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Is your QA testing keeping up with your industry?

I’m sure you recognize the importance of quality assurance testing to confirm the software you’re using works like it’s supposed to, loads quickly and safeguards sensitive data. That’s the baseline that all QA testing should meet.

However, certain industries require a higher level of sophistication when it comes to QA testing, including the financial services, healthcare and insurance industries. Pyramid Consulting clients in these industries trust us with their mission-critical data to ensure it’s protected, flows where and how it’s supposed to and complies with industry-specific rules and regulations.

Today, I’ll focus on the financial and banking industry, but be on the lookout for future columns that address the specific QA testing needs for the healthcare and insurance industries.

Companies in the financial services industry leverage powerful business intelligence tools to extract and compile information from large data warehouses. That information must be readily available and in a useful format. In addition to general QA testing, financial services companies should be sure they are conducting specialized QA testing in these four areas:

1. Business intelligence (BI) reports and dashboard
2. Extract, transform, and load (ETL) process
3. Data testing
4. Performance testing

Let’s take a closer look at each area, recognizing that all four should be considered together when developing a robust QA testing plan for banks and financial services companies.

You’ll find business intelligence reporting tools at the heart of any financial services firm. They are used extensively to make sense of complex business processes, to maintain business operations and to drive decision-making and planning for new products or service lines. But BI tools require ready access to disparate systems across the enterprise to work effectively. Your testing plan needs to include relevant data sources and web pages where information will be queried, as well as the integration points among these sources. BI tools are constantly changing, which requires companies to remain vigilant that the proper QA testing has been performed.

Financial services companies cannot ignore the importance of the ETL process, which entails extracting the necessary data and transforming it into a usable form for reporting purposes. ETL tools are used to verify data sources, to ensure the proper movement and correctness of data within a data warehouse, to monitor and report invalid data and to assure data loads quickly and correctly.

The importance of big data has brought increased demand for specialized products that can interact with this data. But specialized products require specialized testing. Proper big data testing should root out bad data and provide a holistic view of the health of a company’s data. Pyramid Consulting’s Big Data Testing Strategy (BTDS) is built to mitigate rapidly evolving data integrity challenges and ensure robust quality assurance processes for big data implementations. To address the dynamic changes in big data ecosystems, we helps organizations streamline their processes for data warehouse testing, performance testing and test data management.

Think performance testing and you might think about online merchants. To be sure, performance testing is critical to online retailers to ensure websites can handle peak loads without bottlenecks. But it’s also critical for financial services companies that are moving loads of big data among servers and performing complex financial calculations using BI tools. Much of this data is sensitive, so testing protocols must incorporate security checks to keep companies compliant with general business principals as well as specialized regulations that affect the industry.

Even companies with robust IT departments turn to Pyramid Consulting for their QA testing needs. In addition to general QA frameworks, we recognize that banks and financial services companies have specialized needs. Our approach is to collaborate, analyze and then propose a suitable roadmap for improvement.

The best way to avoid bottlenecks is to ask for help before they occur.

Carl Johanson

About the author

Carl Johanson

Practice Director, QA & Testing

Carl has been creating custom, forward-focused and effective QA solutions for Pyramid Consulting since 2012. Implementing the latest tech and thought leadership delights Carl just as it does clients. In his personal life, Carl focuses on doing things right and doing the right things—an important distinction—as efficiently as possible. If you need Carl urgently, check out your local drumming scene or the closest beach, otherwise you can find him at home with his beautiful and ever-growing family.

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