More flexible and innovative: How developers use the cloud

For software developers, the cloud offers many advantages. Samira Lauer and her team are using it to create a new online banking platform for all private clients of Deutsche Bank and Postbank.

Samira, what exactly are you and your team doing with the cloud?

We are building a new cloud-based online banking platform that will serve all private customers of Deutsche Bank and Postbank in the future. Several million customers use our online banking and that's why it's one of the most important applications for us. Until now, we had two different platforms, one at Deutsche Bank and one at Postbank, with completely separate infrastructures. When the bank's technology strategy was to consolidate these two separate platforms into one, we decided to design an entirely new platform that leverages the diverse capabilities of cloud infrastructure. We wanted to use the most modern infrastructure available on the market. Deutsche Bank's strategic partnership with Google Cloud, which was launched in December 2020, gives us this opportunity.

Why the cloud?

Our goal is to build a state-of-the-art application with a more user-friendly user interface that we can adapt flexibly and quickly – depending on what our business and our customers need. For our customers, online banking is one of the most important tools to do everything they need for their daily banking transactions. They expect a stable and at the same time intuitive user interface, but also that we meet their requests for new or extended functions in a timely manner. To do this, we need a truly flexible IT infrastructure that the cloud offers us. There you can simply do more and "cooler" things from the customer's point of view – for example, integrate products that go beyond traditional banking, such as insurance, or use the possibilities of artificial intelligence for more targeted recommendations.

With cloud you can simply do more and "cooler" things (…) – for example, integrate products that go beyond traditional banking

What does this mean in concrete terms for developers?

In the cloud, applications benefit from a standardized and technically up-to-date environment in which capacity can be increased or decreased as needed. Our separate Postbank and Deutsche Bank systems have been using a so-called on-premises infrastructure. This means that we use directly assigned computers in a data center and are tied to the existing installed computer capacity. Short-term adjustments have hardly been possible so far. In some cases, it took up to six months before new computers could be delivered, installed on-site in the data center and made available for use.

In the cloud, this happens at the push of a button. Our developers no longer have to spend much of their time installing and managing the infrastructure – before they can even start programming the first line of software code. In the cloud environment, they can better focus on their job: building applications for our customers – while Google Cloud takes care of the infrastructure provisioning.

If we have a good idea today and want to try it out, we can get started right away

In the past, you had to plan several months to sometimes a year in advance if you wanted to develop a product or a new feature. If we have a good idea today and want to try it out, we can get started right away and then see relatively quickly what works and what may not work.

Watch how software development works in the cloud

And will customers notice the cloud?

Much happens in the background and will not be immediately visible to customers – but they should experience the benefits, since online banking runs on a much more powerful infrastructure. In addition to the redesigned user interface with a more modern design and more intuitive operation, there will be visible changes in the coming years: new functions that we can implement on the basis of the cloud.

What does your work in the cloud look like?

In total, more than 190 colleagues in six countries are working on the development of the platform. We have developers in Frankfurt, Spain, Poland, Brazil and our technology centres in Bucharest (Romania) and India. We use the agile development approach, i.e. we develop individual components or elements of the new platform in short iterations.

We want to have a functional version of the software as early as possible in the development process, which we then further develop in further so-called sprints in a few weeks. This allows us to take feedback – including from customers – directly into account during development. And we work closely with Google's engineers to help us make the most of the power of the cloud.

This interview was conducted by Markus Dahlem.

About Samira Lauer

Samira Lauer works as software developer at Deutsche Bank. Samira and her team are using the advantages of cloud to create a new online banking platform for all private clients of Deutsche Bank and Postbank.

Markus Dahlem

… oversees the bank's global technology division in Group Communications and follows with great interest how developers are using the bank's cloud technology opportunities.

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