Barclays, the British multinational banking and financial services giant, recently spent 18 months implementing and adopting agile DevOps working practices.
It’s been said before that if you’re mishandling DevOps, chances are you’re mishandling culture. Barclays has seized on this maxim and resolved itself to get DevOps right first and foremost through its culture.
For Barclays, DevOps would not orchestrate a hostile takeover of working practices, policies, and structures; it would explain its values and goals and convert people to its strategies.
Moreover, after securing buy-in along the entire length of the corporate hierarchy, there would be no corner of the company that would not be transformed by DevOps.
The company did not only incorporate these practices in IT, (it should go without saying that each and every IT department – from application to database – were recreated in the image of DevOps) but in all other areas of the business as well, including HR, auditing, security, compliance, the investment bank, and the retail bank. This is what I mean when I refer to comprehensive DevOps.
That commitment and strategic spend certainly don’t come cheap, but the financial services sector, perhaps more than any other, is under immense competitive pressure, forcing companies to adopt newer and more efficient fintech strategies. Barclays was so committed to the task that over 10,000 employees were trained anew.
“There is a huge amount of disruption and innovation going on at the moment, and companies that do not change will not survive. Its survival of the most adaptable,” said Jonathan Smart, head of development services at Barclays.
Banking is an especially important sector because an outage can have a catastrophic impact. For example, Barclays’ payment processing system handles transactions that equate to 30% of the UK’s GDP every day! Any issues can impact entire economies.
Before implementing the new system, deploying a single piece of code was a 56-day process. Now Barclays pushes updates within a 4-week timeframe. The system has given Barclays a leg up on other firms in the industry which failed to implement their own DevOps solution. Barclays senior management has supported the effort since the start.
“It’s a better way of working. We don’t need any survival anxiety to show it is a better way of working. We know it reduces risk – delivery risk – and we know it increases quality,” added Smart.