Written by Coreen Wilson

Organizations grapple with the dual challenge of innovating quickly in the rapidly evolving financial services sector while ensuring that governance and compliance are not compromised. This balance is particularly precarious when standardizing release processes across vast, multifaceted enterprises. A recent Digital.ai webinar between industry experts shed light on these challenges and explored practical strategies for overcoming them.

The Challenge: A Legacy of Complexity

Legacy systems that coexist with modern, cloud-native technologies are at the heart of the challenge. This dichotomy leads to a proliferation of deployment tools and processes, complicating the landscape further. As financial institutions navigate their cloud transformation journeys, they encounter varied deployment environments, necessitating bespoke release processes that often clash with overarching governance frameworks.

The Path to Standardization: Phased and Patterned Approaches

How can financial services companies streamline these processes? The answer lies in a phased approach that begins with toolchain consolidation. By simplifying their toolbox—moving from multiple continuous integration and deployment automation tools to singular, standardized options—organizations can lay the groundwork for further standardization.

Moreover, two organizational patterns have emerged as viable pathways to standardization: the Automation Center of Excellence and Pipeline as a Service—the former advocates for horizontal standardization across teams, leaving room for autonomy within defined guardrails. The latter adopts a more top-down approach, mandating enterprise-wide adherence to a standardized release pipeline. Both patterns, however, converge on the same goal: a standardized enterprise pipeline, albeit through different cultural and procedural lenses.

Real-Life Success Stories

The webinar spotlighted two illustrative financial institution cases that successfully navigated these paths. One, a top US bank, embraced the Pipeline as a Service model, crafting a standardized release pipeline that now serves over a thousand applications. This approach not only improved release velocity but also enhanced the visibility and predictability of the release process.

Another example came from a leading payment technology company that chose the Automation Center of Excellence route. This organization achieved remarkable scale through tool standardization and the creation of an overarching release orchestration tool, supporting hundreds of application teams and managing thousands of releases daily.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

These discussions underscore that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The choice between an Automation Center of Excellence and a Pipeline as a Service model hinges on an organization’s existing culture, tools, and standardization level. Regardless of the path chosen, the journey towards standardization is marked by continuous improvement, leveraging feedback loops to refine and adapt the process.


As financial services organizations press forward in their digital transformation journeys, the imperative to standardize release processes has never been more critical. By embracing structured approaches and learning from the successes of their peers, companies can navigate the complexities of today’s technological landscape, ensuring that innovation and compliance go hand in hand.

For those keen to delve deeper into this topic, watching the on-demand webinar “Driving application release automation and efficiency in financial services” is a valuable next step. Embracing standardization is not just about technological integration; it’s about paving the way for a future where agility and compliance are in perfect harmony.

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