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The Race for DevOps - Strategy, not Beer and Pizza!

The idea that Financial Services are not ready for or capable of adopting DevOps to innovate on a par with the FinTechs is outmoded; survival depends on a change of attitude.

~ Written By Andy Dickin

FS veteran and DevOps expert Ben Wootton said in his recent presentation Fighting the Fintech Wave with DevOps, “you can’t turn around a 10,000 person FS organisation with beer and pizza”! So how do you migrate your organisation into the world of DevOps’, and do you need to?

The idea that Financial Services are not ready for or capable of adopting DevOps to innovate on a par with the FinTechs is outmoded; survival depends on a change of attitude. For some, it may be worth considering forming an alliance to form the killer combination of the gravitas and reliability of the FS organisation with the speed to market and heightened customer engagement of the FinTech partner. However, in the highly regulated, risk-averse world of FS, a more solid, strategic, step by step approach will go down better with C level executives and yield better results.

How FS Can Fast Track to Innovation?

And what are the keys to successful DevOps adoption in the FS sector? If we look at the triangle of People, Process and Technology, we can start to break down the key criteria for DevOps adoption:

People

1. What business value are you trying to create from implementing DevOps?

2. The correct culture is the absolute key driver to enable DevOps within any organisation. You need to ensure that the whole organisation, from Executives down buy in to the DevOps journey.

Process

3. Remember that your ultimate goal should be continuous integration and continuous delivery. Teams must be decentralised, autonomous and cross functional.

4. To abolish the risk and associated stress of big releases, you need to break applications down into manageable microservices to be developed, tested and deployed individually.

Technology

5. Technology should not be the central pillar, instead it should be considered an advantageous tool to enable the DevOps journey. For example, utilising a cloud based API layer to enable service virtualisation deployment will help you to complete your development and test cycles faster and more efficiently.

A shining example of successful Continuous Delivery is the London Multi-Asset Exchange (LMAX). Using Agile best practice they rebuilt their systems from scratch, implementing test driven development, pair programming and continuous integration. They made a huge investment in automation and now each build is subject to 25,000 automatic unit tests and then 10,000 integration, acceptance and performance tests. Impressively, in excess of 24 hours’ worth of QA and testing processes are executed in parallel in under an hour!

Always remember that “you can’t turn around a 10,000 person FS organisation with beer and pizza” so instead, strategise and save the celebrations for when you are working in a more collaborative, agile, and innovative DevOps way!

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