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Contino Helps a Leading UK Financial Institution to Establish a Multi-Cloud Centre of Excellence in Just 9 Months

The Client

The customer is one of the largest savings providers and a top provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans.

The Challenge

The customer has embarked on a significant strategic transformation programme to ensure that it is ready for future digital innovation. It is setting out to improve the pace of development and quality of products to support the changing banking habits of its own customers.

To achieve this, the organisation is committed to radically simplifying its underlying application and infrastructure estate and improving the pace of development and the quality of its products and services.

A foundational pillar of the customer’s transformation is the public cloud. In particular, the customer sought to create greenfield cloud-native platforms and a new cloud operating model to develop products and propositions that will serve their customers’ needs in the future as well as exploit the opportunities created by emerging platform business models.

But significant challenges stood in the way:

  • Limited Skills: significant upskilling and education was needed for existing teams due to lack of experience for managing enterprise-wide cloud platforms and workloads at scale
  • Complex Legacy: a complex on-premises estate that would need to be integrated with their public cloud environments
  • Always-On Security and Compliance: as a regulated financial institution, security and compliance needed to be considered at all times
  • On-Prem Operations: the existing operating models in many areas of the business (operations, engineering, security, finance) were not suitable for a cloud environment
  • Regulatory Outcomes: its on-premises environments could not support regulatory-driven outcomes at the required pace

The organisation engaged with Contino to get help establishing a multi-cloud CoE function. This would enable the customer to:

  • Access: deliver cloud services seamlessly across the organisation
  • Experiment: develop innovative products at speed and scale
  • Serve: deliver the services that clients need
  • Learn: acquire the skills to ensure self-sufficiency over the long term
  • Collaborate: drive a new operating model to pave the way for future ways of working

The Solution

Contino was tasked with providing a clear ambition and direction to move the customer to the public cloud – removing any unnecessary barriers, avoiding extended timelines caused by a multi-phased approach and ensuring all areas of the business were integrated into the cloud programme.

The core was based around a new CoE formed of cross-functional teams from across the business—bringing together architecture, platform engineering, security, operations, finance, and data to centralise the vision and execution.

To meet their key challenges outlined above and to set them up to achieve their objectives, Contino delivered on five core areas related to cloud platform and enablement:

  1. Cloud-Native Enterprise Platforms: The foundation for its enterprise multi-cloud adoption, based on an AWS and Azure CAF Landing Zones alongside Contino IP and best practices
  2. Security and Compliance Framework: Continuous compliance and a SecOps operating model and engineering function
  3. Skills and Teams: Creating a SRE and cloud operations function and upskilling teams in modern ways of working
  4. Financial Model: Establishing a FinOps’ model that brings together finance, procurement and engineering to optimise cloud spend
  5. Architecture and Strategy: Providing strategic guidance, architectural blueprints and repeatable standards for consumption by engineering teams

The Business Outcome

The organisation now has a fully-fledged multi-cloud CoE function and enterprise-grade cloud platforms that provide a vision for the cloud, a strong centralised product manufacturing and delivery function alongside repeatable frameworks and best practices that can guide the company into the next phase of its digital transformation.

The cloud is already delivering value within the business. Within only nine months, the customer was able to deploy and manage a new product in the cloud that is now serving their own customers.

The new cloud platforms and enablement functions have enabled critical new sources of business value for the customer:

  • New Products and Services: the quick delivery of a new service to prevent fraudulent transactions for its customers, in line with UK regulations. This would not have been possible with their original on-prem environments
  • Rapid Digital Experimentation: the customer can experiment with new digital products and propositions much faster than before. The solution provides out-of-the-box AWS and Azure environments ready for development teams by being able to request an environment, access Azure, run their build with pre-configured pipelines and have an application running under seven hours
  • Stay Secure: security policies enforced automatically across entire estate with automated reporting against compliance and control frameworks
  • Modern Operating Model: turned traditional infrastructure teams into a cloud-ready SRE team ready to manage design, build and run cloud products in production
  • Cost-Effective: the FinOps model ensures cloud spend is efficiently managed, maximising ROI and aligning cloud spend to business benefits
  • Scalable Strategy: provide team with consistent, repeatable and approved architectural guidance and patterns for secure, reliable and scalable cloud consumption
  • Increased Organisational Resilience: the platform can be scaled across multiple regions with one variable change; this was proven as part of a Covid-19 UK capacity management exercise
  • In-House Engineering Capability: through pair programming with Contino, the customer has established a modern operating model and engineering culture for over 30 engineers, upskilling traditional infrastructure teams into a cloud-ready SRE team ready to manage design, build and run cloud products

Not only will the cloud platforms and enablement functions allow the customer to meet its own customers’ needs—delivering high levels of satisfaction now and in the future—but this will also assist the organisation in retaining existing talent, repurposing skill sets across teams and help them attract new talent.

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