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How the Financial and Banking industry uses Atlassian products? Edited

miikhy Community Leader Feb 19, 2018

Hi fellow Community members 👋

I'm Micky, an Atlassian Consultant working for National Bank of Canada and a proud Community Champion.
I've been working around the Atlassian stack for 5 years now and was mainly dealing with customers in the Finance/Banking industry, all of those experiences led me to the obvious conclusion that Atlassian applications can quickly become critical for very large organizations! Do you want to know more? You came to the right thread!

Intro

To provide some background on this article, I'd like to tell you a bit more about my career. I've had two different type of experiences: working for a Platinum Partner and having short contracts with customers from many different industries (including insurance companies and financial organizations) but in the last 3 years I've been working directly with businesses who seek expert help with Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket or all of them! Those missions are very different as they are long-term contracts (3-12 months) which gives plenty of time to be familiar with internal processes and understand all stakes. I've selected a few specific use cases to highlight and share which will give an overview of the Atlassian applications usage by the Banking/Finance industry!

Banking and DevOps use cases

I recently worked for two major Canadian banks. I won't name any specific company for confidentiality reasons but I can say they are both very popular actors in the banking landscape here in Canada. There are many similarities between the teams: they both use the same products (Jira, Confluence & Bitbucket) and are also highly involved in the DevOps culture. Let's jump right into the interesting part: what do they do with the Atlassian stack and how they used the products to drastically improve efficiency and delivery.


The first bank is very mature in terms of DevOps and the Atlassian stack is a significant part of the DevOps suite (in addition to Jenkins, SonarQube, Nexus, ALM...). The mandate I had was to guide a huge transformation project (500+ million CAD of budget) using Bitbucket for Source Control, Confluence for general documentation, and Jira for project management/reporting. It was very challenging but we achieved a lot:

  • Built boards for all 5 scrum teams + a consolidated program boards
  • Organized (and "templatized") Confluence to track technical documentation but also to document stories
  • Setup some hooks to improve automation: auto transitions in Jira based on Bitbucket activity, Jenkins triggers to build and deploy to Dev environments based on pull requests and code merges...

It was very satisfying to see that users were really happy with the solution and Executives were paying a particular attention to the reporting based on Jira data!

The second mission was focused on supporting SAFe implementation over Jira and finding an addon-based solution (hi Tempo) for EPPM. Even if the DevOps maturity was different, the expectations were evenly high! Because the user count jumped from 500 to 5k in months, architecture scaling became critical and so many projects were having differences in processes that we had to work very hard on finding generic workflows, fields, and permissions to fit everyone's needs while trying to keep the DataCenter instance stable!
We can summarize those two experiences by saying that the Atlassian stack has always been a victim of its own success: building corporate instances (which seems to become standard in the industry) is bringing a lot of pros and cons which are giving situations far from the usual use cases. Becoming a Community Champion provided me with a good way to connect with other experts and learn from their experiences as well as to deliver the best service to my customers!

Insurance use case

In a very different fashion, I've had a fantastic use case during a contract with an Insurance company. They decided to switch to Jira (Service Desk) to manage all of their (worldwide) customers' claims!
As you might guess, the workflow to handle those was kind of very complex with legal implications, a lot of automation and so many different (overlapping?) business rules! This is how we sorted it out:

  1. Defined all business rules: to prevent rules from being written and re-written upon delivery, we sat for a while with many stakeholders (from a call center agent to top management). We split the rules by type (Escalation rules, Legal rules, Notifications requirements, User experience...) and defined priorities. We were then ready to proceed with high-level implementation!
  2. Chose the corresponding Jira model: there were a few arbitrary choices to be made such as having a form by claim type (auto, home, health...) or a general form?  Should we have a single project for claim management or multiple? How do we manage confidentiality (using security levels, having many different roles...)?
  3. Ran a gap analysis: once we knew (more or less) what our target was, we had to find the gaps between what we expected and what we had in terms of both architecture (system) and configuration (software, apps...). It was time to find the right apps to fill all gaps as well, trying to maximize both the budget and experience! We figured out that we would need ScriptRunner, Notification Assistant (20+ languages notifications), Extension for Jira Service Desk and a few others.
  4. Implemented: when the solution had convinced COOs and Directors based on a PoC, we had the "go" to start working on the real and exhaustive implementation. Can't say too much about it but we had a service desk form with around 25 questions which fed 850 lines of script. We successfully managed to get a fully automatized escalation process based on each Line of Business rules, auto-assignation, legal communications based on many factors (country, language, branch, type of business...) and a long list of queues and internal custom fields for agents to track everything within the defined SLAs!

This story marks one of my greatest professional achievements so far! The challenge was intense: I worked a lot and nearly slept at the customer's office, but it was definitely worth the effort!

One more?

If you want a last and uncommon use case, here is one! On my first-ever bank context, I've been asked to build a Jira project to support an ATM migration team. The project was to upgrade all ATMs for the bank over a single weekend (they had thousands of them!). The idea was simple: an ATM upgrade was a task, all steps were subtasks. Once you have a "template" there only are a few fields which were different (ATM ID, location etc..). We've imported the Tasks from an Excel file (based on the ATM repository of the bank) and they successfully upgraded the whole ATM network.

Conclusion

I'll bring this article to a close with a simple statement: the Atlassian stack is slowly taking over a lot of different products in the DevOps suites in the Banking/Finance industry! I've seen many customers switching from IBM, HP... to Atlassian to save money, time and to step out from big partners dependencies!

I can see a bright future coming as the solutions are becoming very popular as well (Jira's too mainstream!) which will convince the last few names still in doubt about switching! DataCenter and Enterprise solutions have been great (and warmly welcomed) additions which definitely acted as a catalyst for Banks and Insurer's acceptance!

Should you have questions, remarks or want to know more, feel free to comment or get in touch! Also be sure to check out Atlassian's Finance Collection + introduce yourself :) 

9 comments

Shana Atlassian Team Mar 06, 2018

Micky, thanks for this great writeup! I'd love to chat with you about your experience with Atlassian's products, particularly Data Center and the DevOps use cases you mentioned. Would you be up for having a call to share your feedback?

miikhy Community Leader Mar 07, 2018

Hi Shana,

Thanks! We can connect, I’ll be happy to provide more details: I’m also preparing a submission for a talk at Europe Summit regarding this use case!

You can reach out to me by email or through LinkedIn, I’m traveling this week and next one but we might find some time ;-)

Cheers!

Brett Willson Community Leader Mar 09, 2018

Thanks for sharing - will pass this onto a few members of our AUG in the banking sector

Hi Micky,

Great and very interesting post!

I'm interested to hear more about the EPM using Tempo and how it worked.  Can you help?

miikhy Community Leader Mar 19, 2018

Hi @Shirley Jhirad,

I can't disclose too much but you can reach out to me through linkedIn if you want to have a chat with further details, will be my pleasure :)

Cheers

Hello how I roll into the business

Great article Micky, thanks for sharing!

Atlassian Team :

 

Warm Greetings, Sir I have feeling of lack of conviction about critical application e.g any bank application.

Can we reliable or its secure to push a bank project on your server without paid version?

Is it safe for Bank Projects?

 

Please Sir, Kindly revert me ASAP

miikhy Community Leader Oct 04, 2018

Hi Dinesh,

Sorry to be that late, are you still looking for answers here? I would be happy to share my opinion on why you should trust Atlassian tools for critical missions :)

Cheers!

Deleted user Oct 04, 2018

@miikhy this is an eye-opener. 

Thanks for the use cases

miikhy Community Leader Oct 04, 2018

Thanks, @[deleted]!

Hi @miikhy I'm curious as to whether agile project management is useful in the banking sector and how. Can you help give me insight? Thanks.

miikhy Community Leader Mar 14, 2019

Hey @chinenye onyekaonwu !

A bit late but there I am! I would say that, Digital Transformation in the Banking industry is pretty tough and still in progress for most of what I've seen. While we have teams who already adopted Agile, most of the people I've met were still not ready!

Your question is more, is it relevant? Again, Agile is not mandatory and is a way of doing things so I'll have a hard time answering you! As a Certified Scrum Master and an Agilist I definitely like the way Scrum/SAFe or Kanban can help teams increasing their productivity and communication! The most common problem I've faced in Banks is the lack of Execs support. A team can transition and succeed with Agile only if the project's stakeholders are ready to Agile as well which, most of the time, is not the case (except for the fashion of "being Agile"). 

That being said I also have a lot of examples of teams working with Scrum and delivering quality projects/products for Banks!

Agile cannot be applied to all contexts, but to find out how relevant it is for a project or a team I would advise you to collect the stakeholders and team feedback about it and the key for success will be how hard they want to transition to Agile!

Please check out the Agile corner here or the Agile Coach YouTube videos if it can help: those are great resources!

Cheers

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