Unity Trust Bank is an award-winning, independent, commercial bank that uses banking to improve the lives of UK communities.

Living by its principles of banking with integrity, Unity’s purpose is to help create a better society, not simply maximise profits.

For almost 40 years, Unity has supported like-minded organisations that share its values and address social, economic and environmental needs.

Unity aligns every lending proposal against one or more of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure that all funding has demonstrable impact.

The Challenge

Though well-established in the marketplace, Unity is a small bank unable to undertake a wholesale digital transformation program. Instead, it had been gradually modernising its technology stack to better service clients and achieve growth.

However, Unity wanted to go further and develop a strategy for migrating its entire on-premise systems to the cloud. To support this migration, Unity needed a FinOps model that would promote shared responsibility for the cost of new cloud-based systems between finance and IT.

Unity engaged BJSS because it needed more IT expertise and capacity to complete the strategy and had become aware of the cost-based challenges other organisations faced when undertaking similar projects.

Moreover, Unity wanted a comprehensive strategy to manage the cost and technicalities of cloud migration and to access more services without increasing operational overheads or investing in on-premise resource.

The Solution

The Assessment

BJSS began by completing an overall Cloud Readiness Assessment tailored to Unity’s specific needs, allowing the Bank's leaders to understand the requirements of cloud adoption.

The assessment included developing awareness around finances, such as the budgetary changes from moving from a CAPEX model of technology acquisition to an OPEX model and the need to track costs.

Recommendations following the assessment included the development of a governance model for managing key cloud decisions and creating learning paths to educate and upskill the wider business.

The Interviews

To ensure Unity received the best possible outcomes, BJSS conducted a number of interviews with the Bank's C-suite personnel to understand individual departmental goals and ambitions.

The information gleaned was used to align cloud value with each of the Bank's business units and strategies and to highlight the many advantages of cloud adoption.

Though cost reduction emerged as a desirable goal, it became clear that what Unity really wanted was increased business agility and the ability to provide enhanced levels of customer service.

FinOps Foundation Principles

With the Cloud Readiness Assessment and interviews complete, BJSS examined Unity’s existing knowledge of the cloud against the six FinOps Foundation principles that guide the activities of best FinOps practice: Business, People, Governance, Platform, Security, and Operations.

From this exercise, we defined an operating model describing the structure, skills and capability required to manage cloud costs and benefits to ensure Unity realised a healthy return on investment.

Recommendations were made for each phase of the FinOps lifecycle as well as a structure and the roles needed for a FinOps team.

Establishing the FinOps Capability

A core challenge facing any business ahead of cloud migration is making sense of the abundance of information surrounding the process.

By establishing a FinOps capability, BJSS filtered information relevant to Unity and directed learning toward development teams, projects, and the overall planning process.

Next, we demonstrated what a FinOps team should look like, including its characteristics and the activities that should be conducted as part of a FinOps operating model.

Our methodology aligned with that of the FinOps Foundation, an organisation that builds ecosystems to accelerate open technology development and industry adoption, and provided Unity with a simple ‘crawl, walk, run’ metric to determine its future cloud progress.

The Outcome

BJSS developed a Cloud Decision framework to determine the appropriate migration path for Unity’s critical business applications together with a Migration Roadmap that aligned with the bank’s current IT Change Roadmap.

Benefits arising from the FinOps model include the ability to assign metadata to cloud services using tagging. The process allows Unity to search ‘tags’, for example, customer onboarding, and get immediate visibility as to how much the system is costing, whether any action needs to be taken, and how it measures against budgets.

By establishing principles and controls, Unity has enhanced its ability to optimise its expenditure and can undertake thorough reviews comparing predicted spend to actual spend.

Today, Unity feels assured about its travel direction with a clear roadmap of migration options and sequencing. The Bank understands the governance changes required, the operations that better support cloud usage, and have clear visibility of ongoing costs and return on investment.

“As much as we wanted to complete a migration to the cloud, we had concerns around costs, complexities, and our ability to arrive at the right solution for the business. The BJSS team we engaged alleviated those concerns with their introduction and development of a FinOps model. It was clear from the outset that they were committed to helping us reach our objective and demonstrated outstanding knowledge, expertise, and care throughout the process. As a small bank that cares deeply about our customers and their sustainability goals, we are now in an excellent position to manage our costs more effectively while leveraging the cloud's full power to achieve growth for ourselves and those we service.”

Mark Clayton - Chief Operating Officer, Unity Trust Bank