Conference Sneak Peek: Q&A with Daniel Ritchie

Written by: Diana Hwang

3 min read

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The DevOps World | Jenkins World 2018 conference is just around the corner on September 16-19. Daniel Ritchie is the Principal Solutions Architect for DevOps at Broadridge Financial Solutions, and has grown a small DevOps team into an organizational Center of Excellence (CoE). Daniel offered some insights on his perspective about DevOps as he prepares for his presentation, “Disruptive Change at Scale .”

Why did Broadridge Financial move to DevOps?

Ritchie: DevOps enables organizations to develop and deliver at a pace that wasn’t imaginable a few short years ago. We saw clearly that the disruptive force of DevOps would be an advantage for technical groups as well as a key differentiator for our business. The value proposition was obvious, and we felt compelled to start our DevOps journey to stay ahead of the curve.

What challenges do enterprise organizations face as they shift to DevOps?

Ritchie: Early on, we had to create an opening for DevOps within our organization. Even after DevOps became mainstream, we still had to convince leadership that it was a worthwhile investment. Also, each organization needs to define what DevOps means to them, and even then, organizations need to allow [for] self-discovery. Otherwise, organizations will struggle as they shoehorn a solution into place. I’ve also found that as enterprise teams are farther away from leadership, it becomes more difficult to have confidence that revolutionary change is possible … and worth supporting.

Why was Jenkins the ideal technology for Broadridge?

Ritchie: The "Swiss Army knife" is a great analogy here. We offer a wide range of products that we support with an equally broad range of technologies. And therefore, we need a tool, like Jenkins , that we can leverage for different purposes and that can accommodate a multitude of integrations. Jenkins gives us the flexibility to capture complex workflows and abstract that complexity with a simplified interface.

Without giving away your entire presentation, can you tell us how Broadridge maintains organizational standards without discouraging innovation?

Ritchie: We distilled our process to the most essential aspects, and then we set outcomes-based milestones. Although we strictly enforce key elements, we allow a wide berth for teams to achieve goals. We encouraged more mature teams to "bring your own process." For teams that need direction, we provided an easily adoptable, fully-functional framework. We have a strict approach that still allows for variability within discrete processes.

What's next for your DevOps and Jenkins strategy?

Ritchie: Kaizen . As a centralized CoE, we see patterns emerge with pain points and repeated tasks. Currently, we are focusing on low-cost, high-value operations which would otherwise go unnoticed. By this I mean, it’s not a big deal when a small problem happens to one team, but the costs add up when it happens to hundreds of teams. Also, we want to create a turnkey solution to get new teams going with minimal setup.

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