Enabling payments innovation with integrated DevOps

Payments innovation is dependent upon digital transformation. In turn, payments organizations must find ways to empower software development teams to focus on high-value tasks.

A successful digital-first strategy requires being willing and able to introduce new innovations as they emerge in the market. In order to achieve this, companies must have the IT infrastructure to roll out new developments and troubleshoot any issues, so that the customer experience is never impeded. As payments platforms grow and add new capabilities, they need to make sure that their DevOps team is also evolving to meet the challenge.

It is no longer viable to have a legacy system of software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). Instead, there is an increasing emphasis on continuous and integrated DevOps, that allows IT teams to prioritize speed and reliability at the same time. Consumers today don’t want to wait for months of product testing before they can access new tools — by implementing a more efficient approach, payments companies can meet and even surpass customer expectations.

This adaptability is particularly critical for the payments market, which is experiencing a digital transformation. Consumers are quickly adapting to new technologies and now expect them from their providers; mobile proximity payments are predicted to reach close to 1.35 Billion people globally, by 2022. As new payment tools and methods emerge, the successful companies will be those who can quickly add them to their offering in a pain-free experience.

How DevOps Can Keep Up with “Always On” Innovation

The rapid pace of innovation means that there is no time for payments companies to slack off. Just as their product development teams must continually design and create new offerings for their customers, the IT team must be able to do the same with software-based tools. This might seem obvious, but it goes against the traditional process of software development: a “waterfall,” which relies on multiple stages and teams before a single item is released to the public.

When each stage is siloed within different teams — analysts, developers, testers — and requires manual approval, the waterfall method can create lag times of months. This simply isn’t fast enough in today’s market, which rewards quick reactions to shifts in consumer behavior. While every new product must still be tested for quality and reliability before it is implemented, companies are discovering that there is a more efficient approach.

With an integrated DevOps team, payments platforms can take advantage of automation and radically streamline their development pipeline. There are three key categories that DevOps can help transform:

Ongoing Integration, Delivery, and Deployment

To react to market demands, IT teams must have the ability to move quickly. A modern DevOps system utilizes continuous deployment to remove unnecessary roadblocks in the pipeline. When a new development is designed, every code change is fed through a system that has automated testing built-in at every stage. This enables developers to receive feedback in real-time and get ahead of any problems, rather than waiting for a single manual testing phase later on in the process.

There is also the ability to automate the final deployment of any and all tools that meet quality controls. By taking advantage of new software like automation, payments companies can remove a manual step in the development system, speed up implementation and free up resources. This ensures nothing gets held up in the deployment queue.

Containerization Through the Cloud

Even software technology has some legacy tools that employees need to leave behind, to stay competitive. When information and software need to be transferred to a new system or environment, the use of older tech like virtual machines (VMs) can cause bugs and glitches in the code, hindering the deployment of new software. To avoid this, companies with a cloud network can instead take advantage of an improved deployment process: containerization.

With containerization, developers can package together several applications and the dependencies needed to run the code in a lightweight container. These can be transferred easily across systems due to their portable nature and are designed to integrate as needed in any infrastructure. Not only can containers deploy applications more securely and quickly, but they are a more efficient investment as they can be repurposed across platforms. This allows developers to move on to the next product, rather than spend hours updating existing ones.

Automated Test-driven Improvements

Regular automated testing is not just useful for catching errors, but can also help strengthen the overall quality of the platform. By introducing multiple quality controls throughout the development process, payments companies can ensure that each deployed technology is operating at superior standards. This also helps to foster trust within the consumer base, which is critical when dealing with sensitive information such as personal and financial data.

When testing continually, new improvements can also be released on a more regular schedule that doesn’t require waiting for several months at a time. Multiple smaller product releases, or micro-releases, are becoming more popular as they allow developers to react quickly to market trends without compromising on quality. This enhances the performance of the platform and encourages the development team to continuously innovate, rather than working in batches.

Developing a Long-Term Innovation Strategy

Payments companies need to be prioritizing their digital transformation, which means empowering software development teams to do their best work. With a modern DevOps approach, platforms can ensure that product roadmaps are streamlined without compromising on quality. By taking advantage of newer innovations like automation, developers can focus on high-value, revenue-generating outputs.

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