Case Study

Building a cloud operations mindset in the financial sector: A diary of change

Hear stories and see examples of how two large legacy financial institutions that were already 'multi-cloud' finally adopted a cloud operating model mindset to match their modernization ambitions.

Christian Bergner, a lead cloud architect at Controlware, knows what a typical big bank or large financial institution looks like in their IT department:

  • Tons of departments in siloes, not talking

  • An innovation and investment logjam

  • High pressure from management to get results fast

And just because they've been in the public cloud for years, they think they've already modernized. When in reality the company is bogged down in:

  • A widespread on-premises mindset

  • Network-oriented design thinking

  • A very complex setup of the existing public cloud landing zones (if they exist at all)

  • Account and privilege provisioning that is sluggish and heterogeneous

Sounds fun, right? 

This is the state of banks that have been "in the cloud" for years. Yet their mindset is still stuck in the on-prem, ticket-based world of the 2000s. How did Christian's cloud integrators get a large organization like this to have its mindset meet its new cloud-native technologies?

»How to Modernize a Dusty Financial Institution

The first step is getting departments to finally talk. Get almost every single function around the same table to talk. No team is too small.

That meant:

  • Networking

  • Security

  • DNS

  • Firewall

  • Cloud (AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud operators)

  • Architecture

  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance

  • Cryptography

  • CI/CD

The second step is adopting an iterative approach to products, because changes are coming in on a weekly basis at most of these companies. Take a WIP approach so that individuals can pull new tasks independently when their previous task is finished instead of waiting for someone to give them a new task. Classic project management should be phased out. 

Make tasks transparently visible to be prioritized clearly by stakeholders, and go live with new products earlier than in the past, using MVPs.

Instead of inundating engineers with new technologies, start off with technologies known to most on the teams, and then add new technologies over time.

»2 Projects that Exemplified Change

For the second half of the talk, Christian takes the audience through a few examples of this modernization process in action. The two projects that they applied this new cloud operating model to were:

All of the technical details are discussed in the second half of the video.

More resources like this one

  • 2/3/2023
  • Case Study

Automating Multi-Cloud, Multi-Region Vault for Teams and Landing Zones

  • 1/5/2023
  • Case Study

How Discover Manages 2000+ Terraform Enterprise Workspaces

  • 12/13/2022
  • White Paper

A Field Guide to Zero Trust Security in the Public Sector

  • 9/26/2022
  • Case Study

How Deutsche Bank onboarded to Google Cloud w/ Terraform