TechXLR8: Building a DevOps culture beyond the IT team

Live at the Cloud & DevOps Summit at TechXLR8,  John Abel, Vice President , Cloud and Innovation for UK, Ireland and Israel hosts a panel discussing DevOps culture beyond the IT team.

The panel consisted of James Green, Vice President, IT Innovation at Societe Generale GB, and Federico Olivieri, Network Automation Engineer at Ticketmaster.

Starting off the discussion the panellists are asked how they are using DevOps within their organisations.

Green answered saying:

“Surprisingly we’re using DevOps across the entire bank. So any software development for internal use…business uses to clients looking at statements, it’s all DevOps.”

Green added that data security must be maintained and thoroughly tested to prevent data leakage as well “mak[ing] sure it is secured and deployed properly.”

In response to the question about the biggest challenge and/or benefits of adopting DevOps, Green stated the biggest challenge was “getting people to adopt and to change, especially with clients and big organisations. Despite this he stated that the benefits of utilising DevOps was “being able to proactively show how we can build features to our customers faster.”

Olivieri explained that DevOps is implemented in Ticketmaster even within the network automation side, but “the biggest challenge is overseeing the networking automation. The team is using classic tools like SSH” and thus changing from that system to a newer one is difficult. On the other hand Olivieri emphasised that the benefit of using DevOps was that it gave the “possibility to manage the network easily”.

Abel then asked the panellists how they have “innovatively” used DevOps differently now than to a few years ago.

Green replied with:

“From a few years ago we never used it…so now we are using it, so it’s helping us pivot. But still we’re doing the pivots region by region.”

Green explained that you cannot just stop everything and change systems at a bank 180 degrees overnight due to the culture change. Conversations are constantly needed in discussing “how it’s [DevOps] good and why it’s good…at the same time you still have to be flexible to whatever the senior management puts up”.

During the latter half of the panel, Abel discussed the three areas that are the hidden “rules of disaster”: culture, religious debate and politics. Abel then posed the question as to how the panellists businesses handle these changes to political debates, religious debates and cultural debates.

Olivieri answered with:

“I use quite a straightforward approach. Basically the best way to show people…is to show them how it works. No big words, no difficult diagrams.”

The subject of using DevOps remotely and its challenges are discussed.

Green had stated

“In the past before I moved to London I was managing a team of developers, whose product was in Hong Kong, sitting in Chicago and all the technologies are here in Paris and London. So trying to manage the time zones and different aspects, just trying to be agile has been…it’s always been a nightmare.”

“But from a management and innovation perspective…it’s a lot about breaking the silence and having a conversation. So it’s almost like you’re building another internal network where it’s initially of “how can I help you” and “what can I do for you” to show them the benefit.”


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