As insurers and banks become more agile and gain more freedom, they also lose more control. How to stay in the driver’s seat:

In my previous post, I spoke about how Accenture helped a prominent bank navigate the cloud after it started to lose control. How did this happen?

The bank was eager to become more agile and the move brought many benefits. However, it increased the old chasm between ‘change’ and ‘run’ and lowered the focus on discipline, craftsmanship and control—because the bank’s business prioritized time-to-market over productivity and efficiency.

Accenture has seen many organizations, that have implemented agile methodologies, lose control owing to the high autonomy of teams. To help the bank overcome these challenges, we implemented DevOps. DevOps played a key role in fixing these issues because it can do two things.

First, it prescribes the incorporation of operational staff into cross-functional development teams to ensure that the teams have a better understanding of non-functional requirements and operational concerns. By doing this, you ensure that operations concerns are part of development and testing from start.

Second, DevOps introduces reorganized roles and new practices that encourage collaboration across disciplines, and streamlines the release of development, implementation and maintenance phases of the entire software development life cycle.

What is the main lesson to be learnt here? Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. As insurers and banks become more agile and gain more freedom, they also risk losing more control. In this culture of frenetic innovation, a lot of good practices are ignored for the sake of agility and speed—and when the regulator steps in, you end up losing the speed you wished to gain.

Financial services organizations sometimes hold two seemingly competing ideas:

  1. We must go agile.
  2. We must not lose our discipline and craftsmanship.

In the digital world, we can’t go back to the old way where we were overly concerned with things staying the same and not changing too much; but we can’t only focus on time to market either. Insurers need to have a thoughtful, deliberate strategy that considers all the outcomes, not just one.

By moving to the cloud, you move to a modern way of working. You must make sure you’re in control—and automation is part of being in control. With DevOps, insurers can realize immense value, such as improved time to market; improved business value and lower failure rates; reduced business risk though reduction in recovery time; and improved employee satisfaction.

With DevOps, Accenture helped the bank achieve:

  • 93 percent reduction in time to market, from six months to two weeks
  • 45 percent improvement in innovation throughput
  • 75 percent reduction in deployment efforts
  • 80 percent reduction in regression test efforts
  • 70 percent fewer incidents
  • 33 percent reduction in unavailability

It’s no wonder that leading technology companies like Netflix, Amazon, Google, Sony, Etsy and Facebook are leveraging agile and DevOps with high levels of automation to ensure control is built into the design.

In my next post, I’ll offer pragmatic advice to consider when you move your business to cloud. Until then, read our study on cloud investment in the EU or get in touch with me here.

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