As the mortgage industry increasingly adopts digital transformation, you need to apply the latest tools and techniques to ensure project success.
For several years, DevOps has been the go-to methodology for driving production at scale by allowing developers and operations teams to work together. Through continuous integration, new builds could be entered into production without waiting for an entire pipeline to complete. Now, the emerging trend of platform engineering makes DevOps tools and processes reusable, repeatable, and more reliable.
In 2023, 81% of financial institutions believe digital transformation to be a top priority. This follows the trend of increasing demand for online services during the pandemic, which led to the rise of digital lending platforms at the user’s end and mortgage process automation at the backend.
Platform engineering and DevOps can work together to deliver such projects faster and stay agile, keeping pace with market changes.
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What is DevOps and Why is it Important for the Mortgage Industry?
DevOps is defined as a broad discipline that allows development and operations teams to work together to release apps and app iterations faster. These two functions have traditionally operated in silos, often with conflicts between each other’s goals. For example, Dev might prioritize code hygiene and the effectiveness of a feature, while Ops will aim for better utilization of computing resources when executing the code.
This led to delayed release cycles as conflicts had to be reconciled before launch. However, today, you cannot afford delayed go-to-market due to internal back and forth. Customers expect the best version of an app or service at all times. Changing market conditions (for example, new mortgage regulations) necessitate frequent releases. Finally, shorter release cycles can help you stay ahead of the competition – particularly if you are a bank or financial institution competing with digitally-native fintechs.
This gave rise to DevOps in the mortgage industry. In this model, there is a culture of Dev and Ops working together towards a shared goal. They also have the tools and processes necessary to guide them – for example, continuous integration, which is a practice where Dev merges code changes into a central repository managed by Ops instead of completing a full release.
In addition to continuous integration, several other practices, such as continuous delivery (CD), quality assurance (QA), Infrastructure as Code (IaC), version control, etc., all contribute to DevOps success.
Now, let us say you have undertaken an extensive digital transformation project, with multiple parallel tracks. This could comprise a risk management platform, customer-facing chatbots, an internal knowledge portal, an AI-enabled document automation system, and more. How do you ensure that the different development teams working on these tracks follow the same practices?
That is where platform engineering comes in.
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What is Platform Engineering and Why is it Necessary for DevOps Success?
Platform engineering is the process of building a centralized platform that is shared by multiple Dev and DevOps teams so they can access all the tools, frameworks, and processes they need in a self-service manner. For example, if a developer needed to use a continuous integration tool, it would be readily available as part of the central platform – and the same tool and process would be used across the organization so that there is consistency.
Platform engineering is typically used in the technology and IT sector, as this is where regular and error-free releases form a key part of the business value proposition. But increasingly, banks, lenders, and mortgage providers are also looking to hire platform engineers to help in their digital transformation journey. For example, Australia’s Aethena Home Loans hired a platform engineer in 2023 to support the different digital products used by its customers.
Platform engineering also ensures that the DevOps process follows cybersecurity best practices. This is essential in mortgage, given that the industry works with large amounts of personally identifiable information (PII) as well as financial data.
Platform engineering typically involves expertise in a coding language (Python, Java, Go, etc.) as well as knowledge of hosting infrastructure like Azure or AWS. this is because it is a discipline that serves both the Dev as well as the Ops teams.
Benefits of Using Platform Engineering and DevOps Together
It is important to note that platform engineering is central to the DevOps methodology, and cannot operate in the context of a traditional, non-DevOps development process. If you implement platform engineering without DevOps, then it is just a new version of an integrated development environment (IDE).
When used together, platform engineering and DevOps can unlock:
- Faster development: Platform engineering turbocharges developer productivity, thanks to easy access to all the tools and features needed. For example, during continuous integration, the platform can automatically perform tests before pushing the code into production.
- Greater specialization: Platform engineering makes sure that developers do not have to wear many hats. They can focus entirely on the code and the business problem they have to solve, instead of adjusting workflows or upgrading the DevOps tool change.
- Reduced inefficiencies: The platform engineering team is in charge of designing, maintaining, and updating the workflow’s tools and frameworks. This means that developers do not carry on any inefficient practice endlessly, simply because they do not have the time to fix or optimize it.
- Less complexity: Self-service access to infrastructure and tools means that there is a shorter feedback loop. This makes the development process less complex and conflict-ridden. Some companies may even be able to shrink their Ops team headcount with platform engineering.
For mortgage providers embracing digital transformation for the long term – and not just a one-off project or application – platform engineering and DevOps must go hand in hand. Partner with Nexval to strengthen your infrastructure, so you are ready to take on any emerging trend in the mortgage industry.
Speak with our Tech Gurus to learn how.