Building great digital customer experiences with agile infrastructure

So if you extend that. Two years ago, we launched DevCloud, UBS DevCloud, an effectively open ecosystem built on the public cloud, where all of our software engineers can enjoy a seamless experience from development, to testing, to deploying solutions as they run. This speeds up the time to market, and also reduces the cost, which obviously affects the customers. With DevCloud we can also continually improve our apps, so that they will never be 10 years old, but instead remain relevant.

Now, the biggest benefit in addition to moving to the cloud is that things that used to take, say, five days, now only take one, which helps boost the productivity of our engineers and makes it a great place to work. Here we have an expression we use often, which is “All engineers, all developers are waiting just as fast.” So anything we can do to reduce their waiting time is an added value. If we have the best engineering talent, if we have the best platforms, we can create the best experience for our customers, in terms of how they interact with us and they interact with us.

Laurel: You mentioned cloud computing, and to create a more specific timeline here, in late 2018, UBS announced a plan to make the company more effective and efficient through cloud computing. Then as of February 2021, it was well ahead of schedule, with 50% of the computing being done on the private and public cloud. Obviously, there’s been a major shift, if you’re talking, only in 2016, of mainframes, but what has this shift to the cloud allowed the company to do?

Mike: The strategy we put in place at the end of 2018 was to move, in four years, toward a cloud setup that was a third, a third, a third. So, the third is hosted on the private cloud, the third public cloud, and the third on a mainframe. And we wanted ultra-clear goals, to try and transform the organization, how we’re going and what that means. We are way ahead of the schedule for what we want to do. I’d also say that our progress in the cloud prepared us for the unpredictable, and we’ve seen that through COVID, we’ve seen that through the volumes of increase, which has happened in large quantities, because of some of the situations in the world. We need more capacity to handle large volumes, and with the cloud, you have great flexibility, because you can go off for extra capacity. At the same time, we have always been able to ensure the stability of business-critical applications, and in fact, our availability exceeds 99.999%. So, the five availability, and that really puts us among the leaders in the financial industry.

Also, since we have our cloud-based employees, which we call A3, anytime, anywhere, from any device, which is now a workspace, we’ve enabled 95% of our employees to work from home. So, we’ve seen more than 60,000 users logged in simultaneously, and a massive increase in the use of communication tools, that’s 3 million Skype calls per week. The cloud ultimately makes us more resilient, stable and transparent, and I think facilitating us with other ecosystems is much easier. All of this is great for our customers. It’s something I keep repeating, even the seemingly unrelated piece of the client means we can respond faster to their needs and actually maintain security.

Laurel: Part of this initiative across the company to think more strategically about those tech investments, UBS recently joined the Green Software Foundation as a steering member, in part to support the company’s push to also net greenhouse gas emissions across all of its operations by 2050. So, how does joining affect To the Green Software Foundation for the choices you make when creating and deploying software?

Mike: Yes, I mean, on a strategic level, UBS is fully committed to sustainability, and I think as an individual, but also as a member of GEB, it’s a priority overall. We have thousands of applications running across our global businesses, and I think one of our big steps in our evolution is not just to accelerate digital transformation, but how do we do it the right way? So how can we use these greener development principles as a large and integral part of our approach moving forward?

We’ve made progress in reducing carbon emissions, and this can move from on-premises data centers to the cloud, reduce, or actually eliminate idle energy resources. Now, we’re also looking more and more often if we can use carbon-aware applications and then users can make choices with less emissions. The Green Software Foundation is a truly amazing group, and partnering with them to share best practices and knowledge with other members is part of that journey to continue lowering carbon emissions. I think we, with others, can really lead the way here.

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