattended, 24/7. New products can be introduced faster in the production process.

  • Ensures the product quality

Automation results in greater control and consistency of product quality.

  • Organizes process

A well-planned process and production stage can determine the time frame and required cost. It is best for projects that have time and budget restriction.

  • Seamless and easy integration

Automation improves your productivity as it can be easily integrated with your hardware, and software allowing you to take control of your process. 

Outsourcing

The companies now benefit from outsourcing the development and testing processes like test case executions, test script automation, and test case development tasks to offshore-based companies, independent contractors, niche QA companies, and system integrators. However, there are variations like some companies outsource manual testing needs, while other companies outsource testing tasks.

Benefits of Outsourcing Testing

Here are a few points that establish why outsourcing testing is beneficial for organisation:

  • Expansion and Delegation

Not all companies have adequate time size, the expertise of the existing testing team and the bandwidth to conduct ad hoc testing for software based on requirements. When there is an increase in demand for ad hoc testing, an outsourcing company can handle the abrupt surge and provide practical solutions with its large pool of diverse skillsets on various domains and platforms which businesses by themselves cannot support.

  • Automation

Often companies that invest in advanced test tools struggle to implement them.  Because of the lack of training and expertise to handle these tools test, automation may fail to get off the ground. In a few scenarios, the test tools may not be suitable for their intended environment. A few of the test tools may be resistant to changes compelling many companies to conduct their regression and functional tests manually. Understanding the need and the process of the testing automation, the outsourcing firms are well-equipped in providing consistent test results by avoiding errors.

  • Cost-efficiency

When it comes to cost-saving, companies always look out for options that would be economical as well as time-saving. The option of choosing a testing firm that has the right testing tools and an experienced testing team who knows how to use the testing tools is far more beneficial than hiring in-house testers that could be an expensive and time-consuming effort. Outsourcing firms ensure testing solutions that can leverage all other testing needs at a lowered cost.

  • Specific testing needs

Sometimes meeting the testing needs of a company is beyond the ability of their existing testing team. Under the scenario, a company would rely on an outsourcing firm to meet their testing needs. The outsourcing firms specialize in testing requirements for multiple industries.

  • Reliable results

The excessive pressure from the development team may compel the testing team to sign-off on the testing of an application so that the offering can be launched on time. The problem may arise if the application fails to function the way it is expected to, as there would be no reliable results. For a reliable result, one may seek help from an individual or outsourcing firm with qualified testers.

  • Lack of experienced tester

Companies may not completely depend on their testing team as not all the members in the testing time have equal expertise to resolve complex test issues. For precise and faithful test results, companies may seek assistance from the outsourcing firms, as the expert testing team would most likely deliver reliable test results.  

Conclusion

Outsourcing firms can use their large workforce and help a company meet their tight deadlines. As companies need to cater to multiple clients at many different locations, it is ideal to have an offshore testing team with an adequate number of headcounts. If a team in an organisation is not experienced enough to interact directly with SMEs, test managers, and end-users, it is a perfect idea to stretch the project to an outsourcing firm.

It is highly beneficial for a company to outsource their projects to a firm. Apart from lowered testing costs, a company would also obtain independent testing results, increased testing expertise, and enhance test results. Many companies will rely on outsourcing company to gain a competitive edge in the market. As outsourcing testing projects to a specialised firm is slowly going to upsurge, it would most likely transform the software testing efforts of many organisations.

About Yethi – Yethi’s expertise lies in developing customised test cases for comprehensive testing using the in-house script less automation platform Tenjin. With our bespoke solution, we address all your requirements of the testing lifecycle. Starting from integration with Test management systems and defect management tool to manage the reporting of test case execution, we have an expertise of doing it all. Our business-centric solution takes care of technical resource needs for testing services.

All that you need to know about Automation Testing

A comparison that can be drawn between the desired performance outcome with the actual performance outcome of software is testing. Ideally, a software testing professional would conduct several tests to identify the possible points of an application. With increasing frequency of releases, regression efforts spent on “regression testing” overshadows the test on “new features”. Manual regression testing therefore requires running a test repeatedly to identify bugs or errors. 

Automation of such repetitive and detail-oriented tasks helps in, 

  • Freeing higher value resources 
  • Ensuring extensive coverage of complex work paths 
  • Ensuring consistency in methods and results  
  • Saving time and efforts 
  • Ensuring compliance with norms w.r.t. documentation 

Application platforms today are a complex interplay of systems, parametrization choices and processes.  Enterprise software is buggy, not because of the prowess of the company that builds it, but because these are complex software with a myriad set of choices overlaid with custom code overlaid with org specific integrations.  Despite buying a packed software (commercially off-the-shelf product), the piece of software that runs your organization is generally unique because of the interplay of these factors. 

With significant increase in the velocity and volume of changes being applied to enterprise platforms, the need for robust testing is also increasing. Manual testing allows one to test WIP platforms, which might not be fully stable, identifying bugs early in the development or deployment lifecycle.  However, once the platform is stable  

Like the saying “the sum is greater than the parts”, the bugs in the final software are different than those identified during the unit testing phases. 

Functional Test automation allows you to automate repetitive tasks and other testing tasks, which otherwise are difficult and time-consuming to perform manually. The developers and the testing professional need to save the testing time of an application without compromising the quality and accuracy of the product. Under this scenario, it is essential to adapt automation testing to efficiently accomplish their goals while maintaining the quality of the application. It may be ideal to follow the complete Automation Testing Life Cycle, instead of relying on the Software Development Life Cycle. 

Comparison between Manual Testing or Automation Testing 

Comparison between Manual and Automation Testing

Why Automation Testing? 

  • Cost-efficient and time-efficient – Over the lifetime of the application being deployed, it is tested repeatedly to ensure a glitch-free performance. Repeated running of these tests manually is expensive, time-consuming, and mind-numbing. Automated testing can be repeated and run fast without any extra cost. The repeated automated software testing saves time and costs. 
  • Increases testing scopes – Automated software testing can run on multiple computers with varied configurations. It increases the breadth of tests, frees up manual testers to focus on the newer sections of software thereby help improve the quality of software. Automated software testing allows a thorough survey of an application and investigates its performance behaviour. Multiple complex test cases are examined, which is otherwise impossible to cover during manual tests. 
  • Improves accuracy – As manual testing involves running a test repeatedly, the most experienced and vigilant testing professional overlook aspects due to testing-fatigue. Through automated testing, one may execute the tests seamlessly and can record the error-free reports. It allows our human testers to create and cope up with more complicated tests and features. 

  • Win-win situation for developers and testers – Developers can quickly detect issues through automated tests reports before sharing it with the QA. The source codes can be instantly checked and notified to the developers if they have failed to detect during automatic test runs. This saves time and extra effort for both the developers and testers.  
  • Navigating the success – The QA and the development team will be able to improve their skills and navigate it on more challenging and rewarding projects. As automated software testing can handle most of the repetitive tasks, the team members will be able to channelize their experience and knowledge.  

Automation Testing Life Cycle

A structured automation testing life cycle has multiple stages. It supports the activities in the process integration. Through this process, the automated test tool is used to develop and run test cases. It is also used to develop test design, build, and handle test data and environment. The implementation of automation testing life cycle runs simultaneously with the software development life cycle process. 

Elaboration of Automation Testing Life Cycle  

Determining the Scope of Test Automation – The first stage of automation testing life cycle is required to identify how automation can support your application at this stage of your development / deployment lifecycle. The test experts need to identify the application modules, the test that needs to be automated (and those that would remain manual) and consider factors like expense, team size and expertise to determine the scope of test automation. This will help build ROI models that can justify any investments. 

Selecting the right Automation tool – Your choice of automation tool would depend on the application focus and stage at which automation is being introduced.  Testing during development cycles and during deployment cycles are significantly different in scope, vigour, and functionality. Similarly, automated testing of enterprise applications would have different needs than that of a mobile application or an e-commerce app. Another consideration is the expected volume and velocity of change.  Software that changes significantly in short periods of time vs. where regression is of a higher emphasis. 

With significant emphasis on shift-left testing, there is a need to test micro-services or units of code by development teams. While this does not reduce the rigour of validations required downstream, the emphasis of acceptance testing is far different than testing during development cycles.  

Automation testing needs right automation tools. Hence, choosing the right automation testing tool is essential for an automation testing life cycle. Start by selecting a tool that integrates well with the technologies used in the project. Choose a tool that is intuitive, flexible and functions as a support team to resolve the queries. 

Planning, Designing and Strategizing a Test – Planning, designing, and strategizing a test are an extremely important phase when it comes to Automation Testing Life Cycle.  

  • At the test planning phase, the team establishes the test procedure creation standards and guidelines, hardware, software, and network to support the test environment. 

  • At the designing stage, the team develops a test architecture to describe the test program structure and the way test procedures are managed after the test program model is designed.  
  • At the test strategy phase, all manual test cases are collected from the test management tool to identify the test cases that need to be automated.  

Setting Up the Test EnvironmentThe stage in Automation Testing Life Cycle involves setting up a machine or remote machine where test cases will be executed. A remote machine is required to access your website or web application or devices in the case of mobile applications. The phase needs thorough planning to maximize your test coverage across as many different scenarios as possible. 

Automation Test Script Development & Execution – The phase of automation testing life cycle is dedicated to the execution of all test scripts. For script execution, the process must be signed-off, and unit-tested test scripts are delivered to automation testing team who ensures that all test scripts are running correctly. 

Analysis and Generation of Test Results & Test Reports – At this stage, the testing team analyse and identify the functionality of components that experience several problems in the reports. The report suggests whether additional test efforts and procedures are essential. It also confirms whether executed test scripts are capable to identify errors. 

Conclusion 

To meet the testing goals within the stipulated timelines and with adequate resources automation software testing is important. But an inadequate plan can lead to the creation of elaborate scripts, which might not be beneficial for the process. A well-planned and structured automation life cycle methodology is a fundamental requirement for automated testing.  

About Yethi – Yethi leverages the domain led testing approach with the inhouse automation testing platform Tenjin to cater the needs of the customer irrespective of the scale and complexity of the project. Our unique solution approach ensures functional experts can conduct testing without relying on technical resources and business objectives are achieved within the stipulated timeframe. We have proven our capabilities by creating 45,000 + test cases to help our clients in their business assurance journey.