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Vanaja Arvind, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Thinksoft Global Services Ltd., talks about the company's financial testing portfolio and the key trends triggering the growth of software testing in Indian banks, in an interview to the journal of Compliance Risk and Opportunity (CRO).
CRO: Which software testing product was released by Thinksoft after its inception in 1998 and who was its first client?

Vanaja: In 1998, Thinksoft pioneered the 'global delivery model in user acceptance testing' on behalf of a global financial giant headquartered in the US.

CRO: Can you brief us on your software testing portfolio?

Vanaja: Our business model focuses on 'requirements assurance' which includes testing. Our portfolio includes requirements documentation, scope management, and business requirements and functional specification gap analysis.

We also provide functional testing such as System Integration Testing (SIT), User Acceptance Testing (UAT), compliance testing, and automated regression testing along with non-functional testing, testing process diagnostics, testdata management and production support.

CRO: Do you see an increase in risk appetite, as banks look at adopting new technologies? What are the changes being demanded by banking clients in their approach to managing new software applications?

Vanaja: Globally, banks are looking for smarter ways of managing quality which are also faster and cheaper. We use 'riskbased testing methods' which are scoped jointly with our clients to manage aggressive timelines.

Banks today are not looking for a testing vendor alone, but want a QA vendor who runs a competency centre as well as shared end-to-end QA services for them. They also expect us to advise them on global statutory requirements, market trends and best practices to help them manage their quality better.

CRO: What are the recent challenges in the testing domain?

Vanaja: Challenges are not unique to the testing domain alone; business challenges remain the same as for any mid-size IT service provider.

CRO: What is 'fit for purpose testing' functionality in your testing portfolio?

Vanaja: The 'fit for purpose testing' is used to assess a product based on business requirements. Generic test packs are conducted based on business requirements, and products are assessed to determine the percentage of requirements that can be met by fine-tuning parameters without any customisation. Workarounds for requirements are also assessed to optimise the cost of customisation. The best fit product is then recommended to the client along with customisation scope. Such testing requires domain expertise hence, we fit the bill.

CRO: Who are your major clients in the BFSI space, in India and abroad?

Vanaja: Due to confidentiality agreements, we cannot share specific customer names. Our customers are primarily from the BFSI sector and are a mix of both end-user organisations and application product companies.

We currently serve about 50 customers worldwide. They are a set of 'marquee clients' and are leaders in their respective areas of banking, cards, insurance and capital markets. Our Indian customers also share similar profiles.

CRO: How big is Thinksoft Global in India right now?

Vanaja: In India we have two offshore delivery centres, one in Chennai and the other in Bangalore, with a total capacity for 800 seats. We also have people working on our client premises in India. Approximately 400 people are working in India currently. As hiring is intense, this number changes everyday.

CRO: Are your India centres only service centers or are they also involved in marketing activities?Which Thinksoft offices are largely engaged in marketing activities?

Vanaja: We have a corporate sales and marketing office in Bangalore. Our regional sales teams are distributed across the globe.

CRO: How does Thinksoft work with banking clients and software partners to ensure quality results?

Vanaja: Our clients are both financial institutions and financial product vendors. When working with banks, we provide them with independent testing services.

CRO: Who would you consider as your major competitor(s)?

Vanaja: Testing services are still perceived as a growth area with a $13 billion potential; hence, IT service providers worldwide are competition for us.

CRO: How do you see the testing market growing in India, especially in the banking space? Which are the key focus areas for banks in software testing?

Vanaja: India is certainly at the top of the list of emerging markets for testing. Compliance and regulatory norms will be a focus for all banks. It is an area where rigorous testing is certainly required. Another key area would be mobile banking. The financial inclusion initiative has opened it up as a large channel for financial transactions, particularly payments. Security and integrity of these transactions will certainly need to be thoroughly tested and ongoing testing will be required to identify emerging threats and risks in this mode of operation. As we move towards a national 'payment gateway' based on guidelines by the RBI, it requires significant testing both at the centre and in the participating banks. Business analytics is also emerging as an area of significant importance for all banks to stay ahead of the competition and to attract their end customers.

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