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We’ve all heard the mantra that every company is now a software company. But unlike some of the most successful software companies – including giants Google, Amazon, Netflix and Facebook – many businesses in other industries have yet to adopt the practices and platforms that can enable them to build better and more reliable software, faster.

Banks tend to be among that group. Leaders at financial institutions know they must change to stay competitive with startups, big tech companies and even retailers, not to mention emerging “super-apps” whose functions run the gamut from chat to purchase and bill payments. Close to 80 percent of operations leaders at North American banks believe that their bank’s existence will be threatened if they don’t update their technology to innovate faster and more efficiently, according to recent Accenture research. Evidence that digital transformation is on their minds can be found in EY’s Global Banking Outlook 2018, which notes that it is among 85 percent of all banks’ top three priorities this year.

Of course, it’s one thing to want a digitally mature operation, with integrated front-, middle- and back-office operations supported by data that flows across functions and geographies. Already having it is another. According to the EY study, 62 percent of global banks expect to reach digital maturity by 2020 but only 19 percent say that they currently are maturing or are already a digital leader in 2018.

One critical step to help reach digital transformation and maturity goals, and avoiding the consequences of not doing so, is to commit to the organizational culture of DevOps. In that respect, a bank will be following in the footsteps of the software giants, who not only embraced but propelled the practices behind continuous software delivery, test automation and run-what-you-build models. That’s the key to fast-tracking software release cycles for enhanced banking services – particularly mobile applications that put the user experience front and center to promote increasingly sticky customer connections – and being able to quickly identify and address issues.

The foundation of learning and constantly improving software in concert with feedback mechanisms is where competitive advantage lies. Admittedly, in the highly regulated financial services sphere, it’s not an easy leap to make. Also, practices in the banking industry that keep programmers, security and the operations working in their own silos, could slow progress. Organizations should push for a blended model within existing structures to do smaller releases more often and more quickly.

Jumping Off to DevOps

For those institutions that see DevOps as a leap worth making, it’s important to understand the technology pieces that will help keep the cultural change on track. Service mesh technologies such as Itsio serve DevOps approaches well. As the communications link between modular components, APIs coupled with service mesh facilitate the rapid delivery of new, easy-to-consume, more secure and scalable services without the need for operational centralization.

Container-based technology complements the move to microservice architecture, which are core to the development principles of building smaller and more modular applications. These technologies are often open source and polyglot, which support using the application runtime that makes the most sense for the team without the operational overhead.

To thrive in a world of rapid technology adoption by consumers it is important to not only respond quickly but also nurture the new API distribution channel of banking products and services.

Open Banking, supported by DevOps practices on an open cloud container platform, helps empower organizations to compete and respond to the new reality of rapid technology adoption.

Learn more about applying DevOps here.

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