Open source tools cheaper than specialist, right? Not always the case…

By Luke Barfield | August 9, 2017 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , ,

When I first started out in testing over 10 years ago, there were few performance test tools around and certainly no open source. Since then, the test tool industry has boomed and open-source tools have become genuine contenders when selecting a tool to carry out performance testing. There is this assumption that a lack of license costs makes open source the cheapest option – but is this really the case? At Certeco, we conduct independent tools evaluation to help clients select the right test tool for them. One thing that has become obvious when we do these tool evaluations is that whilst licencing and maintenance can be costly, it does pay to consider the whole picture before weighing up open source vs specialist. It may surprise you that in some situations, open-source tools are by no means the cheapest option. There are a few common misconceptions about open source and … Read More

Testing in financial services – the big shift left

By Darren Stocks | July 12, 2017 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , , , ,

In the last few years, testing in financial services has most definitely shifted left, as banks advocate earlier and more frequent testing in the software development lifecycle. Why has this happened? The drive to shift testing earlier in the development cycle comes predominantly from the fear of failure – tech failures have dogged big retail banks in the last few years with customers being unable to use ATMs, pay for goods at retail outlets or unable to log in to digital banking for days on end. Much of this has been well documented and fingers have been pointed at problems with legacy systems. But it’s also well known that legacy architecture is immensely costly to replace. The architecture of banks is set to become more complex with the advent of open banking – next year PSD2 regulation comes into effect, meaning banks have to open their customer and transactional data … Read More

PSD2 to usher in new era of “open banking”

By Mohsin Khan | June 8, 2017 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , ,

We can already use an app on our smart phones to check our account balances, grab our morning coffees with a quick, contactless wave of our debit cards, and book an Uber on a night out using Apple Pay and a simple imprint of our index fingers, yet new payment services regulations looming on the horizon promise to make our financial lives even more efficient. Despite Britain being busy negotiating its exit from the European Union having triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March, UK banks and other payment services providers continue to prepare for a Brussels-born financial payment services legislation. Barring any Brexit blowback, the European Union’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is due to be implemented in the UK in January 2018, and has widely been dubbed a ‘game-changer’ for financial services. In an unprecedented move, the new directive will make it a requirement for banks … Read More

Agile & DevOps – are they always the right approach for banks?

By Sam Patience | May 16, 2017 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , , ,

The financial industry has been caught up in a maelstrom of digital advancements in the last few years, and these days you can’t talk about project management or software development without mentioning “digital delivery.” The problem is, that in financial services in particular, everyone seems to have a “one size fits all “approach to digital delivery, which invariably involves agile and DevOps in one form or another. You can understand the logic. Agile development methodologies are proven to be a more efficient, productive way of working than traditional methodologies like waterfall. Plus the continuous delivery element of DevOps is really compelling for financial institutions, particularly in helping to reduce risk. However, the fact remains that agile and DevOps are just not suited to every project and there are certain circumstances where organisations need to steer well clear. For example, if an organisation is going through a big infrastructure change and … Read More

Keeping the lights on in trade surveillance

By Nick Gordon | March 8, 2017 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , ,

Following the deadline for adhering to Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) back in July last year, you couldn’t have blamed European banks for putting a tick in the box, breathing a sigh of relief and turning their attention to the next regulatory hurdle. But they’d be wrong. Once the initial implementation is over with, things don’t just stop there. Surveillance is a 24/7 activity and financial firms continue to evolve and change, as do the regulations. As a result, legal and compliance teams cannot sit back and relax once they have implemented a surveillance system – new requirements constantly emerge and have to be programmed into the everyday running of the business. The introduction of the Senior Managers’ Regime (SMR) in March last year has added a new dimension to business as usual (BAU). It means the threat of conviction amongst the senior team for breaching trade surveillance regulation has grown … Read More

Transforming the Multi Channel Organisation – who’s up for the challenge?

By Anthony O'Hara | January 26, 2017 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Financial firms have not found the transition to multi channel an easy one. The face of banking and insurance has changed beyond all recognition in the last ten years, with the rapid growth of digital channels. And many financial institutions have struggled to keep pace with integrating social media and web channels into their business models. According to research from Eptica, in their study of the ‘multi channel experience,’ banks and insurers, unlike their compadres in retail, lag behind in responding to customers using online and email channels. Providing a high quality customer experience in a multi channel environment doesn’t come easy. A big obstacle to their adaptation to the multi channel environment is the legacy system issue. Due to the acquisitive nature of the industry back in the 80s, 90s and noughties, most financial firms are built on disparate systems and unconnected networks. As a result, organisations have no … Read More

Life post Brexit is uncertain for universities – how can change help them stay competitive?

By Danie Jamieson | December 2, 2016 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , , , ,

Since the day in 2010 when the coalition effectively tripled university fees, higher educational establishments have faced a changing landscape in which they have to try and stay competitive. And in the post Brexit environment, factors such as maintaining the flow of international students’ fees, managing cuts in EU funding and a focus on rationalisation have put pressures on costs. Add to this, meeting the needs of future students and the rapid pace of technological change, and you have a complex set of priorities. Many universities have captured a vision for the future and set it out in a clear strategy. At the most fundamental level this focuses on the student experience and delivering a more sustainable and integrated service for decades to come. Whatever the change programme might be, managing it successfully to become a better organisation is critical. There are no silver bullets, but there are certain steps … Read More

Tech glitch causes Barclays to double charge customers

By Luke Barfield | November 17, 2016 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Barclays suffered a technical glitch recently, when a number of its current account customers were charged twice on debit card transactions. The bank was keen to point out it was working to fix the problem and assured its customers that cash balances of accounts that had been affected by the duplicate charge would be reimbursed. So another day, another banking tech glitch. We see these all the time, right? So what do we think was the reason? And why did Barclays’ customers fall foul of a system error again? Well it seems that Barclays was doing some pre-planned maintenance work to its systems last weekend, in preparation for the end of British Summer Time and turning the clocks back an hour. In addition to having payments deducted twice from their accounts, the technical glitch resulted in customers not being able to access online banking or use their debit cards. The … Read More