An interview with Mohamed Talha — Technical Implementation Manager at Bank du Caire: “In the digital transformation era, testing is not a luxury service for our clients — it is a necessity for providing high-quality services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the EMEA region).”
Performance Lab: First, could you please tell us about Bank du Caire and about the region in general?
Talha: Bank du Caire is considered one of the largest banks in Egypt and the Middle East. Nowadays, the financial sphere is rapidly developing and growing beyond expectations. Due to this, we have to follow the same speed as the whole world to meet all our customers’ business needs. The competition is very tough, and we need to offer many innovative products and services to the market.
Performance Lab: In your opinion, what is the main value of testing in relation to the financial field?
Talha: During the digital transformation era, testing became one of the main aspects of the banking field. It supports the direction of integrating all business systems together. To illustrate, it simply unifies all the different types of testing: performance, function, integration, penetration, stress, and security testing. Our clients understand the significant value of testing to save money, decrease the time taken to perform better, and achieve the best results.
Performance Lab: Do you have the quality assurance (QA) or testing department in your bank?
Talha: Sure, we do. I think an IT department in a large company or financial organization should have its own QA department with appropriate specialists to ensure that all testing and QA measures are professionally applied. It helps to retain clients’ loyalty permanently. Keeping an eye on the quality level is extremely important to maintain and sustain a satisfactory customer relationship.
Performance Lab: What are your major and successful projects concerning QA?
Talha: Among many, I can highlight some of the most important and significant: mobile wallet, interactive voice response (IVR) projects, digital lending for microfinance loans, and services based on the IBM business process management tool.
Performance Lab: Do you agree that QA is a “must” for any successful project?
Talha: Yes, because it is a part of the security included in the customer experience and journey, financial transactions, etc. In other words, business understands it and obligatorily transfers the QA process to all branches and departments inside the organization. Consequently, one can say that when the whole company follows one direction, all this forms future success for clients.
Performance Lab: Throughout your testing projects experience — what kind of testing do you use more often?
Talha: I have been involved in various types of testing, such as performance, function, integration, and security testing. Additionally, the testing depends on our needs, which we align with our strategy. But the above-mentioned types are the main basic ones.
Performance Lab: Based on our strength and interest in performance testing, we would like to know more about your practical tips and hints regarding performance testing.
Talha: We use it in Bank du Caire to ensure business continuity by applying QA measures. To illustrate, digital banking today involves a full range of different services: analytics, bill payments, financial management, etc. Thus, banking applications must smoothly process millions of transactions every hour, so here performance testing is a priority. Performance testing helps to determine the efficiency of any application. It can help to answer key questions related to speed, scalability, and consistency.
Performance Lab: What percentage do you consider as a yearly assigned budget for the testing activities plan?
Talha: Approximately 10% to 15% of the project budget can be applied to ensure product quality. To clarify, we always lead appropriate testing because we realize the importance of this process for future work and increased loads. Due to this, one can say that it is not a luxury to involve such a process, but it is mandatory to realize and sort out any failures and bugs before the kick-off stage.
Performance Lab: How do you consider the outsourcing staff concept versus permanent staff within the organization?
Talha: This is a very significant question. Actually, this depends on an organization’s strategy and project aims. For example, in our current situation, we have more specialists on staff to lead testing. For some fast and specific projects, we would find outsourcing professionals because it will save our time and guarantee that we will proceed with all the processes on time and in the best way.
“Customer satisfaction is the most important value for us in rendering our services.”
Performance Lab: How do you build testing processes quickly and effectively? How close are you to innovations in the digital era? Please share your tips.
Talha: Agile methodology is applied in our company to ensure continuous delivery and customer engagement. In addition, we use machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML & AI) in our chat bots. We follow digitalization trends and understand that it is not just fashion — it saves our money and our clients’ time.
Performance Lab: How has Covid-19 affected your business?
Talha: Our organization started to use many e-channels to facilitate customers’ transactions, including an electronic wallet, IVR, mobile banking, Internet banking, etc. We felt that we were able to adapt to the fast-changing situation at the beginning of the pandemic. We adjusted to reality and supported our clients in the best way.
Performance Lab: What is your forecast plan for 2021?
Talha: We would like to start providing much-needed awareness sessions for SME companies on how applying QA measures for their products is beneficial for the business community. Currently, the whole world is in the digital transformation era.