FinTechs must live at the cutting edge of innovation. Here’s a look at how DevOps’ best practices can enhance that ability through automation, speed, and improved reliability.
The emergence of new digital technologies has changed the game for the financial industry. Legacy institutions are now expected to provide high-quality services in entirely new areas, such as mobile banking and online customer support. When the new tech is integrated well, it can win over consumers and establish the company as a market leader. Without the right technology, however, banks may struggle to adapt — and could lose customers in the process.
The ability to quickly develop and release new software is necessary for a company’s success, but many are still getting it wrong. Google found that 86% of business professionals now recognize the importance of incorporating digital technologies, yet only 10% feel their company is successful at doing so. To improve, financial institutions (FIs) need a specialized team to support these new digital ventures and should consider a DevOps strategy.
FinTech is as much about technology as it is about financial services. As such, a successful FinTech company — or a payments company that wants to compete in the FinTech market — must devote sufficient resources to IT. A working digital channel is no longer enough. Due to the fast-changing nature of the industry, a FinTech IT team must be able to respond to problems immediately, as well as lead new development.
Traditionally, these responsibilities have been delegated to different specialized teams that work in isolation. Unsurprisingly, when no one has oversight of the full product lifecycle, these silos can lead to inefficient deployment. Lack of communication can result in products that miss the mark as the developers don’t know what the end-users really need. Rollouts can fail because business users don’t understand (or even resist) the technology.
The alternative is to create a single team that is responsible for both development and operations, known as DevOps. When implemented successfully, a DevOps pipeline incorporates product design, building, testing and refinement into one workflow to ensure quicker and more successful releases. Product development becomes a reliable machine.
The first clear benefit of DevOps is how it simplifies what can be a very complex process. Many low-level tasks are crucial for operational success, like backing up databases or configuring servers, but these don’t need human attention. DevOps uses a single pipeline, that automates many of the production stages to reduce human error and allow developers to focus on creative tasks.
Automation can also be used for both service monitoring and recovery. An automated system flags any issues immediately, rather than a manual system relying on humans to suss them out, so IT can respond to problems in a more timely fashion. With the infrastructure in place, developers use microservices within the platform that isolate any issues with new programs. This reduces disruption to other operations, while the collected data can then be used to prevent future errors.
Security and compliance can also be strengthened with a DevOps strategy. As all new products will flow through the same automated pipeline, there is less risk of human error. This approach can be applied to auditing requirements as well; by building those tests into the pipeline, companies can be confident that any problems will be flagged before launch.
Lastly, FIs can be confident that their development resources are appropriately committed to the products that will impact their organization most productively, not on tools that may quickly prove redundant. This is in part because different departments are engaged in the process from the beginning, so the final product is tailored to actual business needs, promoting greater transparency and collaboration, and improving adoption rates.
DevOps teams should design a workflow to best suit their organization’s needs, but there are some universal tools that will promote success. A configuration management system tracks and records all software and hardware assets at all stages of the lifecycle so that IT can easily roll back a problematic product. From a strategy standpoint, adopting an “Infrastructure-as-Code” approach can streamline operations by embracing automation and maximizing the value of company software.
DevOps isn’t a tool, but a strategy. While many useful solutions can help improve performance, building out the process is more important than recruiting new third-party services. Once the pipeline is running smoothly, it may make sense to add new features or enhance existing ones through technology. To begin, however, DevOps teams should focus on establishing a core workflow and ensuring the cloud infrastructure is sufficient to support it.
DevOps is more than just a product development channel. Due to the collaborative nature of the workflow, a DevOps pipeline sets the stage for greater communication and more productive interdepartmental relations. Companies would be wise to take advantage of this setup to promote greater unity within the organization. Similarly, DevOps pipelines collect myriad data through continuous monitoring so companies can put this information to good use. Through clear and measurable metrics, these insights can be used to fuel future product ideas, identify trends, and help foster support for the strategy.
Employing a DevOps strategy will help FinTechs adopt new-age technologies and implement software delivery practices that are essential to thrive in today’s fast-paced payments landscape. With the FinTech industry embracing DevOps with open arms, it is crucial for them to apply the best practices to drive the efforts in the right direction and meet the shifting customer excellence demands.
Reach out to us to know how you can adopt a DevOps strategy that is designed to take your organization to the next level.
We’re giving you a fresh dose of insights, perspectives and the latest trends from the world of payments.