Software Testing Blog

Financial Service Software – different, yet the same.

It is clear that software plays an important part in our daily interactions with financial services – from trading stocks on Wall Street, to checking your bank account balance on your mobile device. This notion is supported by technology reporter Jane Wakefield at the BBC who recently wrote ‘When Algorithms Control the World,’ anexcellent article on the role of algorithms and their implementation in software. She reported that up to 70% of Wall Street trading is now run by software code that implements various number-crunching algorithms.

With this statistic, it’s apparent that the financial community is just as dependent on software as any other industry. While the news of software glitches and failures that may cause wrinkles in the smooth flowing financial systems generates some buzz, what’s most interesting for software professionals and software development teams is the similarity that software in financial services has with other industries.

  • - One of the biggest challenges for development teams that create banking applications, trading systems, and credit card processing modules is the need to create new applications and initiatives, while simultaneously extending core or legacy applications and systems.
  • - To stay ahead of the competition, there is an ever-increasing need to make an application available on the most popular platforms. For instance, let’s say Chase Bank’s mobile application is available for both iPhone and Android, will Bank of America’s customers be happy with only an iPhone App?
  • - The global economic slowdown, especially in financial service industry has put a stronger emphasis on efficiency. One of the key trends indicated in the Financial Services World Quality Report (co-published by Capgemini, Sogeti and HP) indicated that over half of the survey respondents have had resource cuts and heavier project loads.
  • - The Financial Services World Quality Report also indicated two trends that are common with most other industries – increasing use of Agile development and outsourcing in application development and testing.

Compare these requirements within your own organization and development team, regardless of industry, and the similarities will stand out. There is a constant need to build new functionality while maintaining legacy applications. Ask your manager and more than likely her #1 worry is how to increase efficiency to get the latest release out faster, and with thoroughly testing all the features from the PRD. Most groups engage in some sort of agile methodology and intelligent teams understand the value of “why-build-when-you-can-buy”.

Since a bulk of the challenges for the software development teams in financial services are similar to those in other industries like embedded software, Internet software, telecom and networking systems; it is no surprise that so are the solutions for tackling them. These are solutions that help development teams improve efficiency, allow collaboration to improve software quality, automatically test and report the impact of changes, and provide visibility into the internal and external software components.

Given these similarities, it is not surprising that one of the forward-looking trends reported in the financial service software industry is the adoption of static analysis solutions.

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