Fiserv Finds Innovation through Developer Experience

November 29, 2022 Lakshmi Balu

Digitalization and application modernization are on the rise, with recent studies showing a high penetration of cloud-based applications. In fact, 91 percent of enterprises say their top priority is to modernize legacy applications, according to the VMware Executive Pulse FY22 Q4 Survey. And 77 percent of enterprises say they’ve witnessed revenue spikes due to app modernization technology, according to the May 2022 Forrester report “The Future of a Secure Multicloud Strategy Will Be Powered by Modern Applications.”

There are many factors driving this trend. But in recent years, we saw how investments in modernization paid off for many organizations. When COVID-19 struck, the world entered a time of great uncertainty and confusion, and products and services that once seemed ubiquitous suddenly became scarce. Digital technology and the developers at its core helped organizations adapt, addressing new problems through hard work, passion for technology, and innovative thinking.

Organizations that already employed cloud technology and modern application development practices had a headstart on making rapid changes. But new digital initiatives are, of course, driven by software engineering teams, the people who ideate, create, test, and optimize applications or software. So, for any company that wants to leverage the potential of cloud native technology or start down a path toward digital transformation via app modernization, it is imperative to understand that in-house developers are just as valuable as the apps they build. Equipping those engineers with a modern application platform and a streamlined developer experience (DevX) will allow their creativity and productivity to flourish and will enable them to respond quickly to unforeseen change. 

These trends were at the heart of a talk given by Tom Eck, senior vice president of digital transformation at Fiserv, at VMware Explore 2022 US about how he is focused on DevX to accelerate his company’s vision to provide high-quality financial technology (FinTech) app development services.  

Digital transformation at Fiserv 

Fiserv, an American multinational Fortune 500 company, is the preferred FinTech partner for many financial institutions, largely due to its innovative digital applications. To meet challenges that are inherent to the ever-changing landscape in the financial sector, Fiserv houses a software engineering team that is responsible for evaluating and testing out new and emerging technologies and project methodologies.

“I lead a very elite software engineering team,” said Eck. “We are the first ones that go in and look at new technologies and new methodologies. We are called when there is a high value impacting opportunity that could be a problem or a growth opportunity. But I am really focused on developer experience.”

Naturally, customers both on an individual level and a corporate level seek a multitude of financial services and want to access them through the most convenient channels. Fiserv is proactively investing in the right talent and technology to accommodate these rising standards. The FinTech giant also understands that digital transformation is not just about modernizing applications but also includes other factors, including cloud migration and security strategies.  

According to Eck, Fiserv has been successful at churning out cool, cutting-edge FinTech solutions because its leaders promote a "growth mindset culture" in which failures are viewed as lessons learned, while continuing to embrace change by empowering their developers with self-service tools and platforms that enable them to be innovative and creative.

Journey into cloud technologies, from Kubernetes to platform teams 

Fiserv needed a unified developer portal that was cloud agnostic, but they faced a few challenges building one:  

  • Many API-enabled products had numerous end points  

  • The developer experience and user interface were inconsistent

To achieve a modern yet secure developer portal, Fiserv chose to go cloud native with an API-first strategy. This modern developer portal, called Developer Studio, was built in partnership with VMware, and Fiserv ensured that the portal brought many state-of-the-art financial technology products under one roof. Today, the Developer Studio houses developer-friendly tools and APIs that cater to Fiserv’s two prominent groups of clientele, merchants and financial institutions. It’s a one-stop destination for all digital financial product requirements that allows the research and development teams to shop for APIs, building integrations and testing before releasing products into the marketplace.

Viewing developers as customers

VMware Tanzu Application Platform enabled the developer team at Fiserv to jumpstart development with a rich set of tooling and a pre-paved, customizable path to production for building and deploying applications on any cloud and any Kubernetes. 

As modern applications with microservices architecture are adopted, the complexity of the application development increases. Not all the developers on a team can be expected to have in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of microservices and APIs. 

“So, what we need are force multipliers,” said Eck. “How do we take that knowledge from the seasoned developers and codify it and build accelerators that are imbued with all the abilities that we need so that the somewhat junior developers do not do something incorrect?”

With Tanzu Application Platform, adopting microservices-based architecture provided Fiserv developers a frictionless path to production and enabled them to concentrate on business logic without worrying about the toil of infrastructure, packaging, and security.  

Outcomes 

Fiserv's vision of having a developer-centric environment was realized with the help of VMware Tanzu solutions. The engineers at Fiserv solved the porting issue very quickly by adopting Tanzu Application Platform without having to worry about security and manageability. Given the size of the company, a high volume of API calls was integral to the company’s ability to innovate, and the scalability of Tanzu Application Platform enabled Fiserv to handle growing complexity in the process of modernizing its applications. This innovative platform and strong developer experience will help Fiserv as it scales, aims to provide the best financial services in the market, and continues transforming the way financial transactions are made.  

“We did (porting) very, very quickly,” said Eck. “And what I think was probably the most impressive was not just how fast we moved it, but all the stuff that is included out of the box with Tanzu Application Platform is truly amazing. Everything from the observability and all those kinds of things that a lot of people think about the back end are built in, and it (Tanzu Application Platform) was a beautiful experience.”

Learn more about how Fiserv helps its financial services customers respond quickly to changing business needs and achieve best-in-class results. In the video below, Tom Eck talks about how he approaches improving developer experience with Fiserv's extensive product portfolio.

About the Author

Lakshmi Balu

Lakshmi Balu is part of the field sales services team at VMware. She is passionate about the VMware Tanzu portfolio and is keen on tracking current trends in enterprise application development, ranging from financial tech and healthcare to high-tech verticals, and how VMware plays an important role in innovation in the digital space.

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