Just a few years ago, Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery were just hype in the digital world. Today very few developers can resist trying a CI/CD approach when starting a new big project. Fintech is all about serious and big apps. However, does CI/CD fit in with Fintech so perfectly in practice? What are the pros and cons of CI/CD for Fintech? How do you get the best from this technology and bypass all barriers? See the answers below.
What is CI/CD?
At the end of the last century, the development speed became much slower than the demand for changes and new features. The classic ‘waterfall’ methodology stopped satisfying the needs for speed, fault-tolerance, and security. The big development teams started testing a new approach —Continuous Integration.
The basic benefits of Continuous Integration allow every developer in a team to merge his portion of code into the main branch frequently. Before appearing there, the code passes through automated tests. At the end of the Continuous Integration chain, the newly-built code package is saved to a repository.
Continuous Delivery is the process of readying this code package. It can be a part of a Continuous Integration chain or can be triggered in a separate tool. As a result, automated deployment is a matter of one click (or a command). Today’s philosophy is about making deployment a decision from business people, not a developer. A product owner decides when to release the ready-made feature or version to the public.
The General Scheme of CI/CD
As you see above, there’s also a Continuous Deployment stage, and it is one step further after Continuous Delivery. In this case, it’s not a manual action. A commit triggers the entire chain, and each cycle ends with a ‘value increment’ to production.
At its core, CI/CD concept actualizes the ideology of combining software development and operations (DevOps). It complies with major Agile principles using test automation for quickly debugging the production software version.
DevOps Business Process
The popularity of CI/CD in Fintech is questioned
Some types of Fintech products need to be updated frequently to provide the best customer service and add new features quickly to stay a step ahead of competitors. Others are less sensitive to changes, but still highly demanding to security and fail-safety. The CI/CD architecture helps to have all these goodies in the pocket, so here’s the question: why have some giants still not moved their development to CI/CD?
There are two main reasons:
Rebuilding the existing development and maintenance process in cases of big, heavy apps requires enormous resources. And for some Fintech businesses, it doesn’t make much economic sense. The existing products continue to be maintained in an old-fashioned way, servicing faithful customers. The time, money, and effort for CI/CD implementation are more significant than the potential profit.
There is no practical need to implement CI/CD principles in full. For instance, there is no need for frequent fresh version releases. Ryan Brucker, the CTO at Portfolio Pathway, a web-platform for RIAs, says that “There is no need to use CI in full, as they do not release every cycle to consumers. They just don’t need it for business.”
However, the popularity of using CI/CD has risen along with the increased use of financial services online instead of offline. For instance, according to Editor’s Choice, the number of EU citizens using online banking has doubled from 2009 to 2019. As for American bank users, 89% manage their bank accounts online. By 2024 the number of online and mobile banking users may grow to 3.6 billion globally.
In CI/CD, a fast feedback cycle is critically important. It helps to analyze the usefulness and quality of the new code quickly and featured changes. And there are many more critical benefits of continuous integration and delivery.
1. Quick launch of new features
CI/CD helps to launch updates in a matter of days. Each new update is a powerful competitive advantage. It helps replicate the best competitors’ practices and get ahead in product development by being first to introduce innovations to consumers.
Business value of different development approaches
This benefit of continuous integration is in line with the previous one. By being maintained and enhanced on CI/CD principles, a Fintech product becomes flexible: a new release can be prepared in a few days, or even hours, if some critical demand appears.
3. Deciding right faster
Due to quick and continuous testing, many iterations are much easier to analyze. It’s much easier to ‘try out’ something new and not spend your time and resources working on futureless solutions. In this way, CI/CD saves your company resources.
4. Higher final quality
In CI/CD, automated testing covers the entire product development process. It is hard to achieve the same testing quality and speed using a traditional release approach. All bugs and weaknesses are defined and fixed at the earliest possible stages of development. It is essential for Fintech, as it is highly sensitive to potential failures, and any downtime can cost billions.
5. Automation = Reliability
By being more automated, the development process becomes more reliable. It reduces the risk of human mistakes. The entire development process becomes more productive: the team has more time for intellectual product development instead of doing routine work like searching for bugs. The code behavior is much more predictable, as each small portion of it passes through numerous testing and debugging iterations before going to prod.
Continuous Integration doesn’t get rid of bugs, but it does make them dramatically easier to find and remove.Martin Fowler, Chief Scientist at ThoughtWorks
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While solving some specific problems, every new technology has its drawbacks. There are certain issues with CI/CD for the financial industry.
1. The lack of professionals
Currently, the demand for CI/CD exceeds the supply of skilled and trained specialists. Therefore implementing the methodology at a high-quality level is rather expensive. However, it doesn’t cost much on its own as all the necessary tools for continuous integration can be found on the market and is not costly. It is possible to learn the CI/CD method and train a team to use it properly. However, big companies often don’t want to invest in raising CI/CD specialists from their in-house team.
2. Big upfront investments
It’s all about automation and requires serious efforts to build proper project infrastructure and plan every CI/CD chain step. Mistakes on this stage can cause substantial harm to your finances and reputation. That is why when arranging the CI/CD infrastructure, choosing a suitable set of tools, training the team, and other development preparations require exceptional accuracy, professionalism, and money.
3. Proper coordination between CI and CD
CI/CD combo brings worthy results only after a long and accurate setup of interaction between the DevOps team, engineers, scrum-experts, and company management. The weakest point in CI/CD is the human factor. Effective teamwork cannot be automated or programmed.
What are the problems with CI/CD for Fintech?
With Fintech, just implementing CI/CD practices is not enough. This infrastructure needs constant support. Large financial organizations often have to maintain a few pipelines that can end on different stages of delivery. CI/CD in Fintech is a bit more complicated than in its traditional representation.
It is much easier to set up CI/CD from scratch than to start using CI/CD instead of traditional agile methodology, rebuilding all processes, and adapting existing projects to fit new conditions. Moreover, not all applications can move to CI/CD due to certain architectural peculiarities.
Another huge problem of integrating CI/CD in Fintech is legacy systems. Fintech apps and systems are typically developed for years, and legacy is almost an inevitable problem that CI/CD faces. Due to legacy code, the application often cannot grow fast and be flexible for changes or add-ons.
Solution to the Problem
How to get the best of CI/CD in Fintech?
First of all, you need to deeply analyze if the chosen approach fits your needs and features all necessary implementation resources. If the development speed, stability, improved customer satisfaction, and other advantages of CI/CD are among your priorities, be ready to manage its drawbacks.
Often the move to CI/CD in Fintech starts from some new project, and stakeholders apply for a third-party Fintech development team for its implementation. After the project launch, it turns out that this CI/CD experience, infrastructure, and platform fit other company products. The first project is like a ‘sandbox,’ where qualified professionals work on prototyping, and their findings are then scaled up to the entire organization.
The key factors that help to maximize the benefits of continuous delivery and integration in Fintech are:
The motivation of all project members
The correct choice of CI/CD platform
Well-planned integration of new processes and rules into existing development culture
Reliable and robust hardware base
Highly professional team with prior experience and/or in-depth knowledge in Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery in Fintech
Do you need CI/CD?
CI/CD is currently the best methodology for software development, and more and more Fintech companies have started using it. However, every innovation has its drawbacks and challenges to overcome. The success of each technology can be measured only by the value it provides to the end-user. In this aspect, CI/CD perfectly fits Fintech.
KeyUA experts are ready to help your Fintech business score a success using CI/CD and the best DevOps practices in developing your products. We possess the required knowledge and practical skills to build a powerful CI/CD development structure and deliver the result you expect.
Are you looking for a reliable development partner to modernize your Fintech business by implementing CI/CD? Let KeyUA assist you.Get In Touch!
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