Today financial services firms face unprecedented consumer expectations. The pressure is on to produce always-on apps that deliver whenever and however users need it. 

Organizations are responding to this pressure by choosing to focus on DevOps, agile development and other initiatives that can accelerate time to market, boost performance and improve efficiency. Those producing the best outcomes, though, have one additional thing in common. They are modernizing testing. 

Why is test modernization so important? Just consider the experiences of one, large financial services enterprise, who had adopted proprietary test tools that were costly to maintain. Test scripts were developed manually, resulting in long delays as development teams waited for code to be tested. There simply was no way to integrate and deliver code continuously at speed without sacrificing quality. 

The dilemma is all too common. Application testing simply hasn’t kept pace with market demands. Many organizations are locked into complex, proprietary tools that require specialized knowledge and lack the scale and flexibility needed to deliver continuous, accelerated test coverage. Instead, they conduct tests only after design and development are complete – often with less than total coverage. 

According to Andrea Cabeça, Executive Superintendent at Bradesco Bank, legacy systems can limit modernization programs. As an example, developing shorter test cycles can be a challenge when dealing with mainframe systems that take 20 hours to run transactions. Regulatory demands on the financial industry add a further layer of complexity- you need to transform and give space for your team to be creative and try new things, while staying within those regulatory demands that limit you. 

There is also the problem of adapting new tools to manage the old legacy world,  according to Cabeça. Although financial teams want to embrace collaborative work, unit tests, and more, these new steps don’t always work with old monolith systems. Making a push to go cloud first, can add challenges of its own.

An automated alternative
Forward-thinking financial services teams are now modernizing testing to break through such barriers. They are moving to an open-source, technology-agnostic test automation framework able to span the entire DevOps lifecycle. 

These new platforms transform and democratize testing. With an automated framework that is easy to use, anyone in the application delivery chain can run SaaS-based, open-source tests at any time, from anywhere. All it takes is a software browser. You can validate performance at every stage of the application lifecycle – from product strategy and code development to delivery and production. 

As a result, you have the data you need to determine whether the work you are doing is moving the needle on key business strategies. You can establish a continuous feedback loop that improves quality, drives higher levels of customer satisfaction and builds a better bottom line. 

The business case for modernization
As you might expect, financial institutions take a no-nonsense approach to technology investments, and they’ve found the business case for continuous, automated testing is compelling. 

A report from industry analysts at Forrester explores the total economic impact experienced by five companies making the move to an enterprise-ready, open-source testing framework. Each has adopted a solution that supports continuous delivery, providing 100 percent test coverage at speed. They can automate and standardize end-to-end performance testing and conduct load testing at scale.

Analysts found that over a three-year period, the companies experienced a 207 percent return on investment, realized a net present value of $2.6 million, and produced almost $4 million in operating savings and other benefits. 

By diving deep into each company’s experiences, analysts identified the source of these significant, bottom-line benefits. A few examples: 

A 10 percent improvement in developer efficiency
With a testing platform that supports shift left, developers can test during sprints instead of weeks after the fact. If bugs are found, they don’t waste time reacquainting themselves with the code they’ve written or the use case they’re addressing. Instead they can quickly isolate and fix issues and can build quality in from the ground up. 

Forrester found that testing during development saved a half-day of developer time for every 40 hours worked. Unplanned work was reduced by 28 percent, and team members spent half as much time on test case design.

A 10-fold improvement in application performance
With automation, teams can test more frequently at every stage in the development lifecycle – before new applications and updates hit production and are encountered by real customers. Catching errors and resolving them earlier makes a big impact. Forrester found nearly 40 percent of the financial benefits realized with test automation were linked to these significant application performance improvements.

One company said it had eliminated the spike in call center traffic typical during new software releases as customers reported problems. Another reported application load time improved by 10 to 15 percent. Yet another said software availability had improved from “three nines” to “four nines.”

A $300K annual reduction in operating costs
Legacy testing platforms based on proprietary technology are expensive to operate. They come with a high initial price tag and require costly ongoing maintenance. Forrester found that teams making the move to open-source testing were able to eliminate licensing fees and costly upgrades, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Faster time to market
The study shows that test automation accelerates the development DevOps lifecycle and enables organizations to release new applications and updates much faster than before. As a result, adopters were poised to accelerate growth and to move more quickly into new markets. 

Improved strategic alignment 
An automated test framework made it possible to achieve new levels of transparency and to keep all stakeholders aligned – from product strategy teams and developers to operations and customer service teams. Automated reporting tools made it easy to monitor critical metrics, identify trends and determine how various releases were faring before and after launch. As a result, team members had the information needed to ensure their efforts were effectively supporting important corporate initiatives.

Join the test automation revolution 
If your testing tools have become a bottleneck, it’s time to adopt a modern, open-source framework. When you do, you will be poised to broaden your test program and to keep up with the fast-paced demands of today’s marketplace.