The Bank of England (BoE) has signed up to use a new quality assurance software tool that measures the performance of software production against the market, in a bid to benchmark the cost, speed and return on investment (ROI) of software quality assurance (QA) processes.
The BoE will be using a unique new offering from QA Media Limited, which launched commercially this week.
Jordan Daniel, who heads up QA at the BoE, said: “Our participation in the project is partly aimed at benchmarking our own internal software development processes,” adding this week: “We also see a growing need for benchmarks for software quality and resilience that can be shared by banks and other financial firms.”
The subscription to the tool will last for three years, and will allow the bank to contribute data on their software development processes. This data can then be analysed to extrapolate the number of development faults that have to be addressed during software production and then the effort spent on both quality assurance and fixing its defects.
These can then be compared to those of others in the market, so that different financial institutions can compare the effectiveness and return on investment of their software quality assurance process.
QA Media director Justyn Trenner told Computer Business Review: “In a world where we rely on metrics and KPIs there has been a clear lack of a measure that relates quality to investment. We recently did a survey and found that fewer than a quarter of the people we spoke to believed that they could measure ROI” [on software QA].
He added: “Eighteen months or so ago I set about having a dialogue with the Bank of England and a number of other technology leaders in the financial industry to try and come up with clear macro metrics.
“We wanted those responsible for software quality to be able to go to their CTOs with a series of clear measures, that would allow them to report to business owners exactly what they were getting for their investment in quality. The problem we’re solving is a clear measure of quality that relates to the effort put into that quality.
“Essentially, are you getting bang for your buck?”
The project and product release come as major banking brands like Natwest, TSB, Bank of America and National Australia Bank have seen major outages owing to software issues, particularly concerning mobile banking.
Pressure has been mounting on financial institutions to build more robust IT infrastructure and software QA processes with the Treasury Select Committee warning in October 2019 that “we believe the current level and frequency of disruption and consumer harm is unacceptable.”