Home Success Story How does Barclays Use DevOps? – A Success Story

How does Barclays Use DevOps? – A Success Story


Barclays is a British Universal Bank that aims to aid its customers and even small businesses with the help of retail banking services. It also supports larger businesses and institutions by offering corporate and investment banking services.

This financial services industry is located in London, United Kingdom, and has around 129,000 employees. Even though everything was going smoothly, Barclays felt the need to become capable enough to get customer feedback early and often and then act accordingly. This is the most important factor in making an organization competitive and that is when Barclays decided to adopt DevOps.

In this article, we shall talk about how Barclays was able to implement DevOps in their entire organization and whether it was worth its time, effort, and money or not.

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How it all started?

For some time, Barclays has been facing industrial and competitive pressure and they felt the need to develop a business that is more responsive than ever. According to Simon Cashmore, the head of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) middleware engineering at Barclays;

They always wanted to become the bank of the future and to be able to do that; they needed to update both their IT environment and culture. They must learn to take advantage of whatever tools they have and then hire the best banking talent from millions. Similarly, they also felt to be more dynamic and show extraordinary results while producing applications. Moreover, they wanted to make the most out of their underlying hardware and software. And thus to answer all these requirements, DevOps was the only viable option.

How was DevOps implemented?

Barclays had to spend around 18 months trying to implement and adopt DevOps and making their staff gets used to it. Everyone at Barclays knew the importance of DevOps and that if they were to mishandle it, the chances of mishandling of culture were high. So the entire organization joined forces and seized on this maxim and tried to get things straight and foremost through its culture.

The aim was to leave no corner of the company that would be without DevOps and this is precisely what happened.

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One thing that is very important to mention is that DevOps practices were started implementing in every IT department. And this was not the end, DevOps was then expanded to all other areas of the business. Be it HR or audit, investment bank or compliance. Similarly, retail banks or security, or any other area there had to adopt DevOps practices. And this is exactly what Barclays decided to do “To implement a comprehensive DevOps everywhere”.

Was it costly?

Adopting DevOps had been a rollercoaster ride for everyone at Barclays in terms of everything. The amount of commitment they had to give in and the strategic spending didn’t come cheap. But given the circumstances that put Barclays, a financial service sector under immense competitive pressure from their competitors, they had to adopt new and more efficient Fintech strategies.

And thus Barclays made it possible for 10,000 employees to get trained anew. As per the cost is concerned, the spending on agile practices rose from 4% to 50% and even more. But as a result, the company now has around 800 teams working and this accounts for the world’s largest and fastest agile adoption.

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Common challenges faced while implementing DevOps:

Financial companies were the slowest to embrace DevOps and they usually had to face different challenges while implementing it. Below we have listed down some of the very common challenges that every financial company would have faced including Barclays;

  • Integrating with third parties was very difficult.
  • There were many restrictions on secured networks.
  • Strong ACLs models were a challenge as well.
  • Moreover, DevOps practices were also viewed as risk factors to security.

Related: Who is a DevOps Engineer? Key Responsibilities, Skills & Salary

Advantages of using DevOps:

Adopting DevOps had its advantages. Everybody knew that innovation and disruption are at their peak and if companies don’t adapt to the change, it is highly unlikely they’ll survive. So, adopting DevOps made things easier for Barclays and soon the results started to shine bright;

  • The new DevOps approach allowed the Barclays developers to work more efficiently in releasing new updates and features.
  • Self-service capabilities led to a decrease in the provisioning time from weeks to just hours. This gave the IT staff a lot of spare time to work on something more valuable. Instead of just focusing on their routine tasks, they started to work on new projects often.
  • Through continuous development, the technical and business team at Barclays worked together to meet customer and market demands even more quickly and efficiently.
  • By updating its IT infrastructure and adopting DevOps, Barclays improved its overall efficiency and agility to innovate faster and that is how it managed to stay competitive.
  • Overall, all these improvements allowed the bank’s internal users not only in London but worldwide to work more effectively.

Other benefits included;

  • Reduced code complexity.
  • Deployment cycles got shorter in length.
  • DevOps led to increased throughput.
  • Implementing DevOps led to higher happiness in teams as they were able to work together under controlled circumstances.
  • This resulted in reduced code complexity.

Final Thoughts:

Ever since Barclays implemented DevOps entirely, they were able to process payments that make up for 30% of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product. With that, the developer’s morale and code quality also increased and all the credit went to DevOps. It significantly lessened the complexity of their code which led to a reduction in delivery risk and all this ultimately improved the overall quality of their services. Therefore, it is safe to say implementing DevOps has been great for Barclays.