There’s no shortage of DevOps stories, but every so often, one blows me away, like the one I heard last week at the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona. Societe Generale, one of the world’s largest banks with almost 150,000 employees in over 50 countries, is a story about a broad-ranging, comprehensive, hugely successful transformation that provides a model for other large organizations wanting to realize the benefits of DevOps and Continuous Delivery.
Continuous Delivery Is the New Normal
Almost 6,000 CIOs and senior IT executives came together for the Symposium to discuss how to best lead their organizations towards digital transformation and compete in an increasingly software-driven world. Carlos Goncalves, Global CIO of Societe Generale, gave an inspiring presentation about the digital journey he charted. For Societe Generale, Continuous Delivery has become the “new normal” and a cornerstone of the company’s strategy.
His story started five years when he went Agile in response to the massive business change the financial services market was experiencing. Over the course of the years that followed, Societe Generale based their transformation on four “agility” major pillars:
- Continuous delivery for agility in the operating model.
- Digital transformation for agility in the architecture.
- Cloud for agility in the infrastructure.
- Talent management for agility in human resources.
Carlos Goncalves, Global CIO of Societe Generale, presented his Four Pillars of Agility at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Barcelona, Spain.
According to Carlos, “Continuous Delivery is at the heart of our operating model.” In fact, it was Continuous Delivery that gave them the freedom to transition from a high-workload, Waterfall-based approach and an unsatisfied user base, to a repeatable process that is dramatically faster and more flexible, and it was Continuous Delivery that allowed them to increase the value of their deliverables while reducing stress, risk, and cost.
The Rewards Are Worth the Work
Today, Societe Generale reaps the rewards from this five-year journey with an impressive list of benefits that has not only changed the IT organization but is delivering the business benefits this huge bank needs to be well positioned for the future of the digital economy. To date, their single Continuous Delivery platform supports 500 applications resulting in a 45% reduction in time-to-market and producing 10% savings in their (very considerable) operating budget.
If that’s not compelling enough, Societe Generale’s IT group is enabling the business to move much faster by providing more applications in a shorter period of time — without burning out their employees.
Key Success Factors for Continuous Delivery
Later that day, Carlos joined Tim Buntel, VP of Products from XebiaLabs, for a discussion about what he as a CIO sees as the key success factors for Continuous Delivery at enterprise scale. Below are Tim’s questions, each followed by a summary of Carlos’ answer.
As you implement your DevOps transformation, how do you measure progress?
It’s important to establish two sets of indicators. The first is the transformation itself. In other words, you need to measure how fast you’re moving towards the transformation. The second indicator is about the business value — what is the time to market from idea to production, including sprint velocity and quality?
What information do you report about the work to your business colleagues?
The return on investment (ROI) of the effort is extremely important for others in the organization. They need to know the impact that each project is having. The key here is to share progress on an ongoing basis. For example, you could present a progress report every week to the business owners so they can see and be part of the improvements.
How do you create incentives for your teams?
This is actually pretty straight-forward and relates directly back to the first point about measuring progress: 50% of our financial bonuses are based on achievement of those indicators. Plus, there’s significant value for the team in working with modern practices. Agility is key if you want to attract, develop, motivate and retain the best people.
How do you plan and prioritize what’s next?
We prioritize the business cases where the ROI will occur in the same year. It’s no longer a question of how to convince people that we should do DevOps and Continuous Delivery, but a matter of when and in what sequence.
For more about Societe Generale’s Continuous Delivery implementation and how they’re managing 100,000 application deployments annually, check out the case study With XebiaLabs, Societe Generale Achieved Strong Value and Powerful Benefits for IT and Business Lines.