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Architecture as a Service: Reinforce quality and reduce costs with just-in-time engagement of test architects

Architecture as a Service Part 2

Financial services organizations own numerous applications spanning many different technologies that are built both organically and using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products. Introducing new changes can be complicated with these applications, coupled with their legacy systems and their integration with external systems. The thread that connects and orchestrates their synchronicity is the architecture at both the application and enterprise level. Understanding this complexity from an architectural perspective is quintessential to effectively test the changes. The key issues companies often face are how to sufficiently test new changes and how to ensure that existing applications are not negatively affected.

Risk-adverse financial organizations depend on multiple stages of testing from unit to user acceptance testing to uncover defects, which often results in redundancy and can be expensive. This safety net still wouldn’t quantify the residual risk and allow management to make qualitative judgments. On the other hand, the architectural standpoint of the test design yields accurate results while minimizing the stages of testing and optimizing each stage. This is the value that test architects bring to the table, but such architects are scarce and, if found, hard to retain.

The construction, manufacturing and electronics industries traditionally use highly skilled architects to validate their products, but this does not occur as often in the software industry. Although the software industry is aware of this deficiency, the huge demand-supply gap of skilled test architects makes it difficult to find these resources. The need also varies across the project life cycle — skilled test architects are needed 100 percent of the time during the design and construction phase but the need scales down during other phases, making it even more difficult to budget and acquire these resources.

A new model developed by Capco addresses this issue. As a complimentary offering of Architecture as a Service (AaaS)TM, clients now have an alternative to hiring full-time staff test architects, paying for full-time specialized consultants, or simply doing without. Leveraging Capco’s AaaS model into additional areas such as testing allows clients to gain access to a talented pool of test architects with deep and specialized experience in financial services IT. These architects are available on an as-needed basis, fractionally or full time, to support a client’s specific needs.

The key differentiating factor with this offering is that instead of committing to a fixed-time contract for a specific person or skill, clients purchase a block of architectural consulting hours that they can then use as needed. This approach provides access to a broader pool of experienced architects, at billing rates appropriate to their skills, role and experience.

The value of this complimentary offering of Capco’s AaaS is that clients can specify when a test architect is needed and for how long. The AaaS model can yield significant benefits. For example, a pattern-based test design saved one company over a half a million dollars in its testing budget. At another company, a characteristics-based test design minimized scope of testing by nearly 90%; using only 10 percent of the hundreds impacted applications; and a process-based test design reduced test data sets to few hundreds from the order of millions.

Capco’s talented pool of architects with skills ranging from business architecture to test architecture caters to a wide variety of client needs and solutions. By using specialized test architects, companies can plan and execute test designs for complex systems in a more efficient, cost-effective manner while reaping higher-quality results.

How do you address the special application testing needs of your organization? Join the discussion.

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