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HSBC standardises CI/CD platform for 23,000 developers

HSBC has signed a fresh multi-year agreement with software delivery automation specialist CloudBees to that it says will “improve productivity” for a global army of over 23,000 developers working for the multinational. Terms were not disclosed, but the contract comes as HSBC aggressively overhauls its global IT practices — the bank vowed in 2020 to slash software costs by $900 million and broader IT costs by $1.2 billion by 2022.

The deal comes less than eight weeks after CloudBees poached HSBC’s Global CTO Dinesh Keswani from the bank — hiring the executive as its CTO in a coup for the Bay Area-headquartered company; a continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) specialist founded in 2010 by former JBoss CTO Sacha Labourey

(CI/CD is a method for introducing automation into the stages of application development and deployment, with the aim of improving the speed and security with which code gets deployed to production by DevOps teams.)

See also: HSBC writes down $1.3 billion in “software intangibles”, vows accelerated tech investment.

The CloudBees platform.

The two firms have a long-standing relationship. HSBC also became a strategic investor in the company in 2019. The contract comes as as HSBC faces challenges with software delivery at a colossal global enterprise scale, with siloes and lack of standardisation sometimes hampering speed of delivery as well as bank-wide visibility.

“As customers shift more and more of their banking online, software is at the heart of everything we do at HSBC,” said Ian Haynes, CTO shared services and cloud at HSBC, adding in a release shared November 1, 2021: “We are digitizing the bank and innovating faster to improve the customer experience while prioritizing security and compliance… standardization and automation across our entire software delivery system will enable our developers to get new digital products and services into our customers’ hands quickly and securely.” 

See also: CloudBees appoints new CEO, eyes IPO, as it continues a pivot from Jenkins to cloud-based SaaS.

“It doesn’t get more massive or more complex than the environment at HSBC,” said CloudBees CEO Stephen DeWitt, who joined as CEO in February 2021. “Our fundamental goal is to help HSBC’s customers get the best and most secure banking experience possible and the way we do that is to make room for developers to write and safely deliver the best code possible and eliminate the tasks and interruptions that get in their way.”

Although the bank had an existing relationship with CloudBees, expanding the contract to ensure access to the “entire suite of capabilities in the CloudBees Platform” will help it “simplify and unify software release automation across the entire global organization and provide governance and audit oversight of high-frequency deployments” the two said in a press release on Monday. (November 1, 2021).

CloudBees has been focussed on building out its SaaS offering in recent years — moving away from a historical focus on enterprise support for open source Jenkins; a server-based system for building, testing, and deploying software towards offering a more unified set of software delivery automation tools sold under a “software delivery management” rubrik spanning CI/CD, application release orchestration (ARO) and beyond.

As founder Sacha Labourey put it to The Stack earlier this year: “As organisations go faster and start pushing changes every day, every every hour, you need a ‘brain’ of software delivery, that’s able to capture all of the signals that are taking place, in your Jira, in your Git and your Jenkins, in production, and so on; to capture all of that.“You’re then able to then ask questions or get insights in real time as to what’s taking place within your organisation; it can be around compliance, it can be around performance, it can be around anything, but if you don’t have that [visibility and control], you just don’t know what’s happening.”

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Ed Targett

Ed Targett is founder of The Stack. He has previously served as editor at Tech Monitor, Computer Business Review, and Roubini Global Economics.

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