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Payment Horizons

September 8, 2016

Testing in a Dynamic, Demanding Payments Environment


New payment instruments, increasing transaction volumes, consolidation, restructuring, mandates and system migrations are just some of the pressures facing payment operations worldwide. The globalization of software development, the presence of legacy systems and the introduction of a variety of IT system strategies complicate things further for such operations. These conditions create an increasing need for complex testing scenarios to ensure that payment systems can serve the businesses and consumers that depend on them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

There are many challenges to testing in such dynamic environments. There may be disparate systems involved. Special tools may be required for automating the testing process. Timelines may be compressed. There may be a need for new skill sets and subject matter expertise. It may be difficult to identify internal resources to support the testing requirements when they arise. If you are the world’s largest payments network, these challenges are multiplied many times over.

Testing Real Time, Real World Conditions

For example, this payment network’s authorization system is like no other in terms of the transaction volumes and values it accommodates daily. For the testing of the real time processing applications that support this authorization system to be effective, it must simulate peak production loads and response requirements for a full range of payment services.

In addition, with a global operational footprint that delivers digital currency to more than 200 countries and territories, testing across the geographically dispersed groups that compose this payments network must be done in a fashion that reduces costs, enhances productivity and improves efficiencies. Key to achieving these goals is the access to and availability of resources with a strong base of experience in payments and niche skills in high performance hardware and software applications.

The Flexibility and Power of Managed Services Built on Industry Expertise

To provide an effective foundation for addressing this increasingly complex payments environment and gain the most flexibility for addressing the real time, real world conditions they faced, this network chose a managed services approach to testing. However, for this solution to deliver on its promises, the network needed a partner with expertise in the payments industry and a comprehensive understanding of the client’s overall technology infrastructure including applications, interfaces and hardware platforms.

RS Software’s two decades of service to the payments industry, combined with its proven methodologies and complete set of services, distinguished it as the choice for the solution needed in this case. The customer’s requirements were approached in a comprehensive fashion starting with a determination of the best testing strategies for its particular business needs. Critical business areas and priorities were identified, then matched with subject matter experts from RS Software who were involved from the onset of the effort. These subject matter experts then established the processes needed to ensure the testing services met all the necessary compliance and certification requirements.

Fifty Percent Reduction in Four Years

The managed service solution delivered by RS Software optimized the test environments for the world’s largest payments network across a multi-vendor, heterogeneous application landscape. A combination of domain and technology skills was deployed to meet the client’s needs for zTPF platform experts and Assembler/C++ developers. A variety of tools such as ITSM, TPF and Rational Software Architect was utilized to enhance productivity. In addition, RS Software created more than 30 tools for automating the testing process in a variety of languages (e.g., VC/VC++, REXX, S/390 assembly).

The business benefits for the network included an increase in productivity with a reduction in effort by almost 50% over four years through the use of standard and customized testing tools. In addition, an implementation of knowledge management and transfer practices ensured the availability of the necessary resources required whenever and wherever they were needed. Lastly, a long term testing strategy and implementation plan was established that included emerging payment types such as mobile payments, contactless transactions and mobile money transfers positioned.