Non-stop new PayPodo features – How do we manage that?
Just like many in their private lives, companies are forced to become more digital in order to stay up-to-date and therefore competitive. Some succeed very well with reasonable effort, while others have massive problems, need a lot of time and have high costs. But why is this so? What distinguishes these companies from others and why should the customer in particular not be indifferent? In this article we would like to share our experiences and show why PayPodo has more to do with Facebook, Netflix, Alphabet (Google) or Amazon than with a traditional financial institution and how our PayPodo customers benefit from this, without paying for it with sensitive data.
Modern companies such as CustomHash AG, the developer of PayPodo, have recognized that it is important to continuously align processes and structures together with technological developments and to adapt them if necessary. It is no longer enough to digitize analog processes unchanged to be successful. Of course, every customer or user expects an app in which everything is easy and intuitive to use. If this is not the case, a customer spends less money on average, or an employee works less effectively and therefore costs more money. The fact that the user-friendliness of many products has been improved in recent years confirms that most people now understand exactly that. So, it’s not surprising that financial institutions in particular are investing a lot of effort and money in their Web, iOS and Android apps to look young and modern. So far so good; but does an app alone really make a product better, digital or future-proof? We say: no, that is not enough. Serious digitalization must be lived by everyone involved and is far more than sales, marketing, and branding. With every new technology, like the blockchain in our case, there are countless possibilities. But it requires continuous development and improvement by all those involved, not only in technology, to really exploit the potential of a technology to the full and gain a competitive advantage. Therefore, an open corporate culture in which improvements and ideas are allowed and encouraged is of particular importance. Facebook, Netflix, Alphabet (Google), Amazon and other Silicon Valley companies have long since recognized this fact and apply several strategies and techniques to enable continuous development and thus to be able to react flexibly and quickly to the ever-changing requirements of customers.
Continuous integration and delivery
CI/CD is a strategy already widely used in software development. The acronym CI/CD means Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery or Deployment. Many developers have already gained experience and appreciate the advantages of this way of working and the automation it involves. Simply summarized, in Continuous Integration (CI) the new source code is merged with the remaining source code, build, and tested. With Continuous Deployment (CD) the software package is delivered automatically. In our case it is automatically put into operation on our server cluster (k8s). The combination of CI and CD ensures a higher feedback cycle as well as an increase in throughput speed. In traditional software development, before a major release, the software is combined and tested by all developers in an integration step that takes weeks or months. Since this happens only every few months, this step is very time-consuming. With PayPodo this process takes about 2-3 minutes and has been done 3630 times in the last 12 months during operation. About 80% of all builds pass our semi-automated quality control at the first attempt. Why semi-automated? Because at least one person should always check whether everything meets our quality standards and because in some cases, e.g. when processing credit card information, there are specifications for release processes that must be followed.
Someone who does not work in software development rightly asks himself at this point what is so special about it. Quite simply, it doesn’t take several months until one or more annoying bugs are fixed or a long-announced feature is available. The fact that an update can be carried out during operation, i.e. without downtime, is also not uninteresting. More importantly, however, the PayPodo team can take the feedback received into account every time the CI/CD process is run through the simplified CI/CD process described below. The feedback is explicitly not limited to statistical evaluations or crash reports; especially the feedback from customers is considered. This enables PayPodo to respond to customer requests much more quickly and flexibly.
Walter Andrew Shewhart
As already mentioned, all those involved must continue to develop, not just the technology. It would be naive to believe that CI/CD is a tool only for and by software developers. Rather, CI/CD can be assumed to have been inspired by the PDCA cycle and this cycle by Walter Andrew Shewhart’s view of production processes.
In the 1930s, Shewhart worked on quality improvement at a Western Electric plant. He developed a three-step process for a systemic approach to production processes. However, Shewhart did not like the sequential representation:
“These three steps must go in a circle instead of in a straight line, as shown […] It may be helpful to think of the three steps in the mass production process as steps in the scientific method. In this sense, specification, production and inspection correspond respectively to making a hypothesis, carrying out an experiment, and testing the hypothesis. The three steps constitute a dynamic scientific process of acquiring knowledge”
– Walter Andrew Shewhart
The Shewhart cycle was thus represented as a circle to illustrate the continuous application of the process.
Sometime later, William Edwards Deming added another step to the three-step Shewhart process to illustrate the evolutionary quality development. This gave the process the four-stage form of representation that is common today:
The PDCA cycle describes the phases of a continuous improvement process (CIP). CIP is the basis of all quality management systems. This ensures that the goal of continuous improvement is consistently pursued throughout the company. Security, efficiency, customer and employee satisfaction should be increased. In addition, many standards and families of standards are based on the PDCA cycle, some of which are also mandatory for PayPodo as a financial product. Through the introduction and alignment of all processes at CustomHash AG to the PDCA cycle, we look confidently into the future and have no problems to develop further and adapt quickly to new conditions.
Unfortunately, we miss this agility at old-established financial institutions. While PayPodo, Facebook, Google and others play out several updates a day and are committed to consistently implementing two-factor authentication, the German Sparkassen Finanzgruppe limits the maximum password length to 5 characters in order to meet the minimum requirements of the German banking industry, instead of breaking new ground – very sad! But admittedly: the Sparkasse app is nicely designed.
PayPodo develops in the long term with the needs of its community
PayPodo is on a par with companies based in Silicon Valley and does everything in its power to respond flexibly and promptly to customer wishes and to be able to react quickly to new or changed requirements (e.g. due to regulation or certification). For our PayPodo customers, the consistent application of CI/CD and PDCA cycles in all areas of the company results in many advantages:
- PayPodo improves consistently with every update
- PayPodo listens to its community and can quickly introduce new features
- PayPodo not only looks pretty, but the structures and processes behind the app are also modern
- PayPodo is a modular platform and the solution for many industry problems
- PayPodo can react immediately to new security standards
- PayPodo is always online, no offline time for updates
- PayPodo works decentralized, even our employees don’t have to sit in the office
- PayPodo offers its employees a modern working environment without fixed working hours
CustomHash AG has not only created an innovative and future-proof product with PayPodo, but also installed modern structures throughout the company. All with the goal of offering the best service to our customers.
PayPodo will offer more than just another payment solution in a checkout process or another bank account. PayPodo will build a modular platform based on block chain technology, where users and online businesses grow together as a community and directly exchange goods and services in a secure environment. This will help the business world to better understand what their customers want and need in order to offer and market better products or services. This means that PayPodo not only makes banking and payment services cheaper, transactions tamper-proof, immutable and faster, but also maintains the highest possible security standards, coupled with a user-friendly dashboard to make it fun to enjoy the great community experience.
CIP and PDCA cycle are basic components of the standards or standard families DIN EN ISO 9000, ISO 14000, ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO/IEC 27001 Information technology – Security techniques – Information security management systems requirements specification and in the BSI standard 100-1: Management systems for information security (ISMS).