Testing: Why is testing important?
Reliable testing of software is important because faulty programs can have serious consequences. To avoid incidents, it is essential to test software thoroughly. The reliability of software has a direct impact on our daily lives, be it work, communication or leisure. A small software error can already lead to great frustrations. Therefore, it is important to develop high quality software and test it extensively before release to identify and fix possible bugs.
“Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates
Anja Rißland, Managing Consultant in Managed Services
Why is testing important?
It is impossible to imagine our lives without software systems. The way we work, communicate or spend our free time is increasingly dependent on software and thus also to a large extent on its reliability. Imagine going to the pharmacy just before closing time to buy important medication. You don’t have any cash on you and then you are told that the debit card payment doesn’t work. Even a minor incident like this can be frustrating.
Faulty software can lead to devastating consequences, as the following examples from the finance and insurance industry show.
Incorrect bookings at banks
In the course of the SEPA-compliant changeover of standing orders in 2014, many thousands of customers transferred money from standing orders twice. In addition, financial institutions did not execute many transfers on the originally scheduled processing day. The reason for this was a software error in the program that converted the accounts to the new European standard. In the process, the new SEPA-compliant standing orders were set up in the system, but the old ones were not deleted.
Another case of incorrect bookings occurred at a bank in 2022. Here, some incorrect bookings and also double bookings were made with the customers. The cause was also a software error, which was not detected ahead of time.
Error in the monitoring program
Another major bank made a software bug public in 2019, but it had previously gone unnoticed by the bank for years. A program that monitored the payment transactions of major customers in order to rule out risks such as illegal payments was affected. This concerns, for example, terrorist financing, money laundering, and remittances to sanctioned countries. The parameters for this had been programmed incorrectly without being noticed. In the case of the affected software, two of the 121 parameters failed.
Card payments not possible
A software error in some card terminals made debit card payments impossible for days in many stores in 2022. In this case, a blockage in the device’s communication with the payment service provider was the cause. Consumers had to wait for a software update before they could pay electronically again.
Even insurance companies are not protected from software errors.
No processing of insurance applications
In the U.S. in 2013, there was an incident in their health portal, which was responsible for the introduction of “Obamacare” health insurance there. The scale was huge. One third of the insurance applications could not be processed due to software errors, as the application forms were not automatically forwarded to the insurers by the system. As a result, those affected had to fear that they would not receive insurance coverage. There were also complaints about the poor usability of the software, errors in the forms and difficult login.
Outdated software calculates amounts incorrectly
In 2015, a German insurer made errors in the calculation of earnings and credits in life insurance policies for hundreds of thousands of customers. According to the insurance company, the problem was caused by errors in outdated software used to calculate earnings. Eight million euros too much and two million euros too little were paid out to customers. The result was a correspondingly high financial loss, and customers’ trust in the insurer suffered.
These examples show how important it is to put software systems through their paces before they are put into operation.
The financial impact of software errors can be enormous. In the examples mentioned, the errors led to banks and insurance companies having to repay large amounts to customers in some cases. In addition, the software error, particularly in the case of the German insurer, led to a loss of customer confidence in the insurer and to a considerable loss of image.
In addition to the financial and personal implications, software errors can also have legal and ethical consequences. In doing so, these errors and their possible consequences can be avoided through testing. Furthermore, testing can ensure that the previously defined requirements are also met, i.e. that the software fulfills its purpose as it should.
Inadequate testing can have devastating consequences and should be avoided. Companies should ensure that their systems are regularly tested for errors and vulnerabilities to build customer confidence and minimize financial, ethical, and legal risks.
Software testing is an important part of the development process that can help uncover bugs and vulnerabilities in the system before it goes live.
At ADWEKO, we are here to support you with our expertise. We take on all tasks for coordination and control in the test lifecycle, create individual solution offers for you taking into account established standards and make cost-optimized test execution possible through the use of automated test procedures. Feel free to contact us!
We at ADWEKO are happy to provide you with our expertise.