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5/4/2023
10 minutes

Delivering Quality nCino Experiences with Automated Deployments and Testing

Written by
Angel Suon
Table of contents

nCino is the leading low-code banking platform for financial institutions. It’s a Salesforce-native platform with pre-built business-critical applications like loan origination and portfolio management.

Since it’s built on Salesforce, these applications are easily configurable, ensuring each nCino business process meets your unique needs. nCino core products are spread across commercial banking, small business banking, deposit/account opening, and portfolio/analytics. Because of nCino’s extensibility to support end-to-end banking processes, customizations are key.

A big part of nCino is working with Relationships and Loans. Relationships are an Object used to link a person buying/taking out a loan with the proper related Records. Think about all the checkpoints when it comes to selling and qualifying loans.

nCino Flow Chart

Looks pretty straightforward, right? But when you look a few layers deeper, you get to know the complexities of it. Not all loan origination and servicing processes are created equal. Each institution customizes the process in its own way. Behind the scenes, there are many components including — but not limited to — running credit checks, verifying data and making decisions on loan approvals, protecting private information, connecting with different vendors (such as Transunion, Equifax, or Experian on credit scores) and sourcing what available banks would provide an offer. 

That’s just the beginning; when the loan is approved, there’s a different business process of managing loan accounts, making payments, collecting interest, and handling delinquent accounts.

That’s why nCino needs to be highly customizable. But all these customizations come with challenges. Those business processes we mentioned above aren’t the only complex thing in banking and nCino. To provide these capabilities out-of-the-box, nCino has pre-configured Objects, Record Layouts and Process Flows. 

They have an established ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram) that poses its own complexities when deploying related data and running regression testing on full business processes. Layer in business-level customizations on top and the delivery lifecycle can easily balloon.    

Let’s take a look under the hood of nCino to see how they’re powering all these great capabilities. 

The three most interacted areas that have the potential for the most variation out of the box are UI, Document Manager and Spreads. Let’s take a dive into the UI layer. If you want to learn more about nCino features, find out more here

UI layer

This is just the internal view. nCino’s Customer Portal offering allows new and existing customers to sign in, submit information and apply for retail loans. That, too, is customizable. The nCino UI is all record-based configuration, leveraging the same set of Objects for their internal and external-facing UIs. Here’s a visual to get your spider sense tingling.

nCino UI Object Model / Data Architecture

What’s awesome about this web is that it gives you powerful functionality right out of the box. What can be tough is that every time you build a new feature, you must deploy all the related data within this web in order to test your customizations. 

It’s also time-consuming to identify and organize a complex object-model every time you want to move a record-based configuration. With the relationship diagram, you can easily create and visualize these object models in an intuitive, dynamic web.

The Platform You Need to Support All Things nCino

Now that we understand the beauty behind everything nCino has to offer, how does one ensure that this mission-critical business process is working as it should without any delays? Remember the nCino spiderweb? Imagine having to identify, create and deploy every single object. Who has the time when there’s money literally on the table? With an experience that can’t have any hiccups, you can’t risk any defects. 

nCino has two major releases a year (every Spring and Fall). This is on top of Salesforce releases (every Spring, Summer and Fall). That’s at least five times a year you’re required to test, which doesn’t include deployments. Not only do you have to test to make sure you’re delivering a quality experience, but you also have to deploy just as quickly to get all the latest into the hands of your customers. Manual deploying and testing won’t be enough. So, what should you look for in a solution?
 

Automated Data Deployment

Unfortunately, when talking about Salesforce deployments, most tools only focus on merging metadata changes, which leaves dev teams deploying data manually. When you’re working with complex relational data, this can take up a whole sprint, and even then related Objects may be missed in a data deployment. 

And when teams aren’t syncing data backward frequently, that means they aren’t testing frequently. To get the benefits of nCino plus agile development, you’ll need a deployment tool that provides reusable data templates, org ERDs, user lookup migrations, data masking and more. Review a full list of best practices capabilities here

Automated testing 

Running automated tests consistently helps ensure nothing is broken. It also helps ensure that new functionality isn’t breaking the existing workflow. Don’t settle for just any automation platform; look for one that understands nCino and provides a fast track to success with templates and libraries. With all the customizations and records involved to empower employees and customers, you need a test automation platform that covers essential testing scenarios.

UI Testing

nCino is all about business processes and records. Records are exposed at the employee and customer levels, if this is messed up or exposed in production, it affects everyone and has costly impacts. UIs can vary depending on the financial institution between different products, objects, product lines and more. The UI can be configured with Salesforce Lightning Web Components (LWC). 

You need a platform that can test business processes at the UI layer to reduce the need to worry about the dynamic locators in the document object model (DOM). Testing at the UI layer before deployment eliminates the threat of defects, exposure of personal information and introducing compliance and security issues.

E2E Testing

nCino is an end-to-end banking platform, which requires connecting with other systems to fulfill the complete business process. You need a platform that can replicate user behavior to verify user flow works as a whole. The end-to-end process will include elements of on-prem, cloud, and mobile that run forward and backward. 

Salesforce to nCino pipeline

Integration Testing

Testing APIs to verify individual modules work well together. As seen with the end-to-end business process, there are a lot of components required to work seamlessly to fulfill the user experience. It’s important to test integrations with different applications and platforms. Most core banking platforms are on-prem, so you need a platform that can securely test that connection. 

And there are many critical integrations such as client reporting, compliance systems, fraud prevention, anti-money laundering, account authentications, electronic signatures, etc. Look for a platform that can easily test APIs and supports the most popular banking systems.

Regression Testing

nCino customers upgrade every Spring and Fall with a 5-week testing period with general releases, sandbox releases and patches. There are also periodic updates through the release cycle that includes fixes for the GA release. This doesn’t include the releases of other systems involved in the business process (Salesforce, Know Your Customer, DocuSign, etc). It’s essential that you have a platform that can build repeatable tests to validate business processes.

All-Code Friendly

There are so many moving parts with a mission-critical platform like nCino, it requires all hands on deck. Today’s delivery team encompasses business analysts, admins, developers, QA testers/engineers, product owners, release managers and more. The best platform will tailor to the diverse skill sets of your team. 

Modernize the Way You Deploy and Test

nCino digitally transforms banking experiences from on-prem to cloud. It can also transform how your teams deliver applications. And you’ll need to update your processes and build in automation to power nCino at scale. The cost of downtime would be detrimental. Every component of nCino needs to work flawlessly so that employees can attend to customers’ needs. 

You’ve taken the first step to modernize your banking processes, and it’s proved to be worth every step of the journey. Now is the time to modernize the way you test and deploy nCino to ensure that nothing disrupts your business, employees and customers. 

If you’re looking for your next partner to automate deployments and testing, Copado is an official technology partner for nCino. Visit copado.com for more information on how you can leverage nCino templates for CI/CD and testing to secure your end-to-end banking platform.

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About The Author

Director, Product Marketing

Angel Suon, a creative technologist passionate about people, processes, and products. With extensive product marketing experience focusing on test automation for enterprise apps (first ServiceNow, then Salesforce), she excels in creating compelling content. A cross-functional team supporter, she focuses on helping others succeed. Believes corporate/B2B marketing can be engaging and effective.

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