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Case: ‘Developers enjoy it’

Application testing and quality assurance in banking and financial services

by Marco van der Hoeven

Banks and other financial institutions typically have hundreds or thousands of their headcount involved in manual IT application testing. This means testing is a big burden on their resources, especially since this industry is highly regulated. Therefore, effectively automating application testing presents a huge opportunity.

Hundreds or thousands of people writing and checking code due to banking being a highly regulated industry means  a huge amount of highly repetitive work. With traditional test automation tools today, IT application testing of 20-25% of all end to end customer and bank staff journeys is automated. Over 75% of these journeys are tested manually meaning a huge amount of people manual clicking through processes every time code is changed, which is frequent.

Modern automation tools like UiPath can achieve automation rates of 80- 90 percent within IT application testing. Keelan Singh, EMEA Banking Industries Lead at UiPath says “For a large bank, testing might be costing them 30 to 50 million euros per year, we can save them over half of that.” UiPath can achieve this high rate of automation as their technology, developed from traditional RPA, is able to mimic humans and interact with any type of system. This fits the situation with banks, who have lots of manual IT application testing work.

Customer experience

Singh: “Banks want quality at speed. Cost is a challenge, but the most crucial factor is customer experience. If you release something that is broken, when your customers cannot get that loan because they try to click a certain button and it does not work that’s not very good for you. But also testing manually is repetitive work, if testers were digitally enabled, they would be able to do far more with much less time.”

At a recent webinar on Application testing and quality assurance in banking and financial services

Chris Booth, head of the Quality Center of Excellence at NatWest, confirmed this vision when he shared his insights on transforming testing with UiPath’s Test Suite product. NatWest group is a large bank in the United Kingdom, with about eighteen million customers. a lot of complex technology, and a lot of people working on various technologies with various approaches.

His main focus was trying to improve delivery, “We were trying to do make delivery more simple, more streamlined, with a more DevOps style approach. Instead of having testers over here and developers over there we wanted a more continuous journey. An ongoing journey that moves smoothly from an innovative idea, through someone developing and testing to releasing it.”

CIO focus

NatWest had a lot of developers, but not as many testers, which led to a with a bottleneck. “We were challenged by one of our senior CIOs in the bank about all this manual testing. Like most other organizations we are digitizing the customer journey, trying to release things more quickly, speed up releases, reduce defects, and so on. And like most large banks we have hundreds, if not thousands of IT systems. Some were written in the 1960s. others written last week, with every technology in between.”

“So, we still had thousands of testers based all over the world, in all sorts of different scenarios: direct employees, third party testers, vendors who are testing on our behalf, and external parties with which we must interact. What that means is you have every flavor under the sun, every tool under the sun, every different level of maturity under the sun. Test automation allows you to increase your coverage because you can run things more often. You can repeat it as many times as you like. You just trigger it, and it gets results. And ultimately, we end up with testing everything all the time.”


At first, with traditional tools, test automation was not really working. “We were not getting the outcomes we wanted. We had everybody clamoring to do more test automation, and vacancies all over the place. Then we started to look at low code solutions because we could not get enough people to write the code, and maintenance was extremely painful. We looked across the market and showed the developers that they could use UiPath to develop their automation as they were coding, without needing any real training to do it.”

This means these employees actually become more valuable to the organization, because they can reuse all their business knowledge or their application knowledge. “And a secondary benefit is that they people learned new skills which gave them a new opportunity within the organization. And now we have automation they become automation testers, and we do not need find budget to recruit hardcore developers.”

Employee experience

“And finally, developers enjoy it, They recognize the benefit because they see the benefit of automation. They have embraced its ease of use. We have done very little large scale training, gave people a login, some basics, and then they just get on with it. It gave existing staff that new opportunity. Because of their business knowledge they can be much more valuable.”

You can view the webinar here






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