New DevOps Study Offers A Reality Check for Financial Services

Managed services provider Claranet recently commissioned a study into the adoption of DevOps across the financial services industry, entitled “Beyond Digital Transformation: Reality check for European IT and Digital leaders.”

After surveying 750 IT professionals across Europe, the researchers found that 30 percent of organizations in the financial services sector report having transitioned fully to DevOps practices. Another 61 percent of organizations are expecting to make the switch within the next two years. DevOps is widely viewed as a revolution in software development, and these results show that the financial industry is poised to take advantages of what the paradigm has to offer. Financial services companies value agility, and the move to DevOps has the potential to lead to improved customer service, an area where many financial services organizations have struggled historically.

Head of Vertical Sectors at Claranet, John Hayes-Warren, stated: “There is a clear desire amongst IT leaders in the finance sector to engage with a DevOps service delivery methodology more readily. The financial services sector is going through an unprecedented period of disruption so now more than ever, seizing and maintaining competitive advantage requires companies to be ambitious, adaptable, and open to fresh approaches. It is therefore encouraging that organisations are becoming more aware of the benefits that taking an application-centric focus can bring, in terms of greater business agility and increased operational efficiency.”

Despite reason for optimism, there are still potential hurdles to making the most of DevOps practices. Among those whose businesses have already migrated to DevOps, seventy-one percent of respondents claimed to have experienced challenges. In 26 percent of cases, IT leaders found that the operating teams were limiting the transition to DevOps. Another 26 percent reported difficulty due to management structure lacking clear business objectives, which made defining DevOps strategy difficult. The survey’s results paint a clear picture: Organizations need to have a unified approach in order to make the most of their DevOps goals.

Speaking about areas where financial services organizations should focus, Hayes-Warren stated that IT leaders should lead the drive to automate processes and applications by leveraging the cloud. Furthermore, companies need to focus on their culture to ensure they’re adoption organization-wide practices that integrate members of their IT departments. Hayes-Warren further stated: “DevOps can’t simply be implemented overnight – it requires a period of iterative change in which both the technology and the people at an organisation need to be made ready for it.

Increased automation is essential to achieving the agility that characterises a successful DevOps approach, so businesses need to take steps to implement new measures to facilitate this.

“One way to do this is to make a shift from an emphasis on continuous integration (CI) to one of continuous development (CD). Effectively, this method enables organisations to move away from application updates being released on a fixed schedule, to one where updates can be rolled out once or twice a week. Combining this with the flexibility of cloud will deliver maximum benefits.”

Hayes-Warren concludes: “Perhaps most importantly, successfully integrating DevOps into wider project management is also about cultural change. Automation and processes such as CD are key, but they can only be used to their full potential if everyone in the IT department is on board with any changes. Working with a managed services provider can be effective in this area, as a third-party partner can assist in implementing and integrating these practices into the company’s wider approach. Changes should be gradual and made with long-term goals in mind, and IT teams need to be reassured that their jobs won’t be usurped by automation, but that it will give them the ability to do more interesting things for the business.”