Elabor8 helps bancassurance client develop a new testing framework

20 April 2022 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read

As part of its multi-year digital strategy, a large bancassurance institution in Australia teamed up with consultants from Elabor8 to develop a new enterprise test automation platform.

With large regulatory initiatives, consumer behaviour undergoing rapid change, and a rapidly evolving digital market, the enterprise’s strategy was to enable an economy of speed, allowing for rapid innovation, streamlined delivery, and faster go to markets. Underpinning the success was the development of a modern testing strategy centred around automation.

As part of this digital uplift, the company aimed to modernise its online customer portals, consolidating their products and services onto a single application, driving a greater customer experience, and enhancing growth opportunities.

Craig Harvey, Head of Automation, Elabor8

However, with a highly siloed environment, and significant manual testing processes in place, the scope of testing quickly ballooned. “Teams would operate in isolation, so every time they wanted to increase the scope of testing, they would either duplicate effort in building a bespoke automation framework, or add more testers to run these test suites manually,” recalled Craig Harvey, Elabor8’s Head of Automation who was leading the project.

“They were constantly on the lookout for additional testers and soon it became a risk to the organisation.”

Not much later, the bancassurance company realised that this model was not sustainable. This is when Elabor8 entered the fold. “We helped them reshape their thinking to one of value,” said Craig. “Automation can bring a lot of value to an organisation, but it’s about having the right testing strategy in place to ensure the automation activities were yielding good returns.”

“We partnered with them over the course of two years, to co-design and implement a testing strategy and automation framework that would work for them” added Craig. “We started out small, working on an infrastructure migration piece to experiment and validate ideas, whilst learning the culture of the organisation. This was critical to the next phase where we scaled horizontally across the organisation.”

“We worked with teams to build capability through a test driven approach, while still continuously learning, experimenting and validating; and feeding back these ideas into the evolution of the automation framework. It was this embedded growth process that really made the whole thing succeed.”

“Learning the culture early on enabled us to take a systematic approach, where we could look at everything from ways of working, to technology and existing capability. We even looked at how teams broke the rules to complete their work – we called it ‘blackmarket engineering’, where teams would circumnavigate complex red tape enabling them to deliver.”

“Obviously, this is not healthy behaviour, but it allowed us to view the true flow of the organisation as it stood.”

But it was from that behaviour that enabled a true digital enhancer. “We started looking at how to remove the tape. We started sharing code, to the point where we could upload code libraries to a repository for other areas to consume – basically an internal github. We also started to build self-service portals to platforms, allowing teams to own their own development journey.”

This formalised version of the blackmarket engineering practices energised the teams, and this constantly raised the bar across all the delivery teams. “We found code reuse went through the roof, and in turn, code quality increased, which was extremely refreshing to see.”

Reaping the benefits

Fast forward to today, and the bancassurance company can deliver changes quickly, knowing in full confidence of the high quality level. Craig: “They have a modern and adaptive testing capability, consisting of an enterprise automation framework focussed on customer experience and providing business assurance, with delivery teams having the freedom to shape their individual testing needs based on value and context of the deliverable.”

“This is all wrapped nicely in a lightweight governance layer designed to enable teams, not restrict.”

Several benefits are being reaped in the process. Apart from the labour cost savings due to the greater focus on automation, and the faster delivery times with greater engineering capabilities, “we are also seeing an improved customer experience from the higher quality deliverables, and there’s greater confidence across the entire organisation in the delivery process.”

“Not forgetting the benefit of being able to develop the APIs and the test suites in parallel for shared learning between developers and testers,” concluded Craig.