Lloyds Banking Group adopts DevOps to accelerate digital plans

Lloyds Banking Group has adopted a DevOps software development approach to help simplify IT processes and achieve its digital transformation plans.

The bank is currently in the middle of a major transformation programme that aims to reduce its operational complexity and put digital at the heart of its business. To support this, it recently launched its own DevOps team to lead the change within its Digital Banking division, part of a strategy to enable a lean development and delivery model.

Speaking at 'Forrester Forum for Technology Management Leaders' in London, Jake McCarthy, Group Infrastructure Architecture CTO and DevOps lead at Lloyds Banking Group, said that automation of IT service delivery was helping to accelerate change at the bank.

"We have got challenges. Our company is complex and difficult to manoeuvre: it is like steering a big tanker, things can take time to move. But we have got all of these new challenges coming as part of the digital age which are just being touched upon," McCarthy said.

"What we have been looking at within Lloyds Banking Group is how are we transforming the business. One of the things that will really accelerate [that transformation] is DevOps."

DevOps is the term used to describe the closer collaboration between developers and operations staff, with the goal of reducing friction between the siloed parts of the business and speeding software development. The methodology can help improve software quality and reduce costs.

DevOps typically relies on implementing a range of tools, such as configuration management software including Puppet and Chef to automate server provisioning across virtual machines. For Lloyds this has also involved implementing service virtualisation tools from CA Technologies to help cut app development costs and reducing testing times.

"There are a lot of components you will have within your organisation that you will need to join together [for DevOps]. Key to these are things like server automation, code release automation, having integrated monitoring and scaling autonomously. Then you start to move into this private cloud world, and you don't have to wait six months for a server any more."

However, McCarthy noted that the challenge with adopting the DevOps approach is not simply one of technology. Breaking down the cultural and organisational silos that have developed between the different parts of the business must be addressed, and requires a shift in mentality within the business.

"One of the most important things is actually getting these teams to work together, not just speeding up the process, and that is where is the mindset comes in. DevOps is not an evolution, it is a revolution. So companies and their executives will have to change their mindsets to allow this."

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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