So if I expand it. Two years ago, we launched DevCloud, UBS DevCloud, which is effectively an open ecosystem built on the public cloud, where all our software engineers can have a seamless experience, from development to testing and implementation of solutions while in operation This speeds up the time to market, it also reduced the cost, which obviously affects customers. With DevCloud, we can also constantly improve our apps, so they’ll never be 10 years old, but stay relevant.
Now, the biggest benefit also of moving to the cloud is that things that used to take, say, five days, now only take one, which helps increase the productivity of our engineers and makes it a great place to work. We have an expression here that we use quite a bit, which is, “All engineers, all developers wait at the same speed.” So anything we can do to reduce your waiting time is an added value. If we have the best engineering talent, if we have the best platforms, we can create the best experience for our customers, in terms of how they engage and interact with us.
Laurel: You mentioned cloud computing, and to create a more definitive timeline here, in late 2018 UBS announced a plan to make the company more effective and efficient through cloud computing. Then, in February 2021, that schedule was pushed far ahead, with 50% of private and public cloud computing. So obviously a huge transition, if you’re talking, just in 2016, about mainframes, but what has enabled this shift to the cloud in the enterprise?
Mike: The strategy we laid out at the end of 2018 was to move, within four years, to a cloud configuration that was one-third, one-third, one-third. So a third hosted in the private cloud, a third in the public cloud, and a third on the mainframe. And we wanted very clear goals, to try to transition and transform the organization, and how we’re going to move forward and what that means. We are ahead of what we want to do. I would also say that our progress in the cloud prepared us for the unpredictable, and we’ve seen that through COVID, we’ve seen that through increased volumes, which happened skyrocketing, because of some of world situations. We need more capacity to handle large trading volumes, and with the cloud, you have burst elasticity, because you can burst for additional capacity. At the same time, we have always been able to ensure that business-critical applications are stable, and in fact our availability is greater than 99.999%. Therefore, the five nine availability, and this really puts us among the leaders in the financial sector.
Also, because we had our cloud-based employees, which we call A3, set up anytime, anywhere, from any device, which is now a workspace, we allowed 95% of our employees to work from from home So we saw more than 60,000 users logged in simultaneously, a huge increase in the use of communication tools, so 3 million Skype calls per week. In short, the cloud makes us more flexible, more stable, more transparent, I think our facilitation with other ecosystems is much easier. All of this is great for our customers. It’s something I keep repeating, even the part that seems unrelated to the customer means that we can respond more quickly to their needs and maintain security.
Laurel: As part of this company-wide initiative to think more strategically about these technology investments, UBS recently joined the Green Software Foundation as a managing member, in part to support the company’s push also to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across all of its operations by 2050. So how does joining the Green Software Foundation affect the choices you make when building and deploying software?
Mike: Yes, I mean, at a strategic level, UBS is absolutely committed to sustainability, and I think as an individual, but also as a member of GEB, it’s a priority in general. We have thousands of applications running in our global business, and I think one of our big steps in our evolution is not just accelerating our digital transformation, but how do we do it the right way? So how do we use these greener development principles as an important part, an integral part, of our approach going forward?
We have made progress in reducing our carbon emissions, and that may be moving from on-premise data centers to the cloud, or reducing, or indeed eliminating, energy-intensive idle resources. Now, we’re also increasingly looking at whether we can use carbon-aware apps and then users can make choices with the lowest emissions. The Green Software Foundation is a great group, partnering with them to share best practices and knowledge with other members is part of this journey to further reduce carbon emissions. I think we, with others, can really lead the way here.