United Overseas Bank (UOB) is investing in technologies and technologists as it enhances the way in which it serves customers and drives performance. This includes deepening UOB’s Agile development and DevOps capabilities.
Andrew Mulligan, Head of DevOps and Application Management, Group Technology and Operations at UOB says, “While DevOps is not new, in recent years we have seen significant acceleration thanks to the new tools and technologies available. At UOB, Agile and DevOps practices are a key part of our strategic technology roadmap.”
Mulligan cites the example of TMRW, UOB’s digital bank designed for ASEAN’s digital generation, which leverages DevOps and Agile methodologies. TMRW was launched in Thailand in March 2019 and is the first mobile-only digital bank in Southeast Asia.
In the lead-up to the launch of TMRW, UOB’s technologists delivered more than 600 builds per fortnightly sprint, which would not have been possible without DevOps.
There are three pillars to UOB’s DevOps strategy:
1. Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) for software and infrastructure deployment. This enables UOB to compile, to build and to deploy developments in an efficient, repeatable and automated manner.
2. Application performance management that encourages greater agility and gives developers instant feedback throughout the development lifecycle. Areas of focus are code quality, security (SAST and DAST) and monitoring the impact of recent changes in production and pre-production environments.
3. Cloud and virtual orchestration that brings together multiple partners: the Bank’s infrastructure teams, design and development teams to drive its cloud, microservice and containerisation capabilities.
Mulligan states, “For our digital bank TMRW, developers no longer wait for a server. Any team is able to self-provision a development server with the correct configuration and to set up in a few minutes.”
He believes that one of the key differentiators in the way UOB organizes CI/CD is that the Bank has a centralised delivery toolset which projects are able to draw upon and to leverage. This means that UOB can tap the benefits of a cost-effective, scalable and repeatable software delivery mechanism which meets regulatory and security requirements through the full lifecycle of a project.
Mulligan notes that “the transition of the deployment pipeline across to the development teams also enables a great deal of flexibility. Our developers are incredibly creative and many of their innovative solutions designed in these project pipelines are integrated into the central DevOps suite of tools for everyone’s benefit.”
Mulligan is currently expanding his team in the areas of engineering, integration, testing and deployment. Candidates do not have to have previous banking experience but a deep knowledge of the relevant technologies is essential.
“What is important is that we have a team of people who are eager to learn, suggest new ideas and are not afraid to challenge the status quo. When people have good ideas, they’ll receive the full support from their colleagues and management.
“What’s great about the UOB DevOps space is there is a lot of flexibility and a chance to really make a difference. Moreover, we are introducing new capabilities on a monthly basis. The expectations are high and the opportunity for growth is massive. It is a great time to join us!”