With offices around the world and a team of more than 100 experts, the CRIF Test Factory is a center of excellence for software testing, providing global coverage and specialist expertise to meet customer needs in 50 countries.
Quality is very important to CRIF, and for this reason the company has developed a Test Factory within its Global Technologies unit, the CRIF competence center and IT division responsible for technology. Located in several offices around the world, including in Italy, Slovakia, Germany and India, the CRIF Test Factory has been operating for a number of years and employs over 100 testing professionals. “The decision to develop a Test Factory as part of CRIF Global Technologies was based on several strategic considerations,” explained Giuseppina Mancini, Global Process Engineering ＆ Quality Director at CRIF. “Our clients are mainly from the business sector (more than 10,500 banks and financial institutions, 600 insurance companies and 82,000 businesses use CRIF services worldwide), with very high expectations regarding the quality of what is released. In terms of the consumer segment, where we have over a million users, we are developing mobile-friendly apps, as it is very easy for an app customer to decide to switch the first time the app goes wrong. The markets CRIF operates in are highly regulated with a specific focus on information security and the quality of what is produced. We believe that effective testing should be conducted by specialist testers, as specific methods and techniques are required, which form an integral part of the training of a professional tester. As well as technical expertise, it is also essential that testing staff have an eye for detail and a significant interest in the business context in which the user operates.”
INDIA - HOME TO THE LARGEST TEST SITE
“The methodologies, processes and tools used by our Test Factory are the same in all locations to ensure consistent results,” commented Mancini. “The largest test site in terms of number of people is in India, supporting both projects developed in Asia and projects relating to all the other countries in which CRIF is present today, more than 40 at a global level. The testers at the other sites specialize in projects that require linguistic and business knowledge linked to the specific local context.”
The CRIF Test Factory manages testing by defining strategies using a risk-based approach to properly balance the effort and desired results. The risk-based approach, based on the assessment of the impact and probability of defects, allows testing efforts to be intensified on the most important features and on the parts where bugs are most likely to be concealed.
QUALITY AT ALL STAGES
“Strategy definition,” explained Mancini, “includes the identification of the types of tests the application must undergo: manual testing, automated testing, performance and stress testing, security testing and crowd testing. Our test factory uses state-of-the-art tools for test case definition, bug reporting, test automation and performance testing.” In addition, careful monitoring of the results of the Test Factory activities is carried out through the collection of KPIs, which are compared with company-defined quality thresholds.
“At CRIF,” continued Mancini, “we have long been aware that to reach the quality levels required by clients, it is important to create software with quality in mind at all stages, not just in the test phase. For this reason, the CRIF Test Factory is part of the Global Process Engineering & Quality Area, which is responsible for defining the processes and tools adopted by CRIF Global Technologies for the implementation and management of applications.
Software quality in CRIF is addressed using a shift-left approach, going from the implementation of agile development processes, to the definition and collection of user stories and requirements, to the creation of quality code (covered by unit testing and regularly monitored), up to the definition of testing strategies and their execution. Security tests are also carried out both by the Test Factory, performing the tests defined in collaboration with the Cybersecurity team, and by the Cybersecurity team itself, using automated code security verification tools and penetration testing.”
BEST PRACTICES IN OPEN BANKING
One success story involving the Test Factory concerns the CRIF Personal & Business Financial Management solutions. “We’re talking about advanced tools offered via digital channels that leverage open banking to build an engaging and active relationship with retail and small business clients,” commented Mancini. “The aim is to ensure simple and easy-to-use features that facilitate financial management. In this project, the approach to software quality, adopted from the design stage, is multidisciplinary and includes manual testing, automated testing and performance testing cycles. This “quality by design” approach applies to both the turnkey mobile application and the API kit through which banks can develop or extend the features of their apps. The Digital Business Financial Management solution for SMEs, YouPlan Business, which we developed together with Banco BPM, was recognized by the ABI in the prestigious Innovation in Banking Services 2023 category.”
CLIENT REQUIREMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS
The CRIF Test Factory also works with Strands, the group’s FinTech company that has developed more than 700 implementations of the Personal & Business Financial Management solution worldwide.
The entire testing activity is carried out in close coordination with the business team to ensure that the test cases are adequately defined and designed to cover all end-user requirements and expectations.
The business team provides valuable feedback during the test case review and approval process, ensuring that project requirements are always aligned with the strategy for testing them. “Our Test Factory,” concluded Giuseppina Mancini, “is also involved in sharing good practices with the Italian and international testing community, presenting its work at conferences. Last year, at the Italian Software Testing Forum (STF), experts from the CRIF Test Factory gave two presentations, one focused on the tools used and the other on the benefits of crowd testing. At CRIF, the Test Factory is a strategic component in ensuring software quality, reducing risks and meeting client needs. Using a risk-based approach, collaboration with the business team and the use of robust methodologies, state-of-the-art tools and specialist staff, the Test Factory ensures that the software developed by CRIF is reliable, compliant with requirements and able to provide an optimal user experience.”