DevOps advisory provider of the year — Tata Consultancy Services

Partnership and progress with ING

ING is recognised as a leader in Agile and DevOps delivery among European banks. The partnership of ING’s Belgian subsidiary with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been an important part of its success in its move toward continuous app delivery.

Netherlands-based ING started its transition to full automation of software development two years ago, driven by the conviction that increased app delivery time will equate to increased market share. ING has said it has established the viability of the virtualised test environments it has developed, and is now rolling out the automation process across around 1,000 different development teams around the world.

TCS has been working with ING Belgium since 2011 and last year the team began work on the plans for continuous delivery as part of the broader DevOps transformation project. The collaboration has been working so smoothly that, according to Jorge Garcia Abadia, head of IT testing, IT tooling and life cycle management ING Belgium, he does not distinguish between TCS consultants and internal bank employees. “I came from the consulting business myself, and I was surprised that when I joined the bank the team was basically fully integrated,” said Garcia Abadia. “Of our four key systems architects, half are from TCS and half are from ING. I consider this a very positive feature of our collaboration.”

The starting point for the project was a review to identify those apps most suited for automation. Some of the apps with most frequent releases were selected for pilot projects. After the first few successful pilots, TCS collected metrics to establish what worked and what did not, and built an automation heat map to see which applications were most ready to be automated.

“We wanted to see how quickly and how often releases were deployed, as well as increased application maturity,” said Karamsetty Prabhakar, TCS’s head of Quality Engineering and Transformation in Europe. “With those metrics in hand we could go to different ING app teams and show them what they could gain from implementing automation, and we started to collect requests.”

The next step was to implement a strategy to eliminate all manual hand-offs to achieve continuous delivery. Front-end applications, which were the most suitable for a Java continuous delivery pipeline, were automated first. “Last year we on-boarded around 35 ING app teams to the continuous delivery platform,” said Prabhakar. “This year we are set to increase that number threefold. Other geographies are interested in implementing continuous delivery, so we will also be giving them a hand.”

ING confirms the dramatic improvement in productivity and delivery times. Umut Inal, manager of IT tooling at ING Belgium, said that before the transition to DevOps, the subsidiary committed around app 50 deployments a month. This has now grown to between 700 and 800 a month, a number that would be impossible to reach without the automation pipeline created with the help of TCS, he said.

“In order to enable these kind of incremental deployments you need the tooling required to be Agile,” added Inal. “We use Jenkins, Sonar Cube, Nolio, Selenium, and similar tools for the Microsoft development environment.” A key challenge in any transformation of this scale is how to meet the surge in demand for developers skilled in the right toolsets for automation, he said. “But with TCS it takes us a matter of weeks to interview and onboard people. If we had tried to source automation specialists from the market it would have slowed down the speed which we ramped up on. It would have also been less cost effective as we use a mix of onsite and offshore people working on the same backlog.”

The end result is shorter development times that allow ING Belgium to respond to marketplace developments more quickly and incorporate customer feedback in app development, said Garcia Abadia. “By using a shift-left approach you can correct bugs much earlier on. This is much less difficult than correcting a fault in a nearly finished product and saves time and money.”

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