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How SumUp Latin America Bank Created an Accurate and Automated Service Catalog, Improving Team Effectiveness

Case Study Highlights

Challenges

A home-grown and difficult-to-maintain service catalog was an insufficient source of truth

Solution

A comprehensive platform that included a robust service catalog and an automated approach to measuring and improving code quality

Results

An accurate service catalog with powerful integrations and real-time checks improved team efficiency and engagement

80%

Upgrade completion rate

5x

Easier to engage the engineering team

SumUp is an international technology company that helps businesses get paid easily, process orders quickly, and manage their money more efficiently. Leonardo Gallardo, Lead QA Engineer, Latin America Bank at SumUp, has been responsible for managing microservice quality for the company’s Latin American arm for the past several years.

Although Leonardo was working with a savvy team of engineers who loved collaborating, they didn’t have a proper service catalog to keep track of the status of their microservices. Their home-grown solution – a Google Sheet – constantly needed to be updated.

As these updates needed to be inputted manually, Leo often found himself having to push engineers to contribute. And, because these updates were not automatic, the data was often outdated. It couldn’t be trusted as a single source of truth for key engineering decisions.

The team decided to try OpsLevel, as they saw the potential for the platform to deliver an accurate service catalog and a better system for measuring quality. Ultimately, partnering with OpsLevel made the load lighter on himself and his team.

Challenges

A home-grown and difficult-to-maintain service catalog was an insufficient source of truth

SumUp never had a proper service catalog. There were some home-grown, in-house solutions, but they required substantial time and were never fully complete or trustworthy.

Although a spreadsheet worked in theory, it was difficult to maintain in practice. The engineers found that it interrupted their workflow as well. “Great engineers are usually ‘lazy’, so they don't enjoy doing manual work, like updating a spreadsheet,” said Leonardo. “Although they saw the value in having an up-to-date service catalog, it was an annoying bit of bureaucracy that took them away from the work they wanted to focus on.”

Great engineers are usually ‘lazy‘, so they don't enjoy doing manual work, like updating a spreadsheet. Although they saw the value in having an up-to-date service catalog, it was an annoying bit of bureaucracy that took them away from the work they wanted to focus on.” – Leonardo Gallardo, Lead QA Engineer

Not only did SumUp lack a proper service catalog, but they also had manual processes for assigning the right requirements to the right services. There were a variety of issues – things weren’t updated, information was not reliable, and it was hard to maintain and update things.

Because the solution was difficult to keep up with, it reduced the team’s efficiency as they sometimes were acting on stale information. “Although our solution was meant to be our one source of truth, it wasn’t trustworthy because we couldn’t keep it up to date,” said Leonardo.

Solution

A comprehensive platform that included a robust service catalog and an automated approach to measuring and improving code quality

The Latin America Bank team knew they had a problem managing their data and began looking for a solution. “We were having trouble maintaining the service catalog – we didn’t have full visibility of who owned what,” said Leonardo. “We wanted a single platform to ensure we had visibility over everything.”

“We were having trouble maintaining the service catalog – we didn’t have full visibility of who owned what. We wanted a single platform to ensure we had visibility over everything.

Leonardo began his hunt for a solution, looking for a tool that would provide not only a service catalog but also checks and rubrics. When he stumbled on OpsLevel, he immediately saw that it offered a potential solution. Not only that, but he learned that other groups within SumUp were already using and benefiting from OpsLevel as well.

To start with OpsLevel, the team created a proof of concept within the tool by creating a few checks. It worked extremely well, so they began discussing wider use with their engineering managers so they could spread the use of the tool within the LatAm bank group.

Soon, they implemented more checks, using categories like bronze, silver, and gold to signify the health of various services.

The checks are the most valuable feature of OpsLevel. They’re the number one feature that makes the tool worthwhile, as they enable projects to have consistency across teams and also provide automated quantitative measures that engage engineers in improving the codebase.” 

As far as integrations, the git integration is the most widely used. The LatAm bank group makes particular use of OpsLevel's GitHub integration and repo file checks to scan their services' code base. These checks are used to make sure service owners have the right tool versions and tests configured.

Results

An accurate service catalog with real-time checks and robust integrations improved team efficiency and engagement

Thanks to SumUp LatAm’s partnership with OpsLevel, the team now has an accurate, automated, and up-to-date service catalog, as well as real-time checks. The result has been a massive improvement in team engagement. Leonardo and the whole engineering team is now seeing more upgrades being performed faster, thanks to OpsLevel.

Real-time checks

OpsLevel as a service catalog has helped SumUp a lot. In the past, the checks, which took most of their time, were not reliable. “OpsLevel provides a real-time solution for those checks,” said Leonardo. “Every time we make a change on a repository or integrate something new, it appears immediately in OpsLevel. We don’t have to maintain it, which is huge for us.”

“OpsLevel provides a real-time solution for those checks. Every time we make a change on a repository or integrate something new, it appears immediately in OpsLevel. We don’t have to maintain it, which is huge for us.”

5x Improvement in team engagement

Before OpsLevel, the team used a Google Sheet as a service catalog, which they didn’t like very much. “Our team didn’t like our old solution, and that made it tough to engage them. Now that we have OpsLevel, it’s 5x easier to engage the team.” Part of the magic is in the gamification that OpsLevel offers. By using gold, silver, and bronze badges, the team is incentivized to make their services “gold.”

More upgrades, performed faster

Now that the team has OpsLevel, they’re responding faster to requests for upgrades and to the adoption of new tools proposed by the quality team and the tech chapters.

“Before we had OpsLevel, there was a smaller percentage of our teams that would immediately upgrade when we made a request,” said Leonardo. “But now we go in shortly after we make the request and 70-80% of our team has already responded and made the upgrade.”

More control and insight into service maturity

Service ownership visibility was a game changer across the LatAm Bank team, being able to identify who own each piece of software improved communication between teams and thanks to the checks and service maturity features provided by OpsLevel, the team was able to make big improvements in the pace of upgrading their services across their engineering teams.

Leonardo credits OpsLevel's rubric and campaign features, which automated checks, rallied the team around goals, and ultimately made it easier to master service maturity as an organization.

“Before we had OpsLevel, there was a smaller percentage of our teams that would immediately upgrade when we made a request. But now we go in shortly after we make the request and 70-80% of our team has already responded and made the upgrade.

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