The digital transformation of the banking sector and financial services market has placed IT and software at the core of an industry that has generally lagged in its progress. However, certain industry leaders have transformed that stigma by initiating and implementing the successful transformation to DevOps and Continuous Delivery, providing a model for other large companies to emulate.
One of these dynamic leaders is Carlos Goncalves, Global Chief Information Officer of Societe General (SocGen), one of the largest banks in the world, with almost 150,000 employees in over 50 countries. Gocalves, who was named European CIO of the year in 2015, has spearheaded a transformation toward cloud, Continuous Delivery, and SOA that has cut both costs and time to market in half over the last five years.
Continuous Delivery lies at the heart of the bank’s operating model because “we can adapt and innovate faster than the competition, while attracting the best talents to continuously deliver value to our customers,” according to Goncalves, who presented his story at the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona last month.
“Continuous Delivery has given the bank the freedom transition from a high workload, waterfall-based approach, and an unsatisfied user base, to a repeatable process that is dramatically faster and more flexible. Continuous Delivery allowed them to increase the value of their deliverables while reducing stress, risk, and cost,” – an article on DZone by XebiaLabs CMO Gottfriend Sehringer.
Since adopting agile practices in 2011, the bank has trained 1,500 employees in agile and DevOps, experienced a 45% reduction in time to market, and cut the IT total cost of ownership in half. This is proof, according to Goncalves, that the French multinational bank has moved from an outdated model to become an industry trailblazer.
By providing agility in the operating model with Continuous Delivery, Goncalves says that he could subsequently implement agility in architecture (digital transformation), infrastructure (cloud), and finally, in human resources.
Goncalves gave over some words of wisdom for companies starting their transition during his talk, as he insisted on being careful to include the business management side of the company in the process.
“I thought at the beginning it was mainly an IT transformation, but it's a business transformation," he said. "It took me almost a year to realize. I should have sat down with the business side earlier, and if we had them on board from the start, we would have moved a lot faster. You have to share the vision between the business and IT; if you don't, it will fail.”
Goncalves concluded that agility is key to attract, develop, motivate, and retain the best people. “Try to find the people who, when you share the vision, they are ready to go with you. That is what will make you a success."