Quality isn’t just engineered: Eight quality-enhancing financial services trends and one evergreen concept

20 Nov 2023

This month’s author: Daniel Dore, CEO Assured Thought

Powerful new trends such as quality engineering, AI and shift-left testing are already shaping the future of the banking and finance domain – but financial services firms with disengaged C-suites are at risk of being left behind.

In this month’s blog, Daniel Dore shares valuable insights into how these game-changing technologies and ideals can combine with top-down quality leadership to redefine how financial bodies develop, examine and fortify their software solutions. 

 We all know that the financial services industry never stops evolving. At some level, you’re probably aware that it’s happening right now, while you’re reading this blog. But there’s one thing that doesn’t change: the effectiveness of leaders who lead by example.

Now, staying abreast of current trends isn't just beneficial – it's essential. Financial institutions that embrace innovative strategies and new technologies enhance their abilities to deliver value, foster customer loyalty and achieve bottom-line success. They position themselves not only to meet but to exceed the complex demands of our digital era.

But amongst those institutions, it’s the ones with high-level leaders who are outspoken about the importance of quality at every level that will thrive most. For these forward-thinking firms, it’s evident that a top-down commitment to innovative quality and the outcomes it drives is the compass guiding them towards a brighter, more efficient and more customer-centric future.

Right now, there are eight primary trends influencing software delivery quality that all financial services firms should be aware of and ready to embrace. They are:

  1.     Quality engineering over quality assurance: The warp speed of technological advancement doesn't spare any industry, least of all banking and finance. In our real-time digital era, consumers expect flawless, safeguarded and groundbreaking digital interactions from their chosen financial partners. This sets the stage for quality engineering, the cornerstone upon which modern financial software solutions are built. As opposed to traditional quality assurance (QA) practices, quality engineering offers a holistic approach, weaving testing into every facet of the software development lifecycle. The outcome of this integration? Software that aligns with both business and customer needs from the get-go, and drastic reductions in post-deployment defects and streamlining release cycles. That means bolstered institutional trust, substantial cost savings, enhanced user satisfaction and software products that are genuine assets.

  2.     The essential role of software development engineers in test (SDETs): SDETs stand at the intersection of development and testing. Their dual expertise allows them to craft sophisticated automated testing frameworks, enabling software releases to be both rapid and consistent. For businesses, this translates to faster time to market, agility in responding to market changes and ensuring software quality remains uncompromised despite accelerated release schedules.

  3.     AI- and ML-powered testing: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) aren’t just buzzwords; they are revolutionising the software testing domain. These technologies empower testing tools to predict and pre-emptively address defects, dramatically reducing the software testing cycle. The result? Faster, more reliable software deployments that bolster end-user trust and drive operational efficiencies.

  4.     Shift-left and continuous testing: In software development, 'shift-left' refers to an approach where testing activities commence earlier in the development cycle. By integrating continuous testing practices, defects are spotted and rectified sooner, reducing the overall cost of fixing defects. The direct outcomes for businesses include enhanced software reliability, significant cost savings and a more streamlined development process that ensures timely releases.

  5.     DevSecOps – integrating security with development and operations: DevSecOps, a fusion of development, security and operations, champions the integration of security protocols right from the initial stages of software development. This proactive stance means fewer vulnerabilities and a fortified defence against cyber threats. In an era where data breaches can irreparably harm reputation and trust, DevSecOps ensures that financial data remains sacrosanct, fostering enhanced customer trust and compliance with stringent data protection regulations.

  6.     Performance engineering – an evolution from simple performance testing: Performance engineering goes beyond merely testing a finished product for responsiveness. Instead, it embeds performance criteria from the initial design stages. The outcome is software that's inherently robust and capable of handling real-world demands. For financial institutions, this means platforms and applications that remain resilient during peak usage times, ensuring consistent user experiences and safeguarding institutional reputations.

  7.     Cloud and microservices testing: With the increasing shift to cloud architectures and microservices, specialised testing strategies are crucial. Adopting these approaches ensures software is scalable, resilient and efficient. For senior stakeholders, this means a more cost-effective operational model, with the ability to scale services based on demand resulting in better resource management and improved customer experiences.

  8.     Inclusive banking with accessibility and usability testing: In today's digital age, creating banking platforms that are not only accessible to those with disabilities but also intuitively simple for all users is paramount. Through accessibility and usability testing, financial institutions can ensure that their digital platforms are universally usable and easily navigable. The dual emphasis on accessibility and usability translates to a multitude of positive outcomes. First, it enhances the user experience for a broader spectrum of customers, leading to increased user retention and engagement. Second, it demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity, bolstering brand reputation and potentially expanding the customer base. Finally, an intuitive system reduces the need for user assistance and support, driving down operational costs and fostering a sense of independence among users.


Leadership: the driving force of quality-centric cultures

Every one of those eight ideals and technologies needs the right leadership to reach its full potential – and that leadership isn't merely about guiding strategies or defining objectives.

At its core, leadership in the modern digital era – especially within the financial sector – involves fostering a culture that places paramount importance on quality. It's company leaders who shape perceptions, drive initiatives and set tones for entire organisations. It’s they who determine the yardsticks of quality that in-house teams and software vendors aim to achieve and surpass.

Quality isn’t just engineered. It’s also led.

By setting a clear quality mandate, leaders can underscore the importance of customer-centric and investor-focused software solutions, not only instilling a sense of responsibility and purpose among their teams but also ensuring alignment with broader organisational goals. When leaders actively advocate for and prioritise quality, their attitude permeates through the ranks, leading to enhanced effectiveness in software delivery processes. The ripple effect? Superior outcomes that cater to the nuanced needs of customers, fulfilling regulatory compliances and delivering returns on investment for stakeholders. 

 Take the next step with Assured Thought

Are you facing challenges in your software delivery or seeking ways to fulfil your digital transformation ambitions? Our specialists are here to chat through your specific challenges. Together, we can co-create a tailored strategy roadmap that propels your institution forward, ensuring you stay ahead of the competition. An Assured Thought partnership isn’t just about problem-solving; it's about envisioning and achieving a future where technology and strategy align perfectly.


For more in-depth insights, or to kick-start your transformative journey with the leading quality engineering partner for the financial services industry, visit www.assuredthought.com


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