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Upgrading Financial Services with an Effective SDLC

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Nafees Ahmed, CIO, IndiabullsIn today's cut throat competitive world, technology is the only differentiator, which can keep you ahead of your competition. Every organization is working on digital transformation roadmap, which is a huge opportunity for IT vendors to provide solutions in back office automations, enhanced customer experience, converting traditional branches into digital virtual branches, productivity improvement, seamless integration with external agencies and automated risk and fraud deduction control systems.

For many years stock exchanges were physical locations where buyers and sellers met and negotiated. Exchange trading would typically happen on the floor of an exchange, where traders would shout and gesticulate at one another. With the improvement in communications technology in the late 20th century, the need for a physical location became less important and traders started to transact from remote locations in what became known as electronic trading. Electronic trading made transactions easier to complete, monitor, clear, and settle and this helped spur on its development.

The Electronic Trading Processes has increased the market efficiency by reducing the transaction costs, providing greater liquidity in the system, tighter spreads and increased transparency in the system. While electronic trading hasn't necessarily lowered the cost of entry to the financial services industry, it has removed barriers within the industry and had a globalization-style competition effect.

IT played a vital role in taking trading to the masses by introducing Online Trading system through which the stock market reached globally where earlier the floor trading could not. For retail investors, financial services on the web and mobile offer great benefits. The primary benefit is the reduced cost of transactions for all concerned as well as the ease and the convenience. Web-driven
financial transactions bypass traditional hurdles such as logistics.

Still there are certain ongoing challenges that brokerage services companies are experiencing on continuous basis:

• Shrinking registered shareholder base and low participation of Retail investor
• Rising demand for consolidated account data and investment services
• Ever rising need for Speed and convenience• Intensified competition
• Regulatory Changes Technology is being used as a key driver to tackle some of these challenges:
• Increased Digital visibility ­ Companies are using various modes & sources to increase visibility for the end client through Digital Media
• Expertise & Research ­ Research team are being further equipped with technical tools to provide a more elaborated and strong analysis of the markets & stocks
• Investment products under one roof through a single platform ­ For better customer services and business growth, brokerage houses are working towards bringing in other investments products like Mutual Fund, OFS, IPO and many others.
• Stepping up Investor Awareness Programs ­ Markets are evolving at a high rate and the change or addition in user requirement is a perpetual behavior. User requirements consist of both functional and non-functional requirements and they usually share immediate requirements and do not foresee all impacted areas. So whatsoever SDLC model is adopted for development, handling of changes in requirements becomes most critical aspect of software development. Every SDLC model has its advantage and disadvantages, but there are few parameters, which should be kept in mind during software development to ensure a quality and timely delivery like scalability, configurability, maintainability, reusability of components and portability and others.

Testing has a significant part in SDLC as quality of the software development completely depends upon how the testing is performed throughout the SDLC. It is better to start testing phase and preparation of test documents from start of the requirement phase, which help in bridging gap in requirement analysis and provide more clear business case.

Since now the Cloud-based testing tools have taken the software development industry by storm, offering advantages such as mobility, scalability, flexibility and availability of distributed testing environment reduces the execution time of large applications and lead to cost effective solutions, but choosing the right tool is foremost important.

Though the cloud offers-up many benefits, it's not without its risks and challenges. One of the biggest issues with moving any of your organization infrastructures to the cloud is the increased need for security. You will also have to be aware of any interoperability the application under test will require and whether or not that might ex-pose additional security vulnerabilities. Using Testing as a Service on cloud might be an approach to be used for a specialized type of test, such as performance, mobility or security testing.