There's no getting away from regulations in the financial services industry. Therefore, it's perhaps no surprise that new regulations were identified as one of the key drivers of system testing by a survey (PDF) conducted by SunGard Global Services. What is interesting is the type of regulation highlighted as the main focus for system testing.
In fact, apart from the introduction of new services, regulations are the biggest reason for running testing programs, pushing into third place the testing of upgrades or new releases -- traditionally one of the most important jobs of a systems testing professional.
Looking at the results in more detail reveals precisely which regulations are putting extra strain on the the testing organization's job. High profile regulations, such as Basel III, SEPA and Solvency II, scored surprisingly low in the survey. Instead, regulations designed specifically to address issues affecting customers, such as the Consumer Protection Code and Gender Equalization in insurance premiums, came out on top.
This is an interesting reflection of the increased pressure put on financial institutions by governments to protect the consumer. After all, Basel III may be systemically important to the functioning of the entire banking system, but it is the stipulations that impact the public directly -- and can easily understand -- that win or lose votes.
What is certainly encouraging is the fact that by placing such emphasis on ensuring their systems are ready for these regulations, the industry is taking the new rules seriously. Public opinion matters for them too. After all -- and several high profile market abuse (not to mention technology failure) cases are keeping public opinion tilted toward the negative.
Stephen O'Reilly is Quality Assurance & Testing Practice Lead at Sungard Global Services.