In the ever-evolving landscape of banking, institutions are constantly seeking ways to enhance efficiency, reliability, and agility. Bank of Montreal (BMO), a constant in the industry with over two centuries of legacy, stands at the forefront of innovation. Ankur Saxena, BMO’s Senior Technical Officer, recently shared valuable insights into their automation journey, shedding light on how they harnessed automation testing practices to overcome challenges and optimize their operations.

Navigating Complex Challenges

BMO's automation journey was born out of necessity, amidst a migration program aimed at transitioning legacy applications to SAP S/4HANA and Fiori. This monumental undertaking presented a myriad of challenges, ranging from ensuring data integrity across non-production environments to conducting frequent regression testing and managing an ever-expanding server infrastructure. “When we started, we had around 15 servers. Now we’re looking at over 100 servers that all need to be maintained,” Saxena mentioned. 

As the complexity of their operations grew, so did the imperative for innovative solutions to streamline processes and mitigate risks. “If you remember a couple years back, there was an increased risk of cyber attacks throughout the world. Being a bank, it is very important that all the data is protected,” said Saxena, highlighting the critical role of testing in safeguarding sensitive financial data.

Automation as a Catalyst for Efficiency

Worksoft’s automation emerged as a game-changer for BMO, offering a pathway to streamline testing processes and accelerate validation cycles. With a staggering 6,000 test cases to manage, automation became indispensable. By automating a significant portion of these test cases - over 5,500 of them to be exact - and leveraging scheduling capabilities to run tests overnight, BMO achieved unparalleled efficiency gains. This approach not only facilitated timely validation of system changes but also enabled the seamless handling of regression testing requests, ensuring minimal disruption to operations.

Striking the Balance: Automation vs. Manual Testing

While automation proved to be a cornerstone of BMO's testing strategy, the bank also recognized the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between automation and manual testing. In instances where tasks were non-repetitive or one-time requests, manual testing remained the pragmatic choice. BMO's approach was rooted in pragmatism, leveraging automation where it delivered maximum value while embracing manual testing for scenarios that demanded human intervention and judgment.

Realizing Tangible Returns on Investment

The adoption of automation yielded tangible benefits for BMO, manifesting in significant time and resource savings. Tasks that once consumed considerable time and effort, such as master data management updates and ECS file loads, were now streamlined through automation. For example, “a manual automated ECS load would've taken us 17 days, whereas with the help of automation, we were able to do it within four days,” said Saxena. This translated into substantial returns on investment, reinforcing the strategic importance of automation in driving operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Embracing a Future of Automation

Looking ahead, BMO is poised to further expand its automation efforts as it transitions into a more stable operational environment. With a solid foundation in place and fewer project deployments on the horizon, BMO envisions a future where automation plays an even more prominent role in optimizing operations and driving innovation across the organization.

Central to BMO's automation journey is its collaborative partnership with automation solution providers. By leveraging the expertise and support of their partners, BMO navigated the complexities of automation effectively, paving the way for innovation and growth. This collaborative approach proves the importance of strategic partnerships in driving success in today's dynamic banking landscape.

Pioneering Innovation in Banking

BMO's automation journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of automation in modernizing banking operations. By embracing automation and striking a balance between automation and manual testing, BMO continues to set new benchmarks for efficiency, reliability, and innovation in the banking industry. As the financial landscape evolves, BMO remains poised to meet the challenges of tomorrow head-on through the power of automation.

Take control of your automation journey today with Worksoft, a comprehensive automation platform that seamlessly integrates business process testing, continuous testing, and RPA (Robotic Process Automation), enabling enterprises to optimize their business processes effectively. Contact us today to learn more about how Worksoft can harness automation testing practices to overcome challenges and optimize your operations.