What Impact will Changes in ATM Estate Management have on your Testing Strategy? Part 3

This is the third in a series of articles commenting on the testing implications of the ATM & Self-Service Software Trends Report from KAL & ATMmarketplace.com. The third major area of change identified by KAL was in the Estate Management. The major trend identified was difficulty managing the increasing rate of change across the estate using outdated operational procedures and platforms. Many organisations are looking towards automated operations as a method of reducing the cost of change management. There is also a definite trend towards improving the asset management of the estate to simplify management and reduce the cost of engineering and parts management.

The development of more sophisticated management solutions with remote management and automated operations is a strategy that pays dividends for companies. However, the testing of such platforms is notoriously difficult. The full range of hardware and software errors that can be triggered by an ATM estate is measured in the thousands. Generating all of these events from real hardware in a lab is next to impossible. Automated operations platforms must be finely tuned to recognise patterns of events in order to take immediate remedial action. The design, development and testing of such rules packs requires the availability of a sophisticated virtual ATM solution that can generate the full range of events in specific sequences to test the actions of the operations platforms.

Automated inventory systems typically use remote interrogation to monitor the hardware and software components within an ATM in order to maintain an up to date profile which in turn can be used to inform engineers and track the life span of parts. Intelligence on the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) for parts and the contents of a particular ATM can support a proactive maintenance programme that reduces ATM downtime. Testing such an inventory system requires the ability to generate a wide range of inventory updates as well as a range of hardware faults, leading to the requirement for the same sort of virtual ATM test bed.