Basler Kantonalbank

How Basler Kantonalbank advanced end-to-end testing across Avaloq
25%
automated test creation growth YoY
12K+
hours of effort saved
53%
increase in risk coverage
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End-to-end test automation with sophisticated test data management

Basler Kantonalbank is a 100+ year old institution providing retail banking for individuals and small to medium businesses in the Swiss region.

Much like other top financial institutions, Basler Kantonalbank relies on technology from Avaloq for core banking activities – such as customer information, transactions, and balance information. In addition, their other critical applications (e.g., mobile banking and fintech microservices) rely on Avaloq to improve operational efficiency.

Basler Kantonalbank wanted to get ahead of the curve by providing more functionality to its customers—faster. The pace of Avaloq releases was increasing at the same time that these applications were becoming more interconnected (with increasingly complex integration layers). They knew more rigorous testing was a critical component to their success. However, their existing manual testing was no longer a viable option to deliver the “quality at speed” they wanted to achieve.

Since Avaloq is a data heavy system, manual testing was a longstanding challenge. 10,000 manual test cases were run annually against Avaloq for its 5 releases per year at Basler Kantonalbank—covering only 42% of the application’s business risk. That was in addition to the rigorous testing required for mobile, e-banking, and adjacent applications needed for each release. To stay a step ahead of the accelerating innovation, they also needed to accelerate testing, which required test automation.

“We focused on the right architecture and slowly building our tests for a nicely maintainable setup. We could have focused on doing many tests instead of doing the right tests and we managed to get most of it right.

Our plan was to automate our core banking system with Tosca and create a base to do further automation in adjacent systems, like mobile and e-banking, due to how integrated these systems have become. Where others in the industry are using one solution for Avaloq and other solutions for parallel systems, we knew it would be more efficient to use one platform that could cover as many of our different applications as possible.

— Aston Anthony, Team Manager for Avaloq at Basler Kantonalbank

Challenges

  • Agile adoption accelerated the pace of innovation
  • Wanted to increase the frequency of Avaloq releases
  • Avaloq was becoming increasingly interconnected with other components (microservices, mobile, etc.), which were all evolving rapidly in parallel
  • 100% manual test process was slow, burdensome, and yielded limited business risk coverage
  • Critical defects escaped manual testing efforts
  • Didn’t want the expense and complexity of different testing tools for every different technology under test
  • Minimal resources available for test maintenance
  • Highly regulated industry with strict data privacy and reporting requirements

We implemented nightly testing on our development stream of Avaloq and enhanced the amount of testing we do per release cycle by automating. We are still enhancing the number of automation tests we will do. We used to do 10,000 manual tests per year. This year, we will do 30,000 automated tests on Avaloq alone, and next year we will enhance that to 50,000 tests.

After looking at what options were successful in the market, Basler Kantonalbank chose Tricentis test automation to increase the speed and efficiency of their end-to-end testing. Tricentis Tosca was chosen for its reputation to automate both data heavy applications, such as Avaloq, as well as a wide variety of other applications commonly used in their banking application stacks (mobile, APIs, microservices, SAP, etc.).

In order to achieve scale quickly for test automation, Infometis—a top IT service provider in Switzerland—was brought in help to design their test automation architecture. Using risk-based testing, they focused on covering their top business risks first, then expanding from there. “Normally, management wants to see a high amount of test case automation very quickly. Our approach was to create a solid foundation with low maintenance that could be managed by a small team for the entire banking system,” explained Serge Wolf, Co-CEO of Infometis AG.

In just 24 months, Basler Kantonalbank has tripled the number of test cases they run each year with Tricentis test automation and a goal of reaching 50,000 test cases run for Avaloq alone in the next year. In addition, their newly-achieved speed in testing has enabled them to increase the number of Avaloq releases each year by 15% (and growing).

The process of building automation with Tricentis Tosca has ensured each nightly run of test automation can be thoroughly analyzed, catching critical defects early and dramatically increasing efficiencies. This process, combined with exploratory testing done in Tosca, has virtually eliminated production defects over the past two years.

Outcomes:

  • 50-60% decrease in manual testing across IT
  • 15% increase in Avaloq releases per year
  • Synthetic test data is quickly and easily generated and available for testing
  • 30,000+ automated tests run against Avaloq per year and growing
  • Risk-based testing aligns testing with business priorities
  • Virtually zero defects reaching production
  • Synthetic test data generated for Avoloq and adjacent technologies

Our plan was to automate our core banking system with Tosca. An important component of our tests is the synthetic test data we generate. We have a core banking system, as well as integration layers to other systems and [third-party] fintech microservices. Over the chain of different applications, all of them need synthetic test data in Avaloq. We have been able to stage efficient test data generation which is consistent over the layers for the various systems of test, including e-banking and ATM testing.

Test data management quickly emerged as the unexpected hero along their path to success. Once they started introducing test automation, they recognized that they had to master test data management before they could configure automated execution of their critical scenarios. There were two core challenges. First, they had to create the range of GDPR-compliant test data needed to execute realistic banking transactions. This involved, for example, creating complex banking customers with realistic account histories. Second, they had to inject the data and manage it across Avaloq, integration layers, connected microservices, and so forth.

Under Infometis’ expert guidance and best-in-class Tosca plugins, they quickly overcame this challenge—generating and managing stateful test data throughout complex end-to-end transactions that spanned multiple technologies. Infometis’ TAMI plugin simplifies data management for Avaloq, preconfiguring Tosca to create Avaloq objects like business partner or money accounts. TAMI works hand-in-hand with Infometis’ TACC Tosca plugin, which simplifies and streamlines Avaloq test automation with a best-in-class module generator. With this solution, Basler Kantonalbank is synthetically generating and automatically managing the data needed to drive their sophisticated end-to-end tests.

The organization is continuing to focus on more agile development practices. The move to automation has significantly shortened time to market, a focus of the stakeholders in the business. With so many interconnected systems, testing is considered a necessity. The amount of testing performed per release cycle and the efficiency they gain in providing quality releases has seen a steady uptick thanks to the benefit of test automation.