Societe Generale & GitHub
Discover what convinced a bank like Societe Generale to transform the way they collaborate worldwide.
  • Industry: Financial Services
  • Company size: 150,000+
  • Location: Headquartered in Paris, France

Societe Generale is a French multinational banking and financial services company, employing 146,000 people of 122 different nationalities in 66 countries worldwide. Global Banking & Investor Solutions (GBIS) is one of the bank’s three core businesses, bringing together Corporate and Investment Banking, Asset Management, Private Banking and Securities Services.

Led by Chief Information Officer Carlos Goncalves, GBIS embarked on a major overhaul of its information systems in 2014 aimed primarily at embracing continuous delivery. This involved accelerating roll-out of new in-house projects and applications. In 2014, the Information Systems department equipped its continuous delivery platform with GitHub Enterprise, which has since been adopted by more than 3,000 employees worldwide.

To meet its strategic objective of transforming 50 percent of GBIS software applications by the end of 2016, the GBIS IT department required a fast, high-performance version control platform. This tool needed to fit seamlessly with the department’s integration and test system, and also support the different configurations used on a daily basis by Societe Generale developers. To offer its developers – who work from sites around the globe – the best functionalities and performance levels, the bank needed to shift away from the centralized version control software that had been used until now. GitHub Enterprise emerged as the best solution to meet these needs.

Natural, rapid and widespread adoption

GitHub Enterprise was initially adopted by 700 users at Societe Generale in July 2014. By July 2015, 1,500 employees were using the tool and today the bank has more than 3,000 programmers using GitHub Enterprise worldwide. I’ve rarely seen such enthusiasm for the deployment and adoption of a new solution! said Amir Jaballah, Global Head of Continuous Delivery Platform, Societe Generale. The field embraced it without a hitch, which meant that we did not have to implement any backup measures.

There is a simple reason for this: GitHub was already familiar to a lot of Societe Generale developers who used it outside the workplace. This made it natural and easy to integrate into their everyday workflow.

Better quality projects delivered faster

In addition to the platform’s technical features, GitHub has transformed the way people work, quickly fostering a more collaborative approach. Societe Generale’s developers can now interact more effectively with their counterparts in other divisions. Faster communications, follow-up, and execution have been observed across all teams using the platform, translating into speedier project delivery. According to Amir Jaballah, there has also been an, 80 percent reduction in administration costs over Societe Generale’s previous solution. He adds that GitHub Enterprise has, freed up more time to provide change management support for the teams involved.

A benchmark solution

GitHub Enterprise represents significant added value for Societe Generale, extending through to the recruiting process. Recruiters now look beyond candidates’ qualifications or project experience: I also look to see if job applicants have any background as public users of GitHub. It works the other way, too: developers interested in joining us can see that we use the same innovative tools they are already familiar with, which makes the bank an even more attractive employer to them!

Digital transformation

Three job categories and functions currently use GitHub: business analysts, developers and production engineers (Ops). But other job categories have also benefited from the swift and successful adoption of the platform, including product owners, who take advantage of the solution’s features for closely tracking project progress – a significant improvement on traditional tools.

Thanks to all this encouraging feedback, the IT division is considering extending deployment of the GitHub Enterprise platform to other teams across the organization.

Our digital transformation is a strategic priority for the bank, Amir Jaballah said. We firmly believe that adopting the same tools and practices as the world’s top software companies is the key to our success!

Five key features convinced Societe Generale upfront that GitHub Enterprise offered the best solution:

1. Self-service platform: developers can create their own repositories and work in teams, significantly reducing project delivery time.

2. Code review: developers review and propose changes to codes developed by their co-workers. The result: more efficient workflow and sharing of best practices.

3. Collaboration: as well as enhanced collaborative working among project teams, developers can also search and reuse code that already exists across the organization. This avoids reinventing field-tested solutions developed for other projects.

4. Documentation versioning: programmers can create and host documentation as close as possible to the applications, either using Wikis or via GitHub Pages.

5. Security: the entire platform is hosted on internal servers. GitHub Enterprise uses the enterprise directory to manage user authentication and logs all user and system activity.


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