Homestar Financial Corporation IT Team accelerates delivery

Background:

The client in this case study is a rapid growing financial services business focused on delivering an end to end digital solution for the mortgage industry.

 CelticQA Solutions has been a partner with Homestar Financial (the client) for three years, providing strategic and tactical Adaptive Risk Management (ARM) QA services and guidance. 

Homestar Financial has experienced an increase in demand for their product during Covid-19.  Their commitment to QA excellence resulted in an 87.5% reduction in regression testing time allowing them to allocate time and resources to higher value activities.

Homestar Financial has three main applications that CelticQA are leading the validation efforts on:

  • Customer Portal
  • Salesforce
  • Encompass

The Customer Portal is used by borrowers to create an account and open an application for a new mortgage. As a customer facing web application it needs to be intuitive and easy to use. It also has to follow a logical path to allow customers of any technical background to use it with ease.

Salesforce is used by the Loan officers to manage and process new opportunities and leads. This is also a web application that is linked with Encompass. It is essentially what allows the Loan officer to keep track of their applications.

Encompass is used by the majority of financial organizations in the US. It is used by loan officers to manage every stage of the loan application. Ellie Mae’s Encompass is a legacy desktop thick client application and it manages loan pricing, document requests, appraisals (valuations), and issuing of the loans.

With constant maintenance releases and upgrades to the related systems CelticQA collaborates with the Homestar team to ensure all new functionality is validated; all integrations are working as desired; and adequate regression testing is conducted to make sure none of the older functionality is adversely affected by any new functionality.

When we first engaged with Homestar our job was to ensure that the application worked functionally.  In addition, it needed a high degree of usability to ensure customers could navigate through the system and complete tasks that were required for a successful submission. 

We worked with Homestar’s development team to improve their unit testing process by introducing automated smoke testing. The automated smoke tests allow the development team to run the automated smoke tests before deploying to QA for the next level of validation. We receive weekly releases for the applications under test (AUT).  The time required for QA validations has now been reduced to hours as opposed to days.

For each release, the regression testing was taking on average 2 days for each platform.  This was projected to increase for each release as more functionality was added to the system.  Regression testing had become a boring and repetitive process for key client subject matter experts (SMEs). We worked with our client to develop an automation roadmap that allows client SMEs to remove themselves from having to spend a lot of time on executing manual regression tests and focus their efforts on other tasks other than regression testing.

CelticQA took Homestar through the following stages while developing an appropriate automation roadmap:

Planning:

We first identified the core business test cases that we needed to cover in the regression suite. These are business critical key processes used for every application. These tests became the smoke tests needed for the applications under test.

Once we understood the goals of our automated smoke tests, we had to decide what tools to use for automation. We have used many licensed and open source automation frameworks for other clients and were able to conduct a POC of suitable solutions weighing up the pros and cons of the best solution for this client.

Implementation:

After conducting the POC and careful consideration with the Homestar project team, Ranorex was selected as the best tool for this client. Its intuitive UI and all-around performance made it the ideal tool for working with Homestar’s systems. Ranorex’s easy-to-use features allows for a quick capture of application elements reducing the total scripting time for each test. Database validation and Cross browser testing can also be included in the test scenarios with minimal effort.

Homestar has many different scenarios based on complex business rules. Using Ranorex, we created small reusable modules that interact with the functionality of the applications under test. This allows the automation engineers to create more tests reusing already available modules.

As a result of automating the smoke and regression test suites for the applications under test it allows us to save more than 50 hours for each test run. The regression tests are setup to automatically run every day without the use for any manual intervention. They can also be triggered on demand by the QA team. The results of each run are automatically communicated to the delivery team.

CI pipeline:

We choose Jenkins to facilitate continuous integration and delivery. Using Ranorex and Jenkins allowed us to set up triggers to run automation when the project build changed or was deployed to a new environment.

With Jenkins all our automated tests can now run daily or on demand, reducing the manual test effort and saving more time.

Once the initial investment in automation has been made, the testing time gains (ROI) from automation can be quite large.

 

ROI of Automated Regression Testing:

·         500+ test cases run per day. More if test automation is run more often.

·          Less than 3 hours to run all automated scenarios, previously taken 24+ hours manually.

·          87.5% savings in execution time every time these tests are executed.

·         Tests can be run multiple times per day if required and on multiple browsers.

       

 

Accelerating a company’s Digital initiatives requires good core practices. Ensuring you have a QA function that supports the growth and accelerated pace of digital initiatives is key to minimizing risk, containing costs, and increasing the business value for technology investments.

The aim of Automation in test is to speed up the delivery of the entire IT Team requiring an investment of time, money, knowledge, and resources.  This project illustrates the steps we took to lead and support Homestar’s IT team with the journey from manual testing –> test automation –> continuous integration –> delivery.

 

Working with CelticQA

Building a culture of Excellence is a journey of many stages and phases. It requires alignment of systems and structures, understanding and commitment, role modeling and capability building.

CelticQA’s team partners with our client’s teams to deliver compound efficiency gains through our engineers, frameworks and standardization. These successes show demonstrable and measurable results. i.e. reduction in defects, reduction in testing cycle time, improved test coverage, etc.

We have taken all our experience and knowledge and developed our Integrated Quality Solutions (IQS™) framework. Our IQS™ framework ensures that quality is built into the entire development process. 

Software QA Excellence is about enabling and enhancing Organizations ability to adapt current systems and adopt new systems sustainably and with confidence.