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How Eika uses feature management to balance 
speed with regulation

Eika Case Study

The use of feature toggles enabled Eika to continuously test new features with little deployment hassle, and streamline their change management and regulatory compliance processes.

  • CI/CD with Trunk-Based Development

    Incorporate continuous integration and deployment to the traditional approach of trunk-based development

  • Quick and Safe Feature Implementation

    Gain ability to quickly and safely implement new features

  • Balance Change Management & Compliance

    Achieve flexibility to keep balance between change management and regulatory compliance.

Case Study

Challenge

Eika provides an online banking solution that serves over a million debit and credit cards in the digital self-service space.

Creating a single-platform solution for over 50 banks, Technical Lead Henning Kvalheim understands the challenge of delivering on both business and regulatory demands in the financial industry. 

“We follow strict financial regulations, but need a level of flexibility at the same time,” says Henning.

Eika’s mobile banking app provides users with a range of banking services, from loans to insurance, regardless of which bank they are a customer with.This means their tech teams need to have the flexibility to not only serve the needs of the banks and their customers at large, but the varying business demands of Eika’s own internal departments.

“Some of the larger departments we work with want to move fast. It often feels like regulations hold us back.”

Strict financial regulations in Norway means that even the best business and technology decisions are at the mercy of having data, development flows, and sign offs exactly as they should be and ready to be reported. If not, an unexpected request from the government could lead to severe consequences. 

“Somebody from the government could ask us to trace how our customers experience solutions. We need to be able to say the status of all our solutions at any given time. And, if an application has been updated, we also need to show who approved it.”

Instead of constantly trying to balance development speed and flexibility with heavy change management and industry regulation, the tech teams at Eika needed to find a way to do both.

Solution

Henning’s team wanted a solution that other large companies and their competitors in the industry could vouch for.

“We had Unleash on our radar for 2 year: through meetups, word of mouth, in-house testing, and the consultants we work with. We knew that Unleash was a well-established solution.”

Unleash’s open source offering also sparked the team’s interest. There, the team found a shared culture that prioritized security, flexibility, and a focus on user needs.

While developing their internal platform, Henning’s team made the decision to move from feature-based to trunk-based development. This was alongside moving to the public cloud and migrating to a new core banking system.

“Configuration and deployment was becoming a growing challenge, but we saw that Unleash and feature flags would help us succeed.”

Results

Henning’s team was able to use the flexibility of Unleash to build their own unique library approach. Onboarding a feature-flags capability to any microservice became as simple as adding correct access tokens and a single library dependency.

“The library contains all the stuff we need to build our applications. It also makes it easy to add to our back end. It handles all the defaults for us. Everything is already configured and out of the box.”

Feature toggles and the ability to make feature implementation decisions at speed were big drivers for Eika.

“With the use of toggles, we can assign users in particular environments to be able to test new features continuously, with little to no deployment hassle.”

This means the teams are transitioning to incorporate continuous integration and deployment to their traditional approach of trunk-based development. With solutions that give secure backend control even to those working in customer support teams.

Going forward, instead of complicating their change management and regulation adherence, Eika is looking at how Unleash also solves this need.

“We’re looking into fetching information from Unleash to put into change management. We want to use APIs to fetch information about our artifacts, become part of the deployment, and then sign off on them.”

Critically, being able to self host Unleash meant being able to bypass the open question about data regulation

“We decide who is using what feature based on their login. We could do this through hashed data in a data center which we don’t control or document, but Unleash is a safe way to self-host.”

Henning’s advice to companies new to feature management

  • “Cognitive load for developers creating solutions is already high in most corporations today. It’s important to introduce the background, motivation, lifecycle, and implementation details.”

 

  • “Invest in solutions that integrate with what already works for you. Unleash APIs, SDKs, and documentation are excellent and fit nicely into DevOps and microservice platforms.”

 

  • “Creating your own library on top of the Unleash SDK can add extra built-in security, mitigate some of the boilerplate, and integrate it into your existing change management platform.”

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