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How Deutsche Bank is building cloud skills at scale

Deutsche Bank (DB) is the leading bank in Germany with strong European roots and a global network. DB was eager to reduce its workload for managing legacy infrastructure, so that their engineering community could instead focus on modernizing their financial service offerings. The bank’s desire for solutions that could dynamically scale to meet demand and reduced time to market for new applications was a key driver for migrating its infrastructure to the cloud. Deutsche Bank and Google Cloud signed a strategic partnership in late 2020 to accelerate the bank’s transition to the cloud and co-innovate the next generation of cloud-based financial services. This multi-year partnership is the first of its kind for the financial service industry. 

In the process of migrating its core on-premises systems to Google Cloud, Deutsche Bank became acutely aware of the need to increase its technical self-sufficiency internally through talent development and enterprise-wide upskilling. Demand for cloud computing expertise has been surging across all sectors, and growth in cloud skills and training has been unable to keep pace with industry-wide cloud migration initiatives. Asrecent reports suggest, organizations need to be taking proactive steps to grow these talent pools themselves. 

For Deutsche Bank, the scale of the skills and talent development challenge it was facing was significant. Following many years of drawing help from outside contractors, much of the bank’s engineering capability and domain knowledge was now concentrated outside their full-time workforce. This was exacerbated by fierce competition for cloud skills expertise across the industry as a whole. There was a clear and present need to reinvigorate DB’s engineering culture, so developing, attracting, and retaining talent became a key dimension of the bank’s cloud transformation journey. 

A recent IDC study1 demonstrates that comprehensively trained organizations drive developer productivity, boost innovation, and increase employee retention. With around 15,000 employees in their Technology, Data and Innovation (TDI) division across dozens of locations, DB needed to think strategically about how to deliver comprehensive learning experiences across multiple modalities, while still ensuring value for money. Through the strategic partnership, Deutsche Bank could now draw upon the expertise and resources of Google Cloud Customer Experience services, such as Google Cloud Premium Support, Consulting and Learning services, to develop a new structured learning program that could meet its businesses’ needs and target its specific skill gaps. 

With Premium Support, Deutsche Bank was able to collaborate with a Technical Account Manager (TAM) to receive proactive guidance on how to ensure the proposed learning program supported the bank’s wider cloud-migration processes. To guarantee this project’s success, the TAM supporting Deutsche Bank connected with a wide range of domains across the Deutsche Bank, including apps and data, infrastructure and architecture, and onboarding and controls. Cloud Consulting services also worked with DB to consider the long-term impacts of the program and how it could be continuously improved to help build a supportive, dynamic engineering culture across the business as whole. Google Cloud Learning services made this talent development initiative a reality by providing the necessary systems, expertise, and project management to help Deutsche Bank implement this enterprise-wide certification program. In a complex, regulated industry like financial services, the need for content specificity is particularly acute. This new Deutsche Bank Cloud Engineering program leverages expert-created content and a cohort approach to provide learners with content tailored to their business needs, while also enabling reflection, discussion, and debate between peers and subject matter experts. Instructor-led training is deliberately agile and is being iterated across multiple modalities to help close any emerging gaps in DB employees’ skill sets, and to ensure the right teams are prioritized for specific learning opportunities.

Google Cloud Skills Boost is another essential component of Deutsche Bank’s strategy to increase its technical self-sufficiency. With Google Cloud’s help, Deutsche Bank was able to create curated learning paths designed to boost cloud skills in a particular area. Through a combination of on-demand courses, quests, and hands-on labs, DB provided specialized training across multiple teams simultaneously, each of whom have different needs and levels of technical expertise. Google Cloud Skills Boost also provides a unified learning profile so that individuals can easily track their learning journeys, while also providing easier cohort management for administrators. 

It was equally important to establish an ongoing, shared space for upskilling to reinforce a culture of continuous professional development. Every month Deutsche Bank now runs an “Engineering Day” dedicated to learning, where every technologist is encouraged to focus on developing new skills. Many of these sessions are led by DB subject matter experts, and they explore how the bank is using a certain Google Cloud product or service in their current projects. 

Alongside this broader enterprise-wide initiative, a more targeted approach was also taken to provide two back-to-back training cohorts with the opportunity to learn directly from Google Cloud’s own artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) engineers via the Advanced Solutions Lab (ASL). This allowed DB’s own data science and machine learning (ML) experts to explore the use of MLOps onVertex AIfor the first time, allowing them to build end-to-end ML pipelines on Google Cloud, automating the whole ML process. 

“The Advanced Solutions Lab has really enabled us to accelerate our progress on innovation initiatives, developing prototypes to explore S&P stock prediction and how apps might be configured to help partially sighted people recognize currency in their hand. These ASL programs were a great infusion of creativity, as well as an opportunity to form relationships and build up our internal expertise.” — Mark Stokell, Head of Data & Analytics, Cloud & Innovation Network, Deutsche Bank 

In the first 18 months of the strategic partnership, over 5,000 individuals were trained —adding nearly 10 new Google Cloud Certifications a week—and over 1,400 engineers were supported to achieve their internal DB Cloud Engineering certification. Such high numbers of uptake and engagement with this new learning program signals its success and the value of continuing to invest in ongoing professional development for TDI employees. 

“Skill development is a critical enabler to our long-term success. Through a mix of instructor-led training, enhancing our events with gamified Cloud Hero events, and providing opportunities for continuous development with Google Cloud Skills Boost, it genuinely feels like we’ve been engaging with the whole firm. With our cohort-based programs, we are pioneering innovative ways to enable learning at scale, which motivate hundreds of employees to make tangible progress and achieve certifications. With consistently high satisfaction scores, our learners clearly love it.” — Andrey Tapekha, CTO of North America Technology Center, Deutsche Bank

After such a successful start to its talent development journey, Deutsche Bank is now better prepared to address the ongoing opportunities and challenges of its cloud transformation journey. Building on the shared resources and expertise of their strategic partnership, DB and Google Cloud are now turning their attention to

assessing the impact of this learning program across the enterprise as a whole, and considering how the establishment of a supportive, dynamic learning culture can be leveraged to attract new talent to the company. 

To learn more about how Google Cloud Customer Experience services can support your organization’s talent transformation journey, visit: 

Google Cloud Premium Support to empower business innovation with expert-led technical guidance and support 

Google Cloud Training & Certification to expand and diversify your team’s cloud education 

Google Cloud Consulting services to ensure your solutions meet your business needs

1. IDC White paper, sponsored by Google Cloud Learning, To Maximize Your Cloud Benefits, Maximize Training, March 2022, IDC #US48867222.

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