New research commissioned by managed services provider Claranet has revealed that there is significant appetite for embracing a DevOps approach to services in the financial services sector, with many looking to scale up their efforts as part of a wider application-first philosophy. Despite this, there are still hurdles to overcome if DevOps is to become the modus operandi in the sector, with a greater emphasis on cloud usage and automation needed if this is to be achieved.
The research report Beyond Digital Transformation: Reality check for European IT and Digital Leader, analyses the survey results of 750 IT professionals from across Europe. It found that 30 per cent of financial services organisations have already made the transition to a DevOps approach, with a further 61 per cent expected to make the switch over the next two years. This is a positive sign that businesses in the sector are looking to take full advantage of the software revolution and are taking steps to make themselves as agile as possible in a bid to improve the customer experience.
Commenting on the findings, John Hayes-Warren, Head of Vertical Sectors at Claranet, said: “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 this, there remain barriers to maximising the full potential of DevOps. Almost three quarters of survey respondents (71 per cent) who said their business has migrated to a DevOps approach reported challenges of some kind. Most commonly, IT leaders found that operations teams themselves were limiting the potential of DevOps (in 26 per cent of cases), and others found that a lack of clear business objectives within the management structure made it harder to define a DevOps strategy that would deliver against corporate goals (26 per cent of cases). This underlines how organisation-wide change is needed – both in terms of day-to-day processes and general company philosophy – if DevOps methodologies are to be a greater success.
To help temper these issues, Hayes-Warren believes that IT leaders need to increase their efforts to automate applications and processes by making full use of the capabilities of cloud, as well as foster a change in culture so that all members of the IT department can be brought on board with the DevOps way of thinking.
He added: “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.”
He concluded: “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.”