How to build great apps: A BFSI CIO guide

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Maneesh Jhawar, Founder & CEO, QualityKiosk

Seamless user experience is key to every BFSI company’s mobile app strategy. Achieve your customer service goals by conducting flawless mobile app testing with these best practices.

Smartphones and mobile apps have revolutionised the banking and financial services industry (BFSI). Every bank has a mobile app today. Insurers leverage multiple customer touch-points such as Bancassurance, online, mobile applications and social media. With multiple options, consumers force BFSI companies to improve service quality and delivery speeds across channels—including those via mobile apps.

As customers embrace cloud, social and mobility, their brand experiences are largely digital. Mobile app testing is now an essential part of a BFSI company’s app strategy. A dysfunctional app or poor user experience may have severe business impact. If an online stock trading firm’s mobile app crashes intermittently, it may result in an uninstall. This translates to loss of revenue. Mobile wallets are another example where app performance is directly proportional to earnings potential. A drop in user experience quality may lead to lesser usage and revenue loss.

The mobile app testing process is ridden with several challenges. For your app testing project’s success, consider these factors.

  1. Get experts on board

Besides the demons of requirement gathering, scoping and automation, mobile app testing presents project continuity challenges on the team coordination and talent attrition fronts. Your testing team has to dexterously wade through a complex technology ecosystem—rely on expert professional assistance at this stage.

According to a Quartz Media report, just the Android platform featured 24,000 unique mobile devices in 2014. Accounting for devices running iOS, Blackberry and Windows, the figure crosses 25,000 unique devices today. Brand-specific variants such as Oxygen OS (by OnePlus), OS versions, brands, models, regional flavours, connection types (such as 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE and Wi-Fi) and browsers (like Chrome, Firefox, Safari and UC) add to this complexity. Ensuring that your app testing project helps you deliver improved user experience across devices calls for an experienced team with exposure to  similar projects.

In outsourced arrangements, your partner should possess extensive skillsets (technologies and BFSI domain expertise) as well as core quality assurance expertise. The partner should shoulder full responsibility of testing strategy execution, even as it collaborates with your cross-functional teams.

 

  1. Leave no bug

Mobile app testing’s cardinal rule is that quality is sacrosanct. Various factors including programming fatigue and deadline pressures introduce errors.

Testers should be familiar with the entire codebase. This means man-hours spent with developers to extensively learn the codebase, app logic, product components and functionality. To achieve faultless bug discovery (and fixes), ensure comprehensive app testing. The project should cover all key testing areas—functional, compatibility, usability and performance testing. To eliminate compromises on product quality, the project team (internal or outsourced) must be proficient in all these areas. (See Table: Four essential mobile app testing areas)

Documentation and meticulous upkeep of crash reports are other hygiene factors. While emulators are of great assistance, there’s no substitute for testing on real devices.

Table: Four essential mobile app testing areas

 

  User experience is paramount

The highly competitive financial services market makes it mandatory for BFSI firms to ensure competitive apps. Besides functionality and features, apps must deliver exquisite user experiences.

Your mobile app testing process should begin right at product conceptualization. In outsourced arrangements, the partner should analyse live production data, and create a learning loop back to the development team for development and testing inputs. The basic concept, schematic or screen blueprint, prototype, unreleased versions, marketplace page (app store) and the final version, should be tested (and optimised) well before the Go-Live date. The partner (or in-house testers) should contribute on both sides of the Go-Live event to guarantee seamless digital experiences to customers throughout the app’s lifecycle.

Seamless feedback mechanisms may necessitate cultural reorientation of stakeholders. Testers and developers (in-house or external), internal users, project lead(s) and CXOs must communicate with each other, and collaborate effectively throughout the development lifecycle.

 

  1. Adopt a proactive 3600 approach

To succeed in the digital era, BFSI players need a holistic view of technology, processes, people and policies—with app testing as the hub. Automated tests following a due diligence audit boosts quality assurance velocity.

An app’s first-mover advantage may not last if the owner fails to speedily address in-production issues. Even apps that rapidly cross a million downloads face uninstallation if it remains dysfunctional for a few days. Post-launch issues may be global, local or user-specific. A proactive customer outreach policy supplemented by speedy issue resolution is essential to a BFSI player’s customer service strategy.

Consider the case when a customer fails to complete a NEFT fund transfer. Prompt contact with this customer to assure time-bound resolution (along with a complimentary offer to compensate for the inconvenience) ensures that an otherwise aggrieved customer is now a happy brand advocate.

Even as you strive to optimise testing processes, performance and usability issues are inevitable. Continuous monitoring is essential to spot issues before they reach a tipping point. Remedial steps should be taken without delay. Engaging with a service partner for ongoing app upkeep is recommended to ensure consistent delivery of great user experiences.

Writer’s profile:

Maneesh Jhawar, Founder & CEO, QualityKiosk

Maneesh started QualityKiosk Technologies in the year 2000, after sensing the need-gap in the software testing industry. His constant emphasis and personal commitment towards governance, best-in-class business practices and constant innovation is the foundation that has helped QualityKiosk establish superior credentials with clients consistently.

This article is a personal observation of Maneesh Jhawar, Founder & CEO, QualityKiosk.