By Kristina Salemyr, Director of Digital Banking in Banqsoft
Transitioning from traditional software development with releases and upgrades every twelve to eighteen months, into a monthly release cycle, has proven to increase quality in the software and ultimately leading to less work with manual testing and customer upgrades. In addition, the new delivery model has also proven to support considerably quicker turn-around times for bug fixing and implementing new features and functionalities.
This has been achieved by making a long-term investment in preparing the technical infrastructure, automating testing and an agile approach when adapting to the new ways of working.
However, changing the entire delivery model is, inevitably, a long-term process. The challenge is often not getting started, but to continue the work to gradually improve the delivery model, circulate knowledge internally and add more customers to the model.
In this article, Kristina Salemyr, Director of Digital Banking in Banqsoft, delves into Banqsoft’s journey to shorter lead times and higher quality software through CI/CD.
A leader in the Digital Banking space today, Banqsoft early understood that in order to stay competitive, it is paramount to provide bank customers with quick deliveries and turnaround times, coupled with providing solutions as services rather than stand-alone IT infrastructure. In order to achieve this, the implementation of routines and processes within the CI/CD framework was a simple decision to make, and Banqsoft’s Executive Board and Management has backed the investment ever since.
Banqsoft’s Journey from a Standalone IT Infrastructure to CI/CD Framework
We started the journey by setting up a task force with technical experts who revisited the architecture and started to modernize and refactor parts of the View21 suite, in order to prepare it for frequent releases. This work included tasks such as building new pipelines and test automation. An important factor in the success of this work has been to make nightly builds of the software and run tests on these in order to identify bugs at an early stage. The feedback loop to the developer became much faster in result of this, and the quality of the code ultimately improved.
The first versions of the CI/CD-enabled solution for Digital Banking in Banqsoft, known as BanqView, was launched to its initial pilot customers in the Fall of 2021. The first upgrade to BanqView was done as a traditional upgrade project and our release team was formed, made up of a task force leader, product manager, release manager, test manager, and business consultant. Together, the team prepared a structure for communication and involvement of the customer during initial set-up.
With this set-up, one pilot customer was selected for starting with monthly upgrades, and in a gradual step-by-step process, additional customers were added. A key aspect in introducing the CI/CD delivery model to our customers has been to clearly communicate about what changes are included in upcoming releases, sharing test results and engaging customer-specific testing on changes from the latest release.
Six months into delivering and upgrading BanqView on a regular basis, we experience many benefits from this new way of working. The general software quality has increased by shortened lead-times from development to test, as well as test automation. Collaboration with our customers have also become even tighter as we now perform upgrades on a regular basis, instead of every 18 months. As a result of this, we are now able to release new features and functions much quicker, and the total time spent on software release and upgrades, both internally at Banqsoft and with the customer, has decreased. Some changes in processes are required at our customers’ IT departments, where irregular upgrade and test projects are replaced with continuous, but more limited testing.
Designed for the Future
Looking ahead to the future, it will be important for Banqsoft to continuously improve our processes and introduce even more automated testing. The day-to-day work of our customer-facing business consultants and testers is inevitably changing – and delivering our software on a continuous basis enables our current and future bank customers to realise their business goals, whether that is growth, efficiency or quality in operations designed for the future to come.
Director of Digital Banking