The benefits of DevOps are widely recognised across the industry, bringing agility, innovation and resilience to the business.
Computing's DevOps Excellence Awards showcase outstanding achievements from organisations, personalities and solutions that have successfully applied DevOps methodologies.
This year's winners will be announced at a live awards ceremony on Tuesday, 14th March in London.
Lloyds Banking Group, a DevOps veteran, is a finalist in six categories: Best Automation Project; Best DevOps Transformation; Best Implementation of DevSecOps; Best Use of Microservices/Containers; Most Successful Cultural Transformation; and Best DevOps Team.
We talked to Peter Brown, Engineering Lead for Scottish Widows at Lloyds Banking Group, to find out what makes his company different from others and what are they working on this year.
Peter is a successful and experienced engineering lead (EL), with a proven track record of delivering large complex IT changes within the financial sector. He has demonstrated an ability to successfully lead large virtual teams when delivering multimillion-pound initiatives. He has led major IT programmes in Lloyds, ranging from acquisitions, datacentre migrations and branch recovery programme to implementing Agile at scale. Currently in Lloyds' digital lab, he is EL for ~120 colleagues across various UK locations and is a lead with a people-first approach.
Peter says his team has "built-up a strong delivery reputation, embedded a regular release process & identified route to live improvements (automation opportunities, shift left testing, use of data & cloud driven infrastructure)."
Computing: Please provide some background on your company for our readers.
Peter Brown: Lloyds Banking Group is a financial services group that serves people, businesses and communities across the UK. Our purpose is to help Britain prosper. We have a unique multi-brand strategy and a portfolio of some of the UK's best known financial services brands. Scottish Widows is one of our flagship brands, which specialises in pensions and retirement planning. Its expertise in the retirement and protection markets appeals to intermediary, employer and direct customers. Our shared purpose is 'Reimagining long term savings' and we are responsible for the design, development, and delivery of long-term savings to help customers save for a more secure financial future, giving support and clarity to navigate later life's key moments.
What makes you different from other technology companies?
The ability to do things at scale which includes people, technology and opportunities. We tend to look at big corporate companies as a negative when we use words such as 'Innovation, Speed, Opportunities & Improvements' but in reality, it can be quite the opposite, if teams have the space and time to drive at these things. I've never worked in an organisation that offers so many opportunities, supports their people with training and development whilst we try out new technologies.
What one company achievement in the last 12 months are you most proud of?
Changing the culture and structure of our digital lab because without the right people and mindset, we would never have been successful with our technology improvements and opportunities. Building a strong partnership with AND digital has also helped, especially learning from each other. We started in this digital lab with a heavy reliance on offshore partners and limited permanent headcount with low engagement scores. Over the last couple of years, we have really turned that around and changed the dynamics which has been hugely successful.
What are you working on this year?
We have a multi-cloud strategy within the bank and our focus this year is to migrate Scottish Widows Web onto Google Cloud whilst introducing new technologies such as APIGEE X over time. We also have exciting plans to shift testing left, and find problems earlier whilst using automation to our advantage. Plus we have some exciting people related activities which have started with our Move for Mental Health campaign in 2023.
Why are events like the DevOps Excellence Awards important to the IT industry?
We have made the world of digital an exclusive club and it really shouldn't be. We have a digital skills gap in the UK, and I'm personally trying my best to break that mould and show people that if you have the right capability and skillset, anyone can work in the world of digital. You can only really do this by attending or entering these events. And if we are able to convert people to try a different career in digital then the publicity has been worth it.
We tend to undervalue the core skills that you need to succeed, ranging from problem solving, communication, influencing, inspiring and removing blockers. All of these are vital in the world of digital. Some of our best software developers are graduates, ex-police and people who had never coded until they joined our team. It can be done, we need to support others and help with this national digital skills gap.