Leadership Insight: Experis on empowering the QA workforce
Software development teams within financial services recognize that to keep pace with technological advances they need to equip their staff with the right technical skills.
In the age of automation and DevOps, signing up to a long-term agreement with a multi-billion-dollar software integrator, whose tactic has historically been to overstaff a project, is no longer holding up as the standout solution that it once was.
Experis, a global professional services, and workforce solutions company, with offices in 84 locations, is much more than a professional resources organization, explained Meneta Bodurtha, Practice Director, Global Testing Services at Experis. As well as building test teams and providing quality assurance services, the company works with its clients to integrate testing into the software development process.
“Our financial clients recognize that they need to take more control of their QA, particularly when it comes to security and the handling of data. No one wants any negative press,” said Bodurtha. “Financial services are committing to partnerships with companies like Experis because of the knowledge that we can share. If they had a QA team that has been in place for many years, for example, sometimes they need some fresh ideas,” she added.
Experis is a division of American multinational corporation ManpowerGroup, a global giant in workforce solutions with annual revenues of $21 billion. “ManpowerGroup has been around since the 1960s. It’s great to have such legacy and heritage behind us as we provide professional services and workforce solutions. Its reassuring to our clients and prospective clients to have the financial wherewithal that comes with being part of a publicly traded, global organization,” added Steve Feest, a Managing Director at Experis who leads the company’s IT service offerings for the Chicago market.
In this interview, Bodurtha and Feest tell QA Financial about introducing automation into the software delivery pipeline with clients in highly-regulated industries like financial services and discuss the challenges of standing out from other multi-billion-dollar software integrators.
Q. Who are Experis’ financial services customers?
MB The financial services sector has always been one of Experis’ main verticals; we have a significant presence there.
Our customers include large financial services companies, banks, and credit unions. We often provide maturity evaluations, automation tool evaluations, and proof-of-value implementations as well as ongoing advisory work to support client teams adapting to new technology and processes.
Q. How does the financial services sector compare in terms of growth potential for Experis?
SF Experis has worked with 16 of the top 20 largest banking institutions each year since 2009 as well as hundreds of regional institutions including wealth management firms, regional banks, financial payment firms and Fintech related clients. We see a great deal of opportunity in the financial services space, whether it is working with clients on strategy or providing managed services. Security and compliance needs, as well as advances in automation and the shift to digital, are creating enormous demand within the industry. We are also being approached to reskill or upskill customers’ entire QA workforces. We recognize that finding the appropriate skills to fulfill roles is a big challenge our clients face today.
MB Right now, as well as keeping an eye on industry trends, we are looking at our services and listening to what our customers are saying. We are constantly refreshing our services based on feedback and recent changes in the industry. We are very good at understanding our customers’ pain points and tailoring our QA and testing solutions to deliver maximum client value.
Q. What trends are you noticing among your financial services customers when it comes to testing and application delivery?
MB There is a lot of hype in the industry around applying automation to the software delivery pipeline. Clients are not just focused on automating functional testing anymore; they’re looking at unit testing and integration testing. That’s where most people want to be. Every client is different, but testing used to be this monolithic thing, and now it is contextual. It is all about a client’s particular situation and how much of a risk they are willing to take. What we see when it comes to QA solutions is that not one size fits all.
I see analytics used a lot in QA too. Intelligent solutions are now brought in to tell teams what to test and what is important from a customer experience standpoint. Organizations are utilizing predictive analytics as well, where they can pinpoint problem areas just by analyzing historical data.
There has also been an increase in the use of open source solutions by development teams in financial services. Our stance at Experis is that we are tool neutral and will follow a client’s lead when it comes to the tool. If they want to use a particular tool which they have invested in, we will support that. Many of our clients use Atlassian’s JIRA and that suite of tools. But I think there’s still a presence for Microsoft testing tools, as well as LoadRunner and others.
SF I mentioned earlier that there is a scarcity of certain skillsets. For example, automation engineers can be hard to find particularly in the US, whether that’s because they are not importing talent anymore or the aging of the workforce. Experis has invested in making sure we have the models to upskill or reskill QA teams.
The pressure is on for software teams to deliver their products much faster and at a higher quality. They are also being held accountable. Increasingly, financial services clients are turning to us to build reporting and dashboarding so that they can show their leaders that their quality and test processes are effective.
Q. What challenges do you face as a company?
MB Experis is sometimes seen solely as a technology staffing resource, rather than solutions provider. Our capabilities extend far beyond the staffing arena alone since we promote integrated continuous quality practices from the start of development. This approach enables more innovative, progressive, and iterative methods such as predictive analysis, behavioral-driven development (BDD), and exploratory testing. Key performance indicators are established to track quality issues before coding begins. It increases the speed of development and reduces the number and severity of defects reaching production while yielding higher end-user satisfaction. We have modeled our services in a way to ensure that we can work closely with clients in delivering QA and testing projects, and then continue our engagement in an advisory role.
Q. Who are Experis’ competitors, and what is your edge?
MB Often, we find ourselves competing against large integrators like Cognizant and Accenture. We also compete against more pure play testing companies as well.
We pride ourselves on the flexibility of our solutions and the fact that we are tool neutral.
SF Flexibility and scalability – this is where our edge lies. If you look at some of the larger competitors in the space, they are there to provide outcome-based capabilities or managed services. There are not many partners like Experis that can help develop a strategy, like an automation strategy, and then transfer that knowledge directly to the customer.
From a workforce standpoint, many of our competitors in this space, will require that their teams stay in full-time deployment for their client as part of a long-term agreement. What we continue to find, at least with our financial services clients in the US, is that they do not want one partner to bear all this responsibility or risk. They want short-term agreements that deliver technical knowledge in-house.
Q. What does the future hold for Experis?
MB In the short term, we are refreshing all of our offerings, so there will be some revitalized collateral in software engineering, Agile, DevOps, and continuous testing. In the long term, we will continue to invest in our ability to offer our services backed by our depth of expertise as well as providing an excellent customer experience that makes us the partner to our clients.
SF Collectively, our goal is to continue to grow the client portfolio and company revenue. This growth could mean growing organically via investments in new services or through other acquisitions. It is one of the most exciting times to be involved in serving the financial services industry, and Experis is well poised to be a premier partner of choice.