Interview: Bronwyn Davies, Senior DevOps Consultant, Sandhata

Tom Allen
clock • 4 min read

Sandhata is shortlisted in three categories at the DevOps Excellence Awards 2021

Bronwyn Davies is a Senior DevOps Consultant at Sandhata: a consultancy specialising in DevOps transformation. One of the company's recent projects, with Vodafone UK, was so successful that it was shortlisted for three different prizes at this year's DevOps Excellence Awards: Best Automation Project, Best DevOps Team and DevOps Project of the Year.

Bronwyn filled us in with some background on the work: watch the video or read the transcript below to learn more.

Can you provide some background on Sandhata?

Hi there, my name's Bronwyn Davies, I'm a senior DevOps consultant at Sandhata. So, what is Sandhata all about? We are a multi-award-winning consultancy, specialising in enterprise-wide DevOps-centric service propositions.

We were founded in 2005, focusing on integration solutions, but since then we've expanded and now we also deliver all aspects of IT transformation, as well as DevOps and in addition to DevOps for the mainframe. From the very beginning, we focused on automation and lean principles in everything we did, so DevOps has been part of the way that we work for more than 15 years.

We have an excellent reputation in the financial and telecoms space particularly, and along with our established system integration expertise, we have very strong mainframe experience, particularly mainframe automation.

When was DevOps introduced to the organisation?

Well, from the very beginning we've always embraced automation and the lean mindset in the way we deliver work for our clients, and as the DevOps movement has accelerated, we've kept pace with it, evolving the solutions which we're delivering to keep up to date with the industry best practices and the latest DevOps thinking. Our specialised consultants are always on the lookout for ways to improve efficiency, automate tasks and deliver self-service capabilities for their clients.

We're not concerned with automating away our jobs, because we know that as efficiency increases, there's more time available for people to work on the higher value activities and improvements, which really do make a difference to the business.

Our strong reputation and the tier one clients we work with help us to continue to attract top talent to our organisation. We also offer our employees great opportunities for career progression and access to experiment with, and master, a wide variety of cutting-edge tools using our unique DevOps Innovation Platform.

Bronwyn Davies is a Senior DevOps Consultant at Sandhata

Can you tell us about your entry to the DevOps Excellence Awards 2021?

So, one of our entries for the DevOps Excellence Awards this year is DevOps Project of the Year, in partnership with one of our clients, Vodafone UK

This project is called the TIL transformation project and it's touched every area of their large integration team. Our specialised DevOps team designed and delivered bespoke solutions to address their delivery processes, environment and complex connectivity challenges.

The project covered many aspects, including a full CI-CD solution, which we built from scratch, covering build and deployment automation, creation of full regression test capabilities with an automated framework, as well as the creation of a service virtualisation hub with the ability to simulate interfacing systems for more than 100 APIs

Also, as part of this project, we designed and built an API directory dashboard, which captures data from a range of sources and serves it up in a single view for impact analysis showing API configuration details and full connectivity details.

In addition, we've also included auto-documentation and other self-service tools for increased productivity across the whole team.

Why is DevOps particularly important for integration systems?

So, most of our tier one clients have got very complex integration requirements as they have large software states, which have typically evolved over a long period of time with all the inconsistencies which arise out of that. Some of our clients' integration systems have over 100 upstream and downstream systems, with associated challenges - sprawling connectivity and unavailable dependencies.

In this context delivering fast, reliable change is very difficult, but of course it is vital that integration systems can deliver change fast and reliably, because all the other systems depend on them, to some extent. If the integration systems can't keep up with the demand for change, then the business will suffer.

DevOps principles, in addition to focusing on increased collaboration and fast feedback, focus on reducing the batch size, which means change can happen much more frequently and with less risk, so DevOps is a key enabler to ensure that we can make changes in these integration systems.

At the moment Sandhata are currently supporting some of our clients to adopt microservices as well as moving into the cloud to help them achieve the benefits of smaller batch sizes and frequent change with fast, reliable feedback.

What are you working on this year?

This year we've got lots more plans and projects underway with our clients in the system integration space, including cloud adoption projects and dashboarding projects. We're also planning a full API management project with one of our clients.

Internally, we'll also be building out more prototypes and full solutions using our DevOps Innovation Platform, as well as continuing to use the platform for training and enablement of our consultants.

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