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ING Bank Italy to add crowd-testing for launch of new loan platform
Bank customers are more demanding in the digital world. They want to transact business at increasing speeds, but with zero compromises on quality – and there are regulators to satisfy as well.
The launch of ING Bank Italy's new online personal loan platform is a good example of how software quality assurance teams can help bridge the gap between those business requirements and the development process. The platform has been designed to offer customers approval in principle for loans of up to €30,000 within five minutes.
The new personal loan platform began development at the end of 2016. In April 2017 the platform was released to the bank’s current account holders and in October it was rolled out to prospective online customers. The next step of the project is to extend the platform’s functionality to the ING Italy's retail branches.
“Whenever we open a new project at ING Italy, one of the ways we decrease the time to market is to divide the scope of the project into minimum viable products (MVPs),” Martinelli told QA Financial. “Agile methodology is a relatively new phenomenon in Italy, and I don’t think we are quite ready for this method yet. We need to change our perspective in a big way. It’s very complicated to implement an agile approach in an Italian development team, so as a compromise, we break our projects down.”
ING operates a strict timescale when it comes to the testing phases of product delivery, allowing 20 days for each of the MVP stages to be tested by in-house quality assurance teams. In this timeframe, bugs have to be identified, fixed and then tested again. “We cannot exceed the 20-day test period, and so it’s my job to assess and evaluate risks related to delivering a product to production that is not 100% ready,” said Martinelli. “In order to mitigate the risks in this scenario, we have various options, one of which is delivering a version of a product to ING employees first. This way, they can use the new product and feedback whether it works sufficiently from a user’s perspective.”
Following a lengthy process of internal approval, ING Italy will now be implementing a programme of outsourced crowd-testing in early 2018. “As a bank, we are subject to many rules and regulations, and so we had to seek approval from our legal and compliance teams in terms of giving access to our products to external crowd testers," Martinelli explained. "This is the reason why we are not already using crowd testing as a solution, and instead have been releasing products internally to ING employees for testing.”
“Crowd testing will not be a substitute for in-house testing, it will complete it,” added Martinelli. “We know for a fact that in-house testing is not enough.”
Once a vendor has been selected to provide crowd testing, the new loan platform will be tested for functionality by an external community of IT and non-IT professionals. “Feedback will be obtained from many types of users located in various regions of Italy," Martinelli explained. "Internet connections can be tested in a real-life environment and our products will be tested on all kinds of devices and browsers. In-house testing is limited in this way; these things are all emulated and that's like testing in a laboratory. Your product and its functionality in real life are very different.”
Crowd testing is just one new technique Martinelli's team will be rolling out in 2018. Test automation will be used to reduce the number of man-hours spent on regression testing, he said.
ING's job is to empower customers to stay one step ahead in life and business, said Martinelli. “And my role is to make sure this translates into our products. We want to make sure our customers can access and use our digital products as easily as possible. And quality cannot be compromised.”
Marcello Martinelli will be speaking at the QA Financial Forum Milan on January 24, 2018. The event will be hosted in Italian and the agenda can be found at www.events.qa-financial.com. If you are interested in attending, please contact [email protected].