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TEKsystems helped with the implementation of a QA and testing program to complete the asset novation and merger integration for a large financial institution. This integration project spanned three continents, 10 site locations, more than 40 systems and over 200 staff members.

With over 30 million customers worldwide, this large international banking and financial services company provides retail, corporate and commercial banking, investment banking, and wealth management services. Over the last decade, the client had acquired several financial firms, including a hedge fund and a large U.S. bank.

Oracle Financials, OBIEE, HP Quality Center, IntelliSuite (IntelliMatch and IntelliTracs), Loan IQ, commercial banking system, OMR, SharePoint, Wall Street Systems, AutoSys, PTA Sungard, Compliance and AML Monitoring: Actimize; Compliance and AML Monitoring: Mantas and Orchestria

After a merger or acquisition, entities need to complete the asset novation process and integrate systems. When the client recently finalized a merger, they faced a series of hurdles and market disruptions that delayed the integration process. In order to achieve the firm’s target operating model, the client assembled a merger integration team. This team identified redundant business lines and processes, which were supported by disparate systems and varying operating models.

Due to the global footprint of the merged entities, the client faced heightened scrutiny from local and international regulators. In response, the client identified the need for a quality assurance (QA) and testing team to enhance the project controls needed to guide the overall integration, reduce program implementation risks and deploy the new IT and business architecture.

TEKsystems would deploy a senior business analyst/project manager to augment and lead the QA and testing team. This leadership role would help confirm the scope of testing and validate the critical success factors for the system integration within the challenging post-merger environment. The QA and testing team would be responsible for the development of key test cases to assess the impact of business process changes on the operations, finance and reporting departments, including:

  • Data feeds from source systems of the acquired entities, as these feeds would now be routed to the parent company’s general ledger, finance, risk and compliance systems 
  • Treasury funding, migrated from ADP’s OMR to Wall Street Systems (WSS)
  • IT infrastructure, in support of HR and compliance monitoring requirements of the newly merged entity

The client’s merger also created a new international banking branch, and the QA and testing team would provide testing on the finance and risk department’s new, integrated reporting platform as well as the branch’s foreign exchange (FX) and fixed income funding capabilities. Additionally, the team would ensure the high-quality implementation of a new process for USD self-clearing and confirm the accuracy of automated reconciliations for source system to general ledger reporting.

Test Process Enhancements
The business analyst would also assist in the development and implementation of the QA testing process, modeled on HP Quality Center, to align the different methodologies used by the legacy organizations and facilitate seamless testing of the new data flows. In addition to the development of test cases, key aspects of the testing program would include:

  • Archival of test results with a full audit trail
  • Documentation of sign-offs from both IT and business stakeholders
  • Confirmation of entry and exit criteria for test phases (SIT, UAT, DRs)
  • Archival of test artifacts to meet heightened audit and regulatory requirements

Specifically, the team would design an extensive testing program consisting of two SIT test cycles, two UAT cycles and two dress rehearsals. To accelerate testing efforts, team members would draft the test cases and refine them through informal review with individual business users and managers. Under the new process, the team would prioritize communication and discussion, enabling any changes in scope or technical issues to be quickly addressed and accommodated.

During the middle of a UAT cycle, the asset novation program was modified to include over-the-counter (OTC) structured products and special purpose vehicles (SPV). Approximately 20 percent of the final project scope had changes due to late-stage business requirements and feedback from regulators, yet these components were critical to complete the integration. The QA and testing team would leverage existing relationships from task and testing reviews, and the team would communicate the importance of testing the changes to business process and impacted IT systems.

The team logged more than 600 defects and assigned severity levels of critical, high, medium or low to each. While the team formally managed the defects in HP Quality Center, they also informally managed them via spreadsheet and continually checked the status for updates, facilitation of solution and closure rates. This focus on communication kept the project from accumulating a time-sensitive backlog of defects and facilitated handling of last-minute issues that could derail project timelines.

The QA and testing program helped the postmerger client implement the parent company’s unified, strategic IT architecture. The client also trained internal staff to leverage the QA and testing team’s repository and test approach for future projects. The business integration was completed over a two-year period and implementations were successful across the lending, structured products and commercial banking departments.