The Weakest Link in DevOps for Financial Services
In many instances, though, this significant investment of time and resources simply isn’t producing measurable outcomes that matter to the broader financial services organization. Developers may be coding faster and new operating efficiencies may be realized, but little else has changed. Teams are simply unable to move the needle in support of core business strategies that determine success or failure in the marketplace.
Why the disconnect? Often those assigned to IT transformation projects work in isolation. They have no way of knowing whether they are delivering what customers need, when and how they need it. What’s more, they are unable to deliver the metrics and feedback needed by product development and strategy teams to guide continuous improvement and innovation.
Is it any surprise that during tough times, transformation teams are often among the first on the chopping block in the financial services space? They have simply been unable to demonstrate that the significant investments made in their work are worth it.
A 2-Step Solution
If your DevOps team is committed to modernization, consider this two-step approach to resolving the disconnect between the work you do and the core business you serve.
First, don’t work with blinders on. Broaden your mindset and involve all critical stakeholders, from business strategists and developers to operations specialists and customer-facing support teams. Engaging this broader group of constituents can help you gather multiple perspectives on what success looks like and where you need to focus your time and attention. You can determine what outcomes truly matter to your organization and what criteria you need to monitor to demonstrate the value you produce.
Second, it’s time to rethink testing and the role it plays in your organization. Adopt an automated, technology-agnostic platform that can provide continuous feedback to everyone on your expanded team, not just developers writing code.
The experiences of a global 500 banking and finance company show why a broadened approach to testing matters. The company was treating testing as an event, part of a linear application development process. Projects were prioritized, code was written and testing was conducted to determine whether the work was bug-free.
Test creation and maintenance relied on manual effort, making it impossible to keep up with the continuous code development of agile teams. In addition, proprietary testing tools were difficult to use. It was impossible to shift left for continuous integration of fully tested code early in development. And it was impossible to shift right to monitor and learn from application performance and customer experiences.
As a result, the company lacked a continuous loop of predictive insights and feedback that could be accessed and used by stakeholders across multiple geographic locations to advance the priorities of the business.
The bank rethought its approach and adopted a new artificial intelligence-powered platform based on open source standards. Now all stakeholders can run tests and monitor services from anywhere, with tools that are easy for anyone to use. And they can do so without sensitive data ever leaving their network. They have the insights they need to create focus and deliver results that matter.
Making a Smart Investment
If you’re ready to broaden your DevOps mindset and make the move to continuous testing, keep the following tips in mind. Look for an open source, enterprise-ready test automation environment that is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with your existing testing tools. In addition, insist on the following features that will help you broaden the strategic impact of your testing and monitoring program:
Single-pane business insights: Select a solution that helps you keep everyone on the same page, enabling a continuous flow of predictive insights and feedback that is easily accessed and understood. Make certain you can track trends from multiple builds and can share interactive test results and graphs with all your teammates and stakeholders.
On–demand scalability: Many legacy tools have limited load-generation capacity. Look for a solution that can help you overcome that hurdle. You should be able to upload tests and emulate network conditions on demand across multiple geographies, while simulating millions of virtual users.
Decentralization: Your new test environment should let you broaden your testing program by shifting both left and right as you orchestrate new releases. Make certain you can easily broker new automated tools for continuous monitoring and empower all stakeholders to use them. This democratic approach will help you overcome manual testing bottlenecks and promote faster intervention when issues arise.
Self-service test creation: Make certain the user interface for your new platform is “load and go,” with no proprietary languages or special skills required. Anyone should be able to create small-scale, self-service tests from a local machine, then seamlessly reuse the same tests at scale via the cloud to accelerate test automation as part of your continuous delivery pipeline.
The Payoff for Financial Services Firms
It’s time to make certain your transformation efforts are headed in the right direction and that your team isn’t working in isolation from the broader business. Expand your mindset and your toolset to encompass key stakeholders and to align with your organization’s business strategy.
Embed test automation into every activity across your software delivery life cycle and create a continuous feedback loop that informs planning, development and operations. When you do, you can turbocharge velocity, improve quality, boost efficiency and keep pace with customer expectations, all while supporting what matters most to the success of your enterprise.