DevOps is gaining ground everywhere. By offering a route to releasing software faster, with fewer errors, it can give companies which adopt it an immediate advantage. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can just buy or decide to do tomorrow. Instead, it’s a shift that needs the right guidance to become reality.
But while there are significant challenges and costs to adopting DevOps, the benefits are too great to ignore in the financial industry – as are the risks of not delivering value to customers quickly enough, and losing customers to competitors or new fintech disruptors.
As the 2017 State of DevOps Report from DORA and Puppet shows, companies and organizations which embrace DevOps can typically deploy changes, updates and improvements 46 times more frequently. Their change failure rate is also 5 times lower, and they can recover from failures when they do occur 96 times faster.
In the financial services sector specifically, there are three main drivers for adopting DevOps.
Increasing the speed of delivery
Financial services companies are under increasing pressure to release software faster. Whether it’s new entrants to the market such as mobile-only banks, or the likes of Apple and Google entering the mobile payments space, or increased investment in fintech start ups, change is afoot.
Adopting DevOps practices has been proven to significantly increase the speed of delivery, with high IT performers deploying multiple times per day, and low performers deploying once a week or even once a month.
In its 2015 report, DevOps and the Cost of Downtime, IDC calculated that, on average, infrastructure failures cost large enterprises $100,000 per hour. The 2016 Cost of Data Center Outages report from the Ponemon Institute goes further, indicating the cost of unplanned outages in the financial services industry is the highest of any business sector, and more than double that of the public sector.
In an ever-more competitive industry, today’s financial institutions can’t afford these costly mistakes. Especially when DevOps practices have been proven to significantly reduce downtime, as mentioned above, with the mean time to recovery (MTTR) of high IT performers 96 times faster than low performers.
The financial services industry is one of the most highly regulated sectors in the world. While introducing DevOps may at first appear to be the antithesis of such regulations, the opposite is true.
DevOps practices allow for greater risk management, for example, with small, iterative changes being thoroughly tested by processes like continuous integration. This in turn leads to levels of confidence far higher than the traditional software development cycle. The 2017 State of DevOps report also found that high performers spend 50% less time remediating security issues than low performers.
How can you take advantage?
The drivers for adopting DevOps are clear, as are the penalties for not doing so. Fortunately, it’s easier than it first appears to take advantage. The key is to take small steps rather than trying to do everything at once.
If you’re not already doing so, version controlling code changes is a good starting point. By maintaining one source of truth for code changes, it encourages collaboration, reduces errors, and maintains a record of who changed what, when, and why. Once people are accustomed to it, you can then think about moving on to the next stage.
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