Shifting the paradigm: Embracing shift-left testing and quality engineering in financial services for enhanced outcomes

02 Feb 2024

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

Financial institutions face a stark choice: adapt swiftly or risk falling behind. In an increasingly competitive market, digital transformation is no longer optional – but financial institutions may need to make profound shifts in their approaches to enact change successfully. In this month’s blog, Assured Thought’s CEO and Founder, Daniel Dore, highlights the benefits of applying shift-left testing to financial services digital advancements, software development, regulatory compliance and customer service.

The digital imperative in financial services

The financial services sector is rapidly evolving, driven by the need to adopt new technologies. Digital change is crucial, particularly to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of internal and external client services. This evolution requires changes to traditional practices, which, in turn, are opening doors to unprecedented opportunities. 

The complexity of regulatory compliance

As technology evolves, so does the complexity of regulatory compliance. Financial institutions must navigate a labyrinth of regulations created to ensure data security and privacy. This makes cybersecurity a vital pillar of trust, essential for maintaining customer confidence and safeguarding assets.

Increasing customer expectations

The expectations of both internal and external customers are escalating. They now demand seamless, efficient and fast systems for managing their investments. Meeting these expectations is no longer an added value but a fundamental requirement for customer retention and acquisition.

The shift-left approach in software development: A deep dive

Understanding the shift-left approach

The shift-left approach is a key strategy in modern software development, one particularly vital in the financial services sector. It focuses on the early integration of quality assurance and testing into the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Traditionally, testing was conducted after the completion of the development phase, which often led to defects being discovered late in the process, increasing the cost and complexity of fixes. With the shift-left approach, however, testing is conducted concurrently with or immediately after development, thereby 'shifting' these activities to the 'left' on the project timeline.

Benefits of the shift-left approach

In the context of financial services, in which software reliability, security and compliance are paramount, the shift-left approach is particularly relevant. By integrating testing early in the SDLC, financial institutions can identify and address potential issues while they are less complex and less costly to resolve. This early integration of testing aligns perfectly with the rapid and high-stakes environment of the financial services sector, wherein agile response to market changes and regulatory demands is crucial.

Early defect detection: Identifying defects early in the development process significantly reduces the cost and time required for remediation.

Improved quality: Early testing ensures a higher quality of software by allowing immediate feedback and continuous improvement during development.

Enhanced security: In financial applications, where security is a top priority, early testing helps to identify security vulnerabilities earlier, allowing for easier mitigation.

Regulatory compliance: Early testing ensures compliance with stringent financial regulations from day one, avoiding costly compliance failures.

Decreased time-to-market: By reducing the time spent on fixing late-stage defects, the shift-left approach accelerates the overall development process, enabling faster deployment of new features and products.

Implementing the shift-left approach

Organisations wishing to implement the shift-left approach will often require an internal culture change. Development teams must be trained to incorporate testing into their workflow, and collaboration between developers and testers must be encouraged from the outset. Automation plays a crucial role in the shift-left approach, with the use of continuous integration and continuous testing tools enabling real-time feedback and prompt defect resolution.

The role of shift-left in quality engineering

The shift-left approach is a foundational principle of quality engineering. Quality engineering goes beyond traditional testing, encompassing a holistic view of quality throughout the SDLC. By incorporating shift-left principles, quality engineering focuses on preventing defects rather than merely detecting them. This proactive stance aligns with the dynamic nature of financial services, in which rapid change and high stakes are the norms.

For financial services firms, digital transformation is complex yet essential. The shift-left approach and quality engineering are not just technical endeavours but strategic imperatives. These practices offer a path to not only meet but exceed the evolving demands of the industry, ensuring institutions remain competitive, agile and customer-centric. By embracing these methodologies, financial services firms can more easily, confidently and successfully navigate the challenges of the digital era.

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

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