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Tokyo Transitions to DevOps Innovations: The Journey of David Keane

Wed 14 Feb 2024

Ahead of DevOps Live at ExCeL London on the 6-7 of March, we had the opportunity to talk with David Keane, Co-founder of Calitii and former Global Head of DevOps Transformation at HSBC.

David is set to share his insights at DevOps Live in March, but our discussion delved into three formative years that significantly influenced his life and professional journey.

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An Unplanned Journey to Japan

The year 1992 marked the beginning of David’s career, a period that he fondly recalls as a transformative phase. Fresh from university in Ireland, David embarked on an adventurous move to Tokyo, Japan.

He stepped into a world vastly different from anything he had known before.

“I moved from a Western culture and never having traveled outside of that before, to be immersed in something completely different,” David reminisced.

The sudden plunge into a new culture, language, and set of customs served as a profound learning experience, shaping his approach to problem-solving and collaboration in his subsequent career.

A Career Forged in Diversity

David’s initial role in Japan involved working in software and hardware engineering for a company that specialised in mobile phones and two-way radios.

This technical foundation was pivotal, yet David’s career took an unexpected turn when he ventured into the finance sector, trading European currencies.

This blend of engineering and finance became a cornerstone of David’s career, particularly influencing his later work in financial services.

Reflecting on this transition, David noted: “It was definitely an accident … I was just looking to learn, to put into practice what I’d been studying at university, for adventure, and to grow up.”

Embracing DevOps

Fast forward to the years 2013 and 2014, David found himself at the forefront of the emerging DevOps movement while seeking to enhance operations and IT development at HSBC.

This period was characterised by a search for a holistic solution that transcended mere incremental improvements. The principles of DevOps, centered on fostering collaboration and breaking down silos, resonated deeply with David’s experiences and aspirations.

“It was truly transformational … not only helped us go faster and break less as we set out to do but also improved the day in the life of the engineer,” David explained, highlighting the dual benefits of operational efficiency and enhanced workplace culture.

In the end, the DevOps transformation at HSBC is considered to be ‘the largest ever recorded’.

A New Chapter

The most recent chapter in David’s career unfolded in 2023 with the establishment of Calitii, marking his foray into entrepreneurship.

This move was driven by a desire to apply his extensive experience in a new and impactful way. Calitii’s early success in securing prominent clients within the banking sector underscores the industry’s recognition of the value David and his team bring to the table.

Reflecting on this new venture, David shared: “It has brought a whole new set of challenges … but it’s been tremendously good fun, as well as hard work and nerve-wracking at times.”

Looking Forward to DevOps Live

As David prepares for his appearance at DevOps Live, he looks forward to not only sharing his journey and insights but also engaging with peers and industry professionals.

The event offers a platform for mutual learning and exchange, reflecting the collaborative ethos at the heart of the DevOps movement.

Through his discussions on control, purpose, and the broader implications of DevOps and agile methodologies, David aims to contribute to the ongoing conversation about navigating the complexities of technological transformation in a rapidly evolving landscape.

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