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In April 2015, the transport company Keolis created its subsidiary Kisio, bringing together the B to B activities and Kisio Digital department in charge of digital solutions for travelers and transport actors: route calculation, ticket purchase, … To carry out its mission, and to reconcile development and IT production, Kisio Digital has implemented the DevOps method.

Explanation with Guillaume Crouïgneau, Executive Director Sébastien Preneta, Chief Technology Officer of Kisio Digital (Keolis)

What impact has the creation of Kisio Digital had on the general organization of IT services within the Keolis Group?

Guillaume Crouïgneau (GC): The creation of Kisio Digital has clarified the roles of everyone by specifying the missions of the IT department and the other teams. The Kisio Digital subsidiary is now in charge of all the development of digital solutions and services for passengers and transport organising authorities. This ranges from product design to marketing, including team management.

The IT Department focuses on the group’s internal information system, including its development and IT production. For example, the IT department is responsible for Internet access and office tools for employees, as well as business applications, payroll and financial solutions. It also manages IS security.
The previous organization was not optimal. There was duplication of missions and functions between Keolis’ IT department and Kisio Digital’s development teams. From now on, everything is much simpler. We keep close and regular contact with the group’s IT department. But we now have full control over the development of digital products, as is the case, for example, with our recent mobile application “PlanBookTicket”, which allows you to prepare your journey, buy and validate your ticket from a smartphone.

You have adopted the DevOps method. Why?

Sébastien Preneta (SP): The idea of the DevOps method is to have the “Dev” teams, in charge of application development, and the “Ops” teams, in charge of operations, work hand in hand. Clearly, a number of companies have applied models from the civil engineering of the 1960s to the organization of their IT, with those who develop and implement solutions on one side, and those who operate the solutions on the other.

But this creates friction, as the former want to constantly evolve the system, while the latter prefer nothing to change. To reconcile CIOs and CTOs, the DevOps method suggests making small, regular changes to solutions, rather than making large, sudden changes once a year.

With regular, but small or medium-sized developments, it is easier to correct possible problems quickly and simply. This is what we do, for example, with our Navitia solution, a white-label platform for transport authorities that integrates route search and passenger information. This market-leading solution is updated every 15 days, without taking up the resources of the development and operations teams.

How did you set up this method?

SP: In order to be able to update the solution regularly, we have automated as many processes as possible. For example, software tests are now completely performed by the machine, whereas they were previously managed manually. Another important point: to make it easy for the “Dev” and “Ops” teams to work together, we brought them together geographically.

Finally, for each project, the teams can rely on a DevOps manager who ensures the cohesion of the whole. In particular, it maintains the dialogue and co-responsibility of the teams. It took us two years to set up this method, which we are still refining. Today, all the products made by Kisio Digital are developed in DevOps.

What are the benefits of this reconciliation between CIO and CTO?

GC: It makes the deployment of innovations for travelers more fluid and faster. It brings together the “build” and “run” teams, which have every interest in working together. Separating them, with different goals, timetables and procedures, creates a wall of confusion. This wall comes down by simply saying: we will innovate, at a steady pace, without disruption, and with all teams contributing.