Today we live in a continuously technology, economic and politic evolving era, and the market players essentially need to adapt fast to this period of changing. These things occur especially in the financial and banking sectors, in which take place the necessity of overcoming the client’s expectations and of providing a continuous and efficient service.
From the little trading companies to the financial sector’s big players, an actual race unleashed towards the innovation and provision of new functionalities and contents that may satisfy the customers and, in this field, DevOps methodology and its practices and solutions are very helpful for the IT teams.
Indeed, with the application of DevOps methodology, development teams and operation work together along the entire software life cycle, from the design phase to the development, production, maintenance and support processes.
Let’s think about the applications, desktop and mobile, that banks had to build in the last years, such as:
- Consumer banking
- Loan administration
- Peer-to-peer money transfer
The departments that deal with the creation and testing of these systems, have necessarily adopted DevOps approach, which is also crucial for the adoption of several recently introduced technologies, like the blockchain, a mechanism which stands at the basis of bitcoins cryptocurrencies.
DevOps adoption resistances become improvement opportunities
In banks and financial companies, issues like conformity and security cannot take a back seat, and, in most cases, added to a “silos” corporate culture, are the main resistance causes to the software development change of methodology.
At first, DevOps practices and the consequent increase of the software versions release speed were indeed considered to be an important risk for security, governance and regulatory controls.
Despite the initial resistance, like automatized pipelines for continuous delivery, lean approach and organizations alignment based on value flows, automatized tests, conformity and security automatic controls, combined with a tight collaboration with legal and compliance departments, permitted to overcome the common challenges.
At the moment, financial services companies indeed consider DevOps methodology like a full-fledged security resource.
How DevOps methodology revolutionized the bank segment
At DevOps basis stands the creation of a culture in which business, operation, developers, Quality Assurance department and other interested members work in a collaborative way, with the only purpose of guaranteeing a reliable and efficient development of the project. Thus, it’s about a substantial cultural changing, which requires time.
Rather than totally focus on the creation of the project, DevOps analyses the entire process of project management, by paying attention to the involved team synchronization. DevOps achieves to transform the company’s culture, by breaking down the silos and by creating a flowing environment for the employees.
The increase of the interaction between the teams and the continuous feedback based on the value stimulate the versatility of the employees and permit banks to make huge progresses towards productivity improvement, resources work quality and mistakes decrease.
Let’s make a practical example: how may DevOps improve the development process of a Mobile Banking application? As soon as an application is introduced, with waterfall methodology the development team would have devote itself to other things, moving to other departments the management of the consecutive steps of the application launch. On the contrary, with DevOps approach, while the technology development team will focus on the app creation, the operative team will pay attention to the marketing, to the formation, to the introduction of the product in the affiliate, providing the development team continuous live feedback on how updating and improving the product. This new mindset makes the process more efficient and, at the same time, it allows to obtain a significantly better improvement, since it is based on the real necessities of the end users.
Processes automation through software continuous delivery pipelines is another DevOps aspect which enables to optimize the resource’s work and the developer’s productivity, to enhance the quality of the products and to allow management and visibility across multiple projects, also providing velocity and scalability. By managing all the release processes from a unique central platform and by automatizing end-to-end pipelines, companies obtain visibility on the progresses of all DevOps processes and releases and make sure to being able to optimize, guide and control.
For many financial services companies, the four stages of the software delivery (release, distribution, test and creation) are composed by several processes which contain a lot of tasks and activities performed by many people.
These practices, processes and people are often structured in “silos” organizations, which make impossible an orchestration of the activities and cause a lack of governance and the presence of mistakes, delays, manual passages and fragmented processes.
Since in these kind of organizations operation and development teams are often geographically spread, it is important to maintain a shared visibility and control inside the different processes, tools and facilities. The optimization of the software delivery process should not be approached as a split series of problems, on the contrary, it should be considered as a unique system-level approach.
DevOps allows to eliminate the frictions between the teams and also to break down the silos, by orchestrating each aspect of the software delivery pipeline in order to create repeatable and foreseeable processes, frequently implementable by a minimum human intervention.
DevOps methodology is literally transforming the banking and financial sector: it enables to provide to the market a major amount of quality services in a safer and more efficient way, in harmony with the strategies that settle governance, risk, security and conformity.
We have several examples of DevOps implementation in banking and financial services; examples may be ING Direct and BBVA, who have recently presented the case histories at the DevOps Enterprise Summit.
The transition to DevOps culture requires time and a remarkable cultural change, but it can dramatically revolutionize and innovate the activities of a company.