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How cloud-native automation helps banks scale safely

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Traditional banks are under pressure to innovate more rapidly. However, the longer it takes to get products to market, the harder it is for banks to compete. Banks can solve a few significant challenges by adopting a cloud-native core banking platform. Firstly, they can deliver the products and experiences that customers want and expect today, not in twelve months. Secondly, banks can optimize operational costs through elastic scaling, where the infrastructure scales to meet demand.   

In a recent webinar with observability platform providers New Relic, our Senior Principal Engineer Daniel Oakes explained why automation is crucial for banks and for us at 10x. In this blog, Daniel recaps the key themes from the discussion. To watch the webinar recording in full, please click here.

Achieving scalability

Automation allows us to scale. Many of our tier 1 banking clients require their own dedicated platform, which means we manage multiple environments (e.g. dev/test/prod) per client. With this model, the only way we can effectively scale is through automation.    

That's key for us because it's not just about provisioning all the infrastructure and services needed to run a core banking platform; it's also about configuration. We need flexibility for different clients, who each have different components deployed, and with their own parameters/thresholds for alerts. 

Go to market faster, safely

At 10x, we've created a next-generation banking platform built on a fully cloud-native stack. It helps banks speed up their time-to-market, provides a single source of truth for customer data, and allows them to manage their IT resources effectively. As a result, we see ourselves as a strategic partner for our clients, working with them to build solutions to address their biggest challenges. Be that accelerating the delivery of new propositions or even expanding into new geographies.  

Since we're cloud-native, we have the elasticity and scalability needed to build products that benefit banks and enrich the lives of their customers. Speed is important, but security and reliability are paramount. Ultimately, this is a banking platform, and we're handling people's money. We embrace cutting-edge tech where it can provide benefits for our client and platform – just not necessarily bleeding edge!    

Moving from on-prem data centers to the cloud is a significant change for many banks. Done with care and consideration, it opens up many opportunities which were previously out of reach. 

Improving user journeys and reducing risk

To spin up a brand-new platform, we look for the bare minimum of manual steps across all integrations. A feature in New Relic that we're excited about is the workloads feature, which allows us to define user journeys and the services that underpin a particular journey. This feature enables us to observe the platform from a customer's point of view. If there's a problem, you can quickly identify the impact on the user and narrow it down to the part of the platform, or services, that underpin that, helping to minimize the mean time to resolution (MTTR).   

When I joined 10x, I was involved in a workstream to embed a process called Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) throughout the engineering teams. We took our essential user journeys, mapped out the technologies and services underpinning them, and then systematically went through each component asking   

  1. How could it go wrong?   
  2. How severe would the failure be?   
  3. What's the likelihood of failure?   
  4. What detection do we have to catch it?  

FMEA then allows us to create a risk priority score that identifies critical areas so that we can put the appropriate monitoring in place. The New Relic workloads feature is the natural evolution of this, streamlining that process. 

Making innovation easier for engineers

My job is to support engineers by optimizing and simplifying the development environment so they can focus on building the best features for our clients. By providing a 10x opinionated paved road, we can minimize what teams need to do to get things up and running while also establishing best practices and consistency. By providing building blocks that abstract away the complexity, teams can benefit from using proven modules and designs while also having the flexibility and autonomy to do something more bespoke.   

We want to minimize the cognitive load on engineers. There are so many technologies out there that it can become quite overwhelming. At 10x, when proposing or building a new common tool or framework, we continually get feedback and put ourselves in the shoes of the engineer.

We ask questions like, 'how will this make my life easier? What are its benefits? We want our engineers to do their jobs without being bamboozled by all the tools. The less time they need to spend fine-tuning them, the better.  

If we can make this process frictionless, our devs can maximize their throughput, and they will deliver better code more frequently. They're also able to experiment and innovate because they aren't wasting time on boilerplate coding.

Click here to watch the webinar recording with AWS and New Relic. To read more from our engineers, visit our engineering blog.