Barclays has deployed an end-to-end automated testing solution from Level Four and Ascert to support the biggest ATM refresh project by a UK bank in over a decade. The bank is moving away from proprietary ATM software and migrating more than 3,000 ATMs to an open standards environment, implementing Windows and packaged software such as Base24 and ProCash.
The Barclays ATM refresh project includes simultaneous upgrades of operating system, application, networking, encryption and monitoring components, making it a true "big bang" approach on a scale previously unseen in the UK.
The project is also unique in the extent of its collaboration between the bank and its technology partners, Level Four and Ascert. Together, they have developed an advanced strategy for the rapid testing of the entire end-to-end transaction process, taking automated ATM testing to a completely new level. The testing environment went into pilot stage in September 2008.
To cope with this complex environment, Barclays has implemented BRIDGE:test from Level Four to automate the testing of the entire ATM stack and VersaTest from Ascert for message and host testing.
With mixed hardware and software across most ATM networks, any changes to this channel is traditionally very time consuming to test correctly. With its new ATM test environment, Barclays has quadrupled its test coverage. Under the previous manual process, the bank took at least 23 man days to execute 800 test scripts, typically over a three month period. As well as taking too long to be viable, this process did not address ATM hardware issues which could result in ATM downtime. Barclays has now expanded its coverage to include 4,000 test scripts, which it can test in just 48 hours using virtual ATMs and simulated external systems, enabling it to significantly reduce the time to market for new products.
Finextra verdict: This kind of behind-the-scenes work, as well as being innovative in its scale and approach, will make it much easier for the bank to deliver new services via the ATM channel and be seen as innovative by its customers.