Based in the UK, IG Group Holdings (IG) is a global leader in derivatives trading. In the fast-paced and heavily regulated world in which it operates, speed, accuracy, and regulatory compliance all have equal weight. For IG, trades must happen in real time as even a second of downtime can have serious consequences for its clients and their portfolios. At the same time, regulators around the world hold IG to strict standards of performance, reliability, and transparency.
IG must constantly innovate and deliver new products and features to its clients or risk irrelevance in a highly competitive industry. With IG’s mix of legacy and new technologies, fostering agile development while maintaining uptime was challenging. “Reliability in the financial world is very important. If you can’t trade when you have to, you’re losing money,” explained Hamed Silatani, Head of Application Services. “People don’t like to invest their money where they can’t access it when they need to—it’s absolutely critical that we minimize downtime.”
Creating Options for Development Teams
For IG products built on older technologies, changes must be made within scheduled maintenance windows in order to minimize the risk of regulatory penalties, which means having teams own and fix their respective code on-the-fly isn’t feasible. While DevOps practices work well for IG’s newer systems and technologies, the mix of legacy and new presented numerous challenges to the development teams—namely, they could not simultaneously develop products, respond to incidents, and improve the architecture. “The technologies built 10 or 15 years ago don’t lend themselves to a DevOps ecosystem. One size doesn’t fit all,” said Silatani.
As a result, IG modified its digital operations so that products built on legacy technologies could benefit from DevOps in the same way its products built on newer technologies did, with PagerDuty playing an integral role. This new approach embedded Silatani’s Reliability Engineering, Application Support, and Tools and Monitoring teams with the development teams so that they could address incidents and discover root cause issues much faster. According to Silatani, “Reliability is now seen as more of a community practice rather than a specific team that people call for troubleshooting.”
Swapping Manual Escalations for Automated Incident Response
Prior to PagerDuty, IG followed a highly manual escalation process, where scheduling and handing off support tasks across different time zones required days of advance planning and numerous, manual steps. Incidents required on-call staff to be onsite, yet there was no clear ownership of incidents established across teams.
With its automated scheduling and escalation features, the PagerDuty platform empowered IG’s teams to take ownership of their applications and quickly mobilize the right teams in real time when incidents occurred. Distributed teams across the UK, Poland, and India could now be easily enlisted to help. “IG has always had very good uptime, but it was achieved by spending a lot of human time and investment,” shared Silatani. “PagerDuty has helped us get incidents to the right set of people faster than ever before, with the touch a button so that clients can continue to use the trading platform without interruption.”
“Improved quality of life for our employees is a key benefit we’ve achieved by using PagerDuty.”
Hamed Silatani, Head of Application Services, IG
Leveraging Mobile to Improve Work-Life Balance
Increased efficiency and speed aren’t the only reasons IG relies on PagerDuty. Life for on-call teams has become much better, thanks to PagerDuty’s mobile app. Teams no longer need to be at their computers when incidents arise, no matter the time zone. “PagerDuty’s mobile features are very handy and useful, enabling us to see incidents straight away and assign tasks using a mobile device,” Silatani said.
This better work-life balance has improved team health and reduced the risk of burnout and churn. “Improved quality of life for our employees is a key benefit we’ve achieved by using PagerDuty,” Silatani said. “PagerDuty has made things a lot easier for the operational people who support our applications.”
Investing in the Future
IG has over 300 users on PagerDuty, with more to come. With the successful deployment of PagerDuty, Silatani is already planning to make use of the platform’s other features. To improve the signal-to-noise ratio, Silatani plans on using PagerDuty Event Intelligence to analyze and improve alerting so that his teams can focus on actionable incidents. He also wants to leverage more of PagerDuty’s Modern Incident Response capabilities; specifically, automating post-mortem reporting to make it easier for his teams to implement best practices and key learnings for future incidents. “Day in, day out, we focus and think about how we can help Dev teams do things faster, and there’s a lot more we can do with PagerDuty,” he added.
To learn more about what PagerDuty can do for your organization and sign up for a free trial, visit www.pagerduty.com.