Zero + zero + zero = Shunya

Published: 05 May 2020

Ganesh Balasubramanian tells us about the meta-engineering programme in HSBC Technology India aspiring to produce software without defects, outages or vulnerabilities.

Organisations with customer-centric ways of working provide a world-class customer experience.

A business analyst may have a different view about what customer-centricity actually means to a technologist – and they would differ from a frontline colleague who deals directly with customers.

But all three would most likely agree that customer-centricity is underpinned by technology. In any business today, technology has a significant bearing on the customer experience.

That’s why we need to transform the ways technology teams operate and put custom-centricity at the heart of the way they work.

To transform we need something to enable our teams across the HSBC landscape to work in a consistent manner; something that allows us to measure service quality consistently, irrespective of the scale and complexity of teams. The answer is Shunya.

The philosophy of Shunya aspires to zero defects, zero outages and zero vulnerabilities in the software solutions that we build. Here, Shunya simply means zero.

In Indian mysticism Shunya literally means ‘That from which everything has come to be.’ Think of software – it is abstract in the sense that it does not have physical properties, at least not in the conventional sense. But it is certainly real; without those zillions of 0s and 1s, the digital world as we know it – from banking to social interactions – just wouldn’t be.

In this sense, Shunya is the origin of the technology that enables us to deliver by connecting us with each other and our customers. Shunya is both our meta-engineering platform and a philosophy that guides our technology teams and measures our software quality and performance in real time.

Through the Shunya meta-engineering platform, we enable our developers with dashboards that give them a qualitative analysis of the code they write in real time. What makes this unique is that we can do this across technology stacks, be it heritage systems, mobile or web.

Using state-of-the-art code analysis tools enables our engineers to identify and fix bugs early in the software development cycle when it is far less expensive. It makes it simpler and faster to fix issues at the source instead of later on.

Engineers want to be seen as being among the best, so coupled with the meta-engineering platform is our Top Engineer Programme that injects healthy competition into the day-to-day work of our engineers by enabling them to compare the quality of their code as determined by Shunya.

By transparently showing good work and top-quality code the natural aspiration to be among the best is driving self-improvement; we have seen time spent on learning triple across HSBC Technology India (HTI).

Shunya reaches far and deep, touching several areas of how we work at HTI. As we continue to build on the Shunya foundation, we’ll get closer to our goal of zero defects, zero outages, and zero vulnerabilities.

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