5 Common Challenges in Testing a Mobile Money Transfer Solution
Over the recent few weeks, I have been asked for my thoughts on some of the most common challenges or hurdles to overcome during the testing phase of a Mobile Money Transfer Solution deployment. As such, I thought that many of you would benefit from this list as well.
As most of you know, a mobile money transfer solution is made up of several applications and back-office systems working together to deliver the service literally into the hands of the customer. As such, many of the testing complexities stem from this very fact; at it's most basic level, mobile money transfer is a complex system integration project.
Challenge #1: Creation and maintenance of Test Data
The testing data that will be used for end-to-end system testing must be well-planned and communicated in advance so that all of the appropriate accounts and entities can be established within each participating system. For example, the mWallet CRM system must contain customer account data corresponds with valid accounts at the partner financial institution and mobile network operator. Additionally, all of the necessary data required for legal, regulatory, and AML compliance will need to be established for both positive and negative test scenarios so that the system can be validated for all scenarios. Comprehensive testing data is crucial to the successful execution of end-to-end system testing. Furthermore, the maintenance of this data over the course of the testing cycle is just as crucial, since some elements such as Account Balance, Account Status, and Confirmation Numbers will be in flux (or may be consumed) as the testing progresses.
Challenge #2: Availability of partner testing systems
As with any system integration project that spans multiple business entities, the end-to-end tests must be planned such that each partner's testing system is ready, and available. Downtime of any specific system will impact the overall testing effort and should therefore be minimized or avoided where possible. Specific defects, however, may require that a system involved in the testing effort be re-built, or that data be refreshed. All of these types of activities and scenarios should be identified prior to the testing effort and incorporated into the test plan so that each party is clear on the course of action.
Challenge #3: Dependency on the MNO partner
In many cases a mobile money transfer solution will have some dependency on the MNO partner. Whether it be integration to an SMS Gateway, or requirement to provide certain elements of information within the data session. For proper testing of your mobile money solution, however, the handsets and mobile accounts used in your tests will likely go against the Production System of the MNO. Therefore, any dependencies on the MNO will need to be worked out and verified PRIOR to your end-to-end system tests.
Challenge #4: Testing of multiple handsets
Unless your mobile money transfer solution is limited to a specific handset, you will need to ensure that your test scenarios include each type of handset that will support your service. In many cases, if the solution has been architected well, the nuances of each handset will be limited to the handset app itself. The challenge here is not necessarily about dealing with each specific handset, but more the sheer quantity of testing that will need to be done. For each handset type, the test scenarios need to be repeated so that the solution can be fully validated. Getting through this is typically a matter of ensuring that enough time has been given, or that enough resources have been assigned in order to complete all of the test cases.
Challenge #5: Co-ordination of resources to execute and monitor the tests
Having access to the appropriate resources within each partner company is crucial to the successful and timely completion of testing. When facing a challenging defect or issue, nothing works better than executing the test while the appropriate personnel are monitoring the system in real-time to troubleshoot and isolate the root cause. While this level of involvement may not be needed for the majority of issues, the ability to reach the assigned resources and to receive timely response on issues are key. Much time can be wasted in waiting for various parties to act or respond - especially when those resources are each from different companies.
I welcome your comments and would love to hear about what aspects of testing you have found to be most challenging for your mobile money transfer projects. If you would like to email me directly, my email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org