Breaking down the monolith: Embrace microservices to enable agility

By Michael Michaelides, Senior Manager, EY

In today’s financial services marketplace, speed to market, agility, economies of scale and a world-class customer experience are all being mandated by customers. To address evolving consumer demand and the growing digitization of competitors’ business processes, financial institutions must find new ways of innovating to optimize existing operations and achieve significant business advantage at an accelerated pace.

Financial services innovation: competitive advantage in an era of preemptive disruption

The shelf life for existing business models is shrinking while technology is enabling new players with easier entry. The rise of financial technology (FinTech) disrupters and the disintermediation of profitable value chains have caused financial services organizations to fundamentally reexamine their business purpose. The ability of traditional providers to react to change and enable new business models is becoming essential to innovate and remain competitive.

Future in the cloud: the future is now

Cloud-based solutions have reached a tipping point and are no longer considered an “emerging technology.” The time to embrace cloud-based solutions is now. Those who have not embraced the cloud run the risk of being left behind.

Initial financial services cloud adoption has been through a hybrid cloud model. In this model, private clouds are deployed to support core business applications and non-core functions are supported by services acquired through the public cloud. Lack of IT participation in cloud adoption leads to shadow IT organizations, risk exposure and/or an overall lack of control in one’s computing environment. IT must shift its focus to providing a portfolio of trusted, governed cloud solutions that promote a secure, trusted and audit-ready cloud environment.

Evolving from legacy to digital enterprise: breaking down the monolith

Many organizations depend on tightly coupled, monolithic application environments to run core business processes, but the cost to maintain them and the time required to enable new capabilities make it harder to compete in this new future.
To address these legacy challenges and modernize, leading firms are turning to next-generation cloud practices and architecture principles, such as those enabling microservices. These services focus on business capabilities and can accelerate transformational change through continuous deployment practices, greater operational resilience, independent scalability of services and technology heterogeneity.
Moving to microservices is not simple. It’s a journey. Significant investment in infrastructure is required, and the initial returns might be small if the adoption is limited. It requires highly skilled teams, rigorous architecture aligned to portfolio management and enablement through a continuous delivery model. Establishing a solid taxonomy of services is key to laying the right foundation.

End-to-end delivery process automation: moving toward a continuous delivery model

To take advantage of the agility afforded by a cloud and service based architecture, financial services institutions must have the proper continuous integration (CI) or continuous delivery (CD) model in place. CI/CD is a set of techniques for reducing the time, expense and risk of software delivery by releasing small batches of change at frequent intervals, with extensive visibility and traceability.

The move to an agile and a CI/CD model is at times more about cultural change than technology. Organizing capability build across traditional layers of delivery (e.g., development, testing) helps focus this alignment. Additionally, it is critical for an organization to understand the complexity, effort and time required to enable the release of even a single line of code. CI/CD will help streamline this process by removing unnecessary steps that hinder releasing value to the business.

For more information, please contact:
Michael Michaelides, Senior Manager at EY

About EY 

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, or other professional advice. Please refer to your advisors for specific advice.


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