Ostia Solutions Blog

Most financial services organizations are in the process of implementing support for the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) from the EU mandating that they provide APIs accessing their data and services to various types of organizations. Many are addressing this by implementing some nature of API Gateway such as those from IBM Connect, Apigee, Mulesoft, Fiorano etc. but is this sufficient?

The standard configuration being used is represented very much like the following:

ost psd2 api gateway 001

But this raises the following issues:

  • On
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Testing has always been a critical part of the development lifecycle but never before has it become so critical due to the pressure of delivering high quality software and avoiding a roasting on social media when applications go wrong. Organizations are spending more time and money on testing than ever before, however, are they actually covering everything in their tests?

In our experience we have seen organizations running hundreds, thousand or even tens of thousands of tests, however, often many

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Many large organizations today have expensive back office IT infrastructures that are difficult to replicate and thus are a scarce resource. As with all scarce resources, they are valuable and thus each usage of that infrastructure incurs a cost which can have a significant impact on testing cycles within organizations.

Back office IT infrastructure is made up of a number of different and significant costs:

  • The hardware itself can cost six and even seven figure sums to provision.
  • The software
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The new Payment Services Directive II (“PSD 2”) deadlines are getting closer and thus there is a focus from banks to ensure they can be compliant when the axe falls in January 2018 when all financial services institutions should be compliant. While almost a year away, complying with the legislation is not technically simple so much work needs to be done.

The first key components that must be made available are APIs to enable Account Integration Service Providers (AISPs) and

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Offshore development and/or testing of applications is now used by the vast majority of large organizations to reduce costs and to leverage the skillsets of valuable off shore resources. This will normally require that the offshore organization has some access to back office applications and data if sufficient testing is going to take place for any given project.

This presents a challenge when dealing with data regulation and data governance issues particularly with the advent of the EU GDPR regulations.

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Agile Testing Sandboxes and Innovation

Encouraging innovation is a cornerstone of all organizations that are seeking to take part in the digital economy. Innovation brings new ideas to the table which in turn result in new processes which are supported by new or improved applications running on tablet, smart phone or other delivery channels. These innovations have the potential to save organizations large sums of money while improving their processes and leading to better customer experiences and outcomes.

These new applications must, by definition, interface

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Agile development teams often share test environments which is nominally a cost effective solution as test environments are, by their nature, quite expensive to provision. But is this really the most cost and time effective way to provide capability to your testers? Let’s tell a short story here…

How often has a developer run a final test before leaving for the evening to ensure all is well:



A colleague or colleagues check in some change to the test environment

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In the age of agile development, speed and quality of delivery is one of the main business drivers. Agile techniques and processes work well, however, how often do you have agile teams waiting on other agile teams to deliver? How often have they had to use poorly implemented stubs to continue their development efforts?

ost agile team med 01

An Agile Testing Sandbox simulates an environment upon which an application is dependent but runs independent of the real environment on Cloud, Docker or commodity hardware

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Payments systems by their nature are incredibly complex and expensive to create. Thus when trying to test new payments applications, accessing one of these testing environments is essential to build out new and extend existing payments applications. As more and more small, medium and large organizations are now using these systems, getting access to such an environment is proving increasingly difficult whilst also presenting an issue around data compliance due to sharing of environments.

Agile Testing Sandboxes provide the ideal

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The concept of ‘shifting left’ in the development lifecycle has evolved out of necessity as more frequent and public delivery of applications has required an exponential increase in how much testing must be done, how often it is done and how comprehensive the testing is. In the past, testing was seen to be a final step in the development process before release to the user acceptance environments. This had inherent problems due to the fact that development almost always took

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 Over the last few years, a number of disruptive technologies have developed that threaten companies by changing their supply chains. The prime focus of the introduction of Blockchain technology is to change Financial Services, but this technology will also have an impact on health systems and most production supply chains. The drive around Blockchain (aka Distributed or Shared Ledger) today, and much of the discussion, is on the technical aspects: the development of ‘standard’ integrated services that support a series

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Organizations are now, to some degree, aiming to move to an agile development methodology as it offers many benefits including faster delivery and better quality releases of functionality that customers want thus leading to better satrisfied and more loyal customers. Whilst modern development technologies and tools lend themselves to the concepts of agile development including the process of continuous integration, there is still a major bottleneck caused by requirements to access complex back office environments.

People often blame legacy for

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Agile Testing Sandboxes help Financial Institutions in addressing the requirement of the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2)

The Payment Services Directive 2 (Directive 2007/64/EC), perhaps better known as PSD2, was adopted by the European Parliament and Council and is set to impact the payments industry across Europe. PSD2 seeks to:

  • Further standardise and make interoperable card, internet and mobile payments
  • Reduce barriers to entry, in particular for card and internet payments.

The main scope of PSD2 is to encourage new

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According to Wikipedia: “The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) is a Regulation by which the European Commission intends to strengthen and unify data protection for individuals within the European Union (EU). It also addresses export of personal data outside the EU. The Commission's primary objectives of the GDPR are to give citizens back the control of their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU.”

What this

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Agile Testing Sandboxes

What are they and why are they useful?

Many of us are familiar with the term ‘sandbox’ from our childhoods. A sandbox was a safe, isolated environment where children could play without fear of hurting themselves or damaging anything else in the process. So where does this concept fit into the world of Agile Testing?

The concept of Agile Development has been around for some years now and combines concepts such as speed of delivery, testing while developing, validation of

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ost blog pbank

Since the banking collapse of 2008 and the banks reputation taking a severe mauling new players have emerged onto the market that have gathered a lot of "customer fans", these customers now share their recommendations of their new bank.

This "new wave" are now more willing to share their details with their chosen bank as they feel they will get a lot in return from their new providers.

Traditional banks are slow to respond to these and other challenges because

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ostia blog main image: butterfly made from bank note

Following the completion of the Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab in Dublin 2016 we have a look at what is happening in Fintech from 5 different perspectives.

1. According to Citigroup approximately $19 Billion was invested into the fintech sector over the last year up from $1.8 Billion in 2011. Interesting to note that Stockholm based companies received 18 percent of all investments in fintech companies across Europe in 2014, and a recent Europe-wide fintech study by Tech.eu showed that Sweden

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Starting from a brief conversation in early November, we decided to test some new messaging we had been developing by entering into the competition to participate in the Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab Dublin 2016. We were very pleased with our entry as we were very easily able to complete all questions on the form; something which we would have found difficult in the past.

We were extremely pleased to get an email to tell us we had been selected for

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OstBlog digitalBank

Global investment in fintech ventures tripled to $12.21 bn in 2014 from $4.05 bn in 2013

In recent research that Accenture carried out they looked at how digital disruption has the potential to reduce the role and relevance of todays banking model and on the flip side the ability to enable it to be an essential service for all.

With their research, carried out in the Financial services industry and beyond, they came to the conclusion that there are three

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