Within the finance sector software development is critical. Consumers use their credit cards and online banking for everything, so creating and deploying code that supports these kinds of applications is important. In addition, security patches that fix vulnerabilities are vital, especially as hackers are becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to get their hands on sensitive financial information.
What does all this mean? Simply put, financial organizations need an automated way to write, test and deploy code in accelerated time frames while maintaining quality and security. The integral nature of financial data and security makes it critical that companies within this vertical be able to quickly and effectively deploy patches and new applications; waterfall development methodologies just aren't fast enough.
The Wall Street Journal contributor James Deluccia noted that it's for that reason that development teams are beginning to adopt DevOps strategies. By automating certain processes and breaking down barriers within IT, DevOps methodologies give the financial sector a way to speed development and release process while at the same time ensuring the same level of quality afforded by more traditional methods.
"This evolution is happening because of the rising demands of Web, mobile applications and business services," Deluccia wrote. "Therefore, implementing fully-automated, integrated systems is a must in order to keep pace with the increasing volume of software delivery requirements."
"Financial organizations need an automated way to develop applications in accelerated time frames."
Traditionally, financial organizations haven't been the first to adopt newer technologies or methods for doing things. One of the biggest reasons for this is that financial organizations must comply with strict federal regulation. Deluccia noted that the Securities and Exchange Commission requires organizations to claim every piece of software as part of their overall business assets.
According to DevOps Digest contributor Derek Langone, the biggest impediment between the financial sector and DevOps is an age-old problem: Businesses simply didn't want to adopt new technologies or strategies, because this was how it had always been, so why change it now? Another common claim is that it's too risky to allow different teams to have access to the same materials. Compliance has always been the name of the game with financial services organizations, especially with the advent of the EMV chip cards that promised to reduce fraud when they were implemented in the U.S. in 2015
"Many executives and IT people believe that the software and hardware environments of financial services companies, particularly banks, are not compatible with DevOps," Langone wrote. "Their arguments mostly focus on: the plethora of legacy-based mainframe applications that have run unaltered for years and do not need to be changed; and the industry-specific processes (such as automatic cash dispensing) that do not easily integrate with new software."
However, the mentality that Langone cited could prevent financial services companies from remaining competitive in today's changing marketplace. Financial businesses need to be more flexible in order to adapt to customers' evolving demands and provide better interactions at the consumer level.
For those financial institutions that are recognizing the need to embrace change and move toward DevOps, they are discovering that DevOps is more than a fad, but offers fundamental benefits to their business bottom line. Here are 5 of those benefits:
1. Speed of deployments: The speed at which organizations can deploy code – up to 30 times more frequently than teams still relying on waterfall development strategies – is one of the biggest drivers of DevOps adoption among financial organizations. As previously mentioned, the speed at which companies can react to application vulnerabilities and push projects to deployment directly impacts how secure their systems are and how they interact with customers.
2. Improved processes: Well-orchestrated DevOps endeavors represent a careful mixture of people, processes and technology. When everyone works together, processes can be streamlined, thus improving communications between teams and shortening dev cycles.
3. Lower costs: Waterfall development methods necessitated long turnaround times for application deployment. This can get expensive – manpower and computing resources are not free. When teams have better overall control of their timelines and project deliveries, as they do in a DevOps organization, they can enhance productivity.
"Having a more proactive organization that can steadily improve on the products and tools your users rely on saves you time, reduces the cost of operations and drives higher revenue through higher customer engagement, reduced tool overhauls and better control of costs and timelines," said Stefan Schneider, the senior product marketing manager at SevOne.
4. Better collaboration between teams: DevOps is all about changing the culture of an organization and making it easier for disparate parts of the business – including developers, testers and operations teams – to collaborate on projects. Software development teams need to be able to communicate with other parts of the business. A recent survey of IT managers and other professionals conducted by Atlassian found that 73 percent of IT support teams think they could be more involved with software development within their organizations.
In addition, 99 percent of the professionals surveyed cited being unprepared for releases as a challenge to their team. These findings are an indication that in order to create more unity within development teams and get everyone on the same page as far as what projects are being completed, the entire organization needs to improve communications between departments. DevOps can help enhance that level of collaboration.
5. Continuous feedback: One of the most integral advantages to deploying DevOps is creating a continuous feedback loop. As the application is being continuously delivered, according to software development expert Sanjeev Sharma, different iterations are seen by customers or customer surrogates and then evaluated for functionality. In this way, teams can improve their applications on a continuous basis, instead of having hard-and-fast deployment deadlines and being unable to change their work after delivery.
With the myriad benefits of deploying DevOps within the financial services industry, organizations are finding that these methodologies give them a chance to get code delivered more quickly and with fewer mistakes. Getting a cloud sandboxing platform like Quali's CloudShell in place is critical to making this happen. A cloud sandbox platform allows developers, testers, security and compliance teams to more quickly provision resources and spin up production-like dev/test environments throughout the software lifecycle. Sandboxing allows deploying these environments in short periods of time and then decommissioning them back into shared resource pools. By integrating with continuous process tools, cloud sandboxing allows organizations to support true DevOps endeavors allowing them to more quickly react to customer and industry demands, minimize time to market and make applications as secure as possible.
The takeaway: Although financial services organizations have traditionally been reticent to adopt DevOps on the basis of maintaining compliance and security behind the model of separate development, testing and operations teams, that trend is changing. Among the main benefits of DevOps for financial services organizations are reduced costs, better collaboration between teams and the speed at which code can be deployed. Investing in a tool like Quali CloudShell is a good way for financial enterprise to realize all the benefits of DevOps.