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Clearing the Cloud of Doubt Around Financial Services DevOps

April 12, 2023

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Cloud Technologies and securities in Payment systems

DevOps is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and effort to implement and master. But the rewards are worth it. DevOps can help your financial institution become more agile, innovative, and customer centric.

The recent surge in popularity of DevOps can be attributed to its ability to boost productivity, reduce costs, facilitate rapid adoption of emerging technologies, promote seamless collaboration among diverse teams, and significantly lower time to market (TTM). But some skeptics question whether DevOps can truly provide a competitive advantage. In this article, we will debunk common misconceptions related to DevOps in financial services and reveal the reality behind them.

DevOps Myths and the Reality Behind Them

DevOps has its fair share of myths and misconceptions that can hinder its adoption and effectiveness. Let’s explore these DevOps myths and uncover the truth behind each one, shedding light on the real value that DevOps brings to the world of software development and IT operations.

Myth 1 – DevOps Focuses on IT, Neglecting Project Management

One common misinterpretation is that DevOps has no connection to project management, which involves ensuring tasks are completed on time and within budget. In reality, understanding DevOps means bringing together business and IT to drive change. Managing projects with a DevOps mindset involves having a flexible master plan that can adapt to changing needs. For financial services (FinServs), it’s a good idea to have a plan that can adjust to shifts in technology trends and market demands.

DevOps seeks to revolutionize IT operations by holding all stakeholders responsible for the entire product lifecycle, such that there is no discrepancy in the continuous delivery/deployment process. This not only reduces Time to Market (TTM), but also instils principles of continuous integration and improvement into the organization’s culture. Combining software development agility with a comprehensive approach, using tools like Kanban, can yield the true benefits of high-velocity development at scale.

The Scrum methodology has long been a cornerstone of software development, meticulously tracking progress on individual components to maintain sprints and prevent setbacks. Effective project management is, therefore, an essential aspect of the DevOps culture, enabling the realization of incremental value by addressing procedural bottlenecks.

Myth 2 – Automation is Just a Step in the Process

Automation, while undeniably crucial, is not a standalone solution or a single milestone in the DevOps journey. It’s a powerful tool that can significantly enhance quality and deployment efficiency by eliminating manual tasks that are prone to human error. Infrastructure automation, whether through Kubernetes or Terraform, ensures that your team of developers possesses all the necessary information before making changes, allowing them to focus on writing code rather than managing configurations.

However, it’s important to know that certain aspects cannot be fully automated. For example, skilled individuals are needed to configure infrastructure, allowing for necessary adjustments without relying solely on scripts.

There are some critical aspects of automation:

  • An automated test suite to verify if everything functions as expected before a production release.
  • Automated deployment processes to expedite releases.

Without these foundational components, diving headfirst into automation can prove counterproductive. Concerns around automating financial services often stem from fears of potential financial losses. Such fears are, however, often unfounded. When objectives are quantified in advance, subjected to return on investment (ROI) analysis, and tested within a robust system, the risk of loss diminishes significantly with automation.

Myth 3 – FinServ Software and Hardware Environments are Incompatible with DevOps

It’s important to consider the software and hardware environments of FinServ companies when aiming to leverage DevOps for improved application delivery. Simply changing development processes does not guarantee improved customer outcomes. The reality is that sometimes there is a disconnect between theoretical effectiveness and practical performance.

Another misconception arises from the belief that new technologies, such as Docker containers, could effortlessly replace existing infrastructure systems without requiring any modifications. Unfortunately, this notion is untrue, as many organizations rely heavily on legacy systems. These legacy systems often require significant upgrades before integrating with modern cloud tools and aligning with DevOps principles.

The challenge lies not in the inherent compatibility of FinServ and DevOps but in the hasty and misguided nature of transformations. The security of FinServ infrastructure is not compromised by embracing cloud-native development.

Myth 4 – DevOps Hinders Compliance

Compliance should not be seen as an obstacle to DevOps. Instead, it should be an integral part of the DevOps process. Compliance goes beyond rule-following. It is about building customer trust and safeguarding data. Embracing DevOps brings Information Security (InfoSec) into the fold right from the start, simplifying compliance procedures down the line. When this mindset is embraced throughout an organization, managing information security becomes more streamlined because everyone understands what needs to be done, when to do it, and why.

Automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but the continuous delivery aspect of the DevOps culture relies on automation for seamless compliance. Tools like Jenkins can be employed to make entire pipelines compliant, rather than addressing compliance on a release-by-release basis, ensuring robust security measures. The DevSecOps principle, which emphasizes integrating security from the inception of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), is considered benefits, according to 96% of the respondents in a people survey. In fact, DevOps adoption has enabled FinTech and traditional banking firms to offer secure and uninterrupted services to their clients.

Myth 5 – DevOps is a ‘Plug and Play’ Solution

DevOps has certainly become a widely recognized term, especially with the surge in popularity of Linux and open-source technologies. However, it’s essential to understand that, while there are some similarities between traditional IT operations and DevOps, they fundamentally differ in their approaches and methodologies.

In traditional IT, the focus is often primarily on application development, with limited consideration given to other critical factors like security and system availability. This narrow focus can lead to complications when introducing new systems or planning upgrades.

In contrast, DevOps is a custom-tailored solution designed to enhance overall business efficiency by optimizing the available tools and ensuring they align closely with the company’s specific goals and needs. Building a thriving DevOps culture places significant emphasis on collaboration, risk management, and fostering an environment of innovation.

DevOps strives for robustness and scalability by promoting cross-functional collaboration and maintaining transparent communication, both of which are crucial elements for its successful implementation.

Rise Above the Myths & Embrace DevOps in Financial Services

The adoption of DevOps within the financial services sector should stem from a deep understanding of its value rather than a mere obligation. The financial industry places a premium on well-structured end-to-end processes due to the high stakes involved in their operations. In a bid to keep up with evolving trends, imposing centralized controls can stifle innovation, impeding overall growth and progress.

Do you need practical guidance for navigating these challenges and unleashing the power of DevOps? Opus has the expertise and insights to help you seamlessly and successfully implement DevOps tailored to the unique demands of the financial services domain. To begin your journey towards increased efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness in the evolving financial industry landscape, contact us today!

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