The banking industry has existed for years and now operates in an archaic way, forcing customers to adapt to banking systems. This is in stark contrast to the service industry, where service providers must adapt to their customers’ needs and expectations.
Our client, a digital bank headquartered in Abu Dhabi, decided to reimagine their approach to banking by delivering a revolutionary solution for online banking services. This solution is built on multiple integrated components, consists of cloud-native and serverless applications, and has a profound data storage and orchestration layer.
The bank aimed to scale. But before taking any steps in that direction, the executives requested a third-party opinion on the maturity of their existing processes, systems, practices, documentation, and policies. Additionally, to ensure all platform components worked flawlessly, it was important to assess their integration and configuration.
As our client’s infrastructure was to evolve, cybersecurity procedures and policies needed to be in place not only to protect data but to identify and alert about attempts at unauthorized access. To safeguard customer data, our client needed to evaluate the efficiency of their cybersecurity practices.
In addition, our client wanted to define the extent to which best practices were implemented in their development and testing processes. They also requested an assessment of their business analysis processes, IT architecture concept, and production environment capacity in terms of compliance with industry standards and best practices.
Based on our client’s requests and needs, Intellias assessed six project areas: IT architecture, business analysis processes, testing practices, DevOps practices, cybersecurity, and operational readiness.
Our first step was to get familiar with the general context of the company, the vision for the product, and the product roadmap through interviews with stakeholders and focus groups, environment reviews, documentation, and process analysis. After identifying gaps and risks, Intellias experts developed recommendations based on our company’s knowledge base, the judgment of our experts, and industry best practices. All findings were documented, analyzed, and presented to our client in separate yet connected reports for each assessed domain.
Scope of assessment by domain
During the assessment, we discovered that the most performant serverless databases are with high speed and scalability. So the architecture concept was robust and mature, yet with refinement opportunities. Having analyzed all architecture components, we revealed the same configuration applied to all environments. While such an approach ensured fast processing, there were still some data that didn’t need such sophisticated storages. The Intellias team defined what data could migrate to simpler storage without compromising performance and security. Plus, we developed the cloud optimization roadmap that would make database service costs more efficient.
Business analysis processes
Intellias’ recommendations helped to clarify our client’s business needs and objectives, thus decreasing the probability of scope creep and the risk of rework. Our assessment also revealed space for improvement in terms of the structure, traceability, and prioritization criteria at the levels of business, stakeholder, and non-functional requirements. The provided assessment report showed ways to eliminate the risk of rework thanks to clearly defined requirements, outlined an end-to-end idea validation process, and increased involvement of Product Owners in the business analysis processes. All in all, we created a roadmap for achieving strong business processes to drive an effective strategy and rapid growth.
Quality assurance practices
As our client’s digital bank platform was built of multiple modules, our experts suggested improving traceability between tests and requirements as well as between tests and software defects, creating a simpler and more user-friendly test reporting solution that provides a single entry point to testing results for relevant stakeholders. We also suggested introducing integration testing to verify the correctness of interfaces between third-party solutions that comprise software architecture.
To assess DevOps practices, we used our Enterprise DevOps Maturity assessment matrix, which combines industry standards and Intellias expertise. The matrix is focused on six categories: build, deployment and environments, test and validation, release, reporting and metrics, and culture. It also defines requirements for five maturity levels: initiated, managed, defined, advanced, and optimizing.
The outcome of this domain assessment is a clear vision of actions needed to make sure software deployment activities don’t impact the business and customer experience. Additional benefits of this assessment included preventing the loss of sensitive data through source code and ensuring faster and safer releases by automating deployment and configuration management.
Implementing improvements suggested in our assessment report helped our client enhance their cybersecurity requirements for various processes and systems as well as reduce their dependence on third-party service providers. This also increased our client’s awareness of system vulnerabilities and led to more precise planning of the resources needed to efficiently detect new vulnerabilities that may arise. Thus, the information security governance of the bank was strengthened.
To assess all areas of cybersecurity, we looked to international industry standards: ISO 22301, the OWASP Testing Guide, ISO 27001, the NIST 800 series, ISO 27002, and ISACA recommendations.
Implementing suggested improvements helped our client define a consistent problem management approach and formalize their release planning procedure. As a result, this procedure became transparent for all involved parties. Furthermore, our recommendations helped our client respond to incidents faster and more efficiently, increasing customer satisfaction and decreasing the time necessary to restore services.
The comprehensive technology assessment Intellias conducted laid the foundation for a high-quality digital banking service. It also provided bank executives with a clear vision of functional areas that were underperforming, performing as required, and overperforming, thereby allowing them to efficiently allocate business resources.
Intellias experts assisted our client in determining the needs within their organization, prioritizing those needs by value, and making necessary changes. These transformations resulted in￼ the decreased risk of cost loss caused by insufficient or failed internal processes and systems, a lack of properly skilled people, and external events. This, in turn, will make investments more efficient and accelerate the bank’s growth.
While conducting this assessment, Intellias proved to be a trusted partner. We’re now helping our client implement improvements that will assure an upmarket product and a high return on investment.