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Julius Baer’s Software Development Cloud – key to its agile transformation

Julius Baer’s introduction of its Development Cloud two years ago has led to a massive increase in the number of developers working and developing software in the cloud – and increased the speed of its software development capabilities dramatically.

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Agility and development operations (‘DevOps’) have become increasingly important in today’s world – minimising the time-to-market for digital innovations and challenging the best software engineers to come up with solutions centred around fast value creation and customer focus.

Good software engineers demand a state-of-the-art workplace and a flexible working model. With this in mind, Julius Baer already started to engage and collaborate two years ago with Monostream AG to build its own Development Cloud framework on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. 

Since the launch of the pilot, which hosted a team of 40 developers, the project has grown exponentially and now counts more than 900 users across Julius Baer, 30 vendors and 60 projects – and these numbers are still growing continuously. 

According to David Grob, Head Development Pool at Julius Baer, the Development Cloud is an excellent example of how technology can enable high-performing development teams. “The productivity of the teams has increased significantly, the time to set up new environments has dropped from weeks to hours, and our engineers are enabled to work in a fully distributed manner without depending on the Bank’s infrastructure.”

Why use the cloud?

After carefully evaluating how best to improve the efficiency of its software development, the bank opted to launch DevOps from the cloud in order to meet the following key requirements:

  • Anywhere, anytime access: Software engineers must be able to work from anywhere at any time, vendors need to be integrated smoothly, and identities and access must be managed centrally.
  • State-of-the-art development environment: Software engineers need the flexibility to use the best tools and technologies and have full access to the internet and the necessary privileged rights to modify their systems.
  • Employer of choice: The bank wants to maintain its status as the employer of choice, also for software engineers, by providing them with the best possible working environment.
  • Best tools: Julius Baer wants flexibility in designing its toolchain and the option of integrating its preferred products for specific purposes.
  • Agile transformation: The bank’s agile transformation requires the technical foundation of a software factory, enabling modern agile software development and DevOps.
  • Transparent cost and quality management: Agile processes and DevOps require a fully automatic change-build-test-deploy cycle and transparent monitoring of quality, progress and cost.
  • End-to-end automation: A pipeline was required that allows software to be deployed on premise or within the public cloud. 

What's next?

With its Development Cloud, Julius Baer has set the technical foundation for the agile transformation within the bank. This year, the bank is investing in further automation of its software release pipeline with the goal of having a fully automated end-to-end pipeline from development to deployment and production.

From the outset, the bank has been onboarding new projects, vendors and users continuously. The first projects and teams from Singapore already started working in the cloud in August last year and more projects are to follow in Asia. Information Technology has now also started to hire additional integration engineers to cover the high demand for training, support and coaching of the development teams. 

“The software development cloud is an important strategic component for our ambitious agile transformation roadmap,” says Andreas Fahrni, Head Information Technology at Julius Baer. “It underlines our ambition to leverage cloud services as a catalyst for process standardisation and automation and consequently enables the implementation of DevOps capabilities for faster business value creation.”