DevOps case study: Rabobank cuts deployment by 60 percent

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A company’s capacity to keep customers happy, capture new markets or engage business in new ways is often dependent on its IT department’s ability to create and release software. Yet the pace of releasing this software is no longer an annual or semi-annual event, but rather a continuous flow of new iterations and adjustments to meet market needs as they evolve and change. DevOps is breaking down the barriers between departments. Continuous delivery is providing an end-to-end framework that can help IT teams deliver software in an automated fashion.

Derek Langone

The drive to DevOps is neatly illustrated in IDC’s DevOps and the Cost of Downtime: Fortune 1000 Best Practice Metrics Quantified report. The vast majority of the companies interviewed are working to implement DevOps practices because to deliver an improved customer experience, lower IT costs, improve employee productivity and satisfaction, lead to higher growth and profits, and mitigate security risks.

Evidence from the front lines is very encouraging. Case in point: Rabobank

One of the 30 largest financial institutions in the world, Rabobank of The Netherlands has 60,000 employees and hundreds of resident and customer-facing applications. Its biggest IT pain came from receiving too many complaints about project delays. Deployments were too manually intensive and failures were greater than 20 percent. They eventually turned to an agentless application release system that could automate the process needed to develop, test and accept software while cutting back on deployment errors.

After about 12 months their movement to app release automation proved to cut time spent carrying out deployments by 60 percent. The changes, “enabled us to reduce the cost of developing software, and to improve DevOps coordination,” said Sander Ettema, Rabobank’s manager of Unix/Linux infrastructure. “Developers now spend most of their time modeling and improving code, and don’t waste time on documentation and deployment troubleshooting. Most glitches and misunderstandings that were endemic to the manual software deployment processes were practically eliminated.”

The right DevOps approach and tools are leading to 30 times more frequent deployments, and lead times that are 8,000 times faster than peers, according to research conducted by industry authorities, Gene Kim and others. Changes are twice as likely to succeed, and twice as likely to exceed profitability or productivity goals. When things do go wrong, high-performing IT organizations are 12 times faster to recover.

Automation lightens the load

The automation of routine tasks removes some of the development burden, freeing resources to focus on improving the end product. Going forward, security, compliance, and auditing can also inform the design earlier so that requirements for coverage are embedded in the automation suite.

This should lower security and business risks. As long as you have an overall insight into the health of your software, through aggregation and analysis, you can dramatically speed up delivery of new features and reduce risk at the same time. An effective automation suite and a frictionless pipeline provide peace of mind and a solid platform for innovation.

Easier said than done

It’s vital to secure buy-in from all the stakeholders, not just the development team. Culture change is a prerequisite for successful adoption of DevOps and continuous delivery. Educate, take steps, and put the right metrics in place, so you can gradually prove that this approach works and then roll it out more widely.

What makes DevOps so alluring is that it delivers tangible business benefits in terms of effective use of resources and profitability, but it also boosts the overall quality of your product. The faster you can reach the market, test, collect feedback, and iterate, the faster your product improves.


Derek Langone is CEO of XebiaLabs, a global provider of Continuous Delivery and DevOps software, providing companies with the visibility, automation and control to deliver software with less risk. Langone served as CEO and COO of SmartBear Software, a leader in software quality assurance solutions, helping the business grow from $2.5MM to over $40MM in revenues in five years, and executing four acquisitions. Langone also served as Executive Vice President of Global Sales for Telerik, a mobile applications development company recently acquired by Progress Software. Earlier in his career, Langone held senior sales executive roles at Quest Software and Imceda.

Derek Langone is CEO of XebiaLabs, a global provider of Continuous Delivery and DevOps software, providing companies with the visibility, automation and control to deliver software faster and with less risk.