On Cloud Nine: Fisher Investments’ Cloud Platform Engineering Team Loves What They Do

What is it like to be a part of Fisher Investments’ cloud evolution? Built In sat down with the VP of Cloud Platforms and Systems Operations, a Senior Cloud Engineer and a Cloud Platform Team Leader to find out.

Written by Jenny Lyons-Cunha
Published on Mar. 06, 2023
On Cloud Nine: Fisher Investments’ Cloud Platform Engineering Team Loves What They Do
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With a 40-year legacy in the investment industry, Fisher Investments’ combines traditional modes of hardware with a cloud-based evolution to create a dev-ops for its engineers.

Jo, the VP of Cloud Platforms and Systems Operations, described the chance to join Fisher Investments as a rare opportunity to be a part of a transformative moment.

“When I was interviewing, there was a lot of talk about eliminating technical debt,” she said. “The things we’re doing in the cloud space are unlike anything Fisher Investments has ever done before — it’s really exciting.”

 

Fisher Investments talk in their office.
Fisher Investments

 

WHAT FISHER INVESTMENTS DOES

Fisher Investments is an investment firm with a 40-year history of helping clients reach their financial goals. The firm strives to “better the investment universe” by tailoring its investment work and adapting to the shifting needs of its clients.

 

There is an electricity in the way Jo and her team describe their ventures at Fisher Investments. Pat, a Cloud Platform Team Leader, articulated the attraction of the cloud challenge like this: “Coming into this role, the ask was to help build out platforms and elevate the underlying technology.”

“The draw for me was that Fisher is an established organization with a 40-year history,” Pat said. “The company is a big player in the investing industry, and here was this opportunity to understand where Fisher was in their cloud journey and help the company achieve their future vision. 

 

A Fisher Investments team member gives a presentation.
Fisher Investments

 

What the Cloud Platform Engineering Team Does

Fisher’s Cloud Platform Engineering team is setting the company’s sights on its approach to technology. “We’re automating the deployment of cloud infrastructure components, with the ultimate goal of creating a self-service environment,” Jo explained. “We want to help our internal clients by providing templates they can choose from to deploy their cloud infrastructure components in a simple and consistent manner.”

 

This allows for more efficient and consistent infrastructure deployment at the investment firm. Pat, for his part, enjoys connecting with other teams. “It’s really exciting to get different departments to adopt some of the cloud native services— to understand what the cloud can do for them, see the scalability and understand how effectively the cloud can accelerate growth,” Pat said. “That’s what gets me out of bed every day.”

When Fisher’s cloud efforts were described to Jo during her interview process with Fisher, she was thrilled, “The world is at our fingertips. Being at the beginning of this is hugely exciting for a technologist because you have the opportunity to set the direction, to visualize and implement the vision.”

“There is just this big open door for opportunity,” David said

 Jo, Pat and David have walked through this portal of opportunity with a clear vision of Fisher Investments’ future in the cloud.

“We’ve had an opportunity to demonstrate what increased reliability, speed-to-deployment, flexibility and scalability look like in a cloud environment,” Jo said.

 

Virtualizing Fun

Building cloud infrastructure from the ground up isn’t the Cloud Platform Engineering team’s only source of play: When Jo arrived at Fisher Investments, she made a commitment to creating a light-hearted culture for her team. “We did a virtual escape room — it was so cool,” she said. “I love to support a fun work environment and let people know that it’s OK to have fun, by constantly demonstrating it,” Jo said.

 

David has found a deep sense of fulfillment — and fun — in shaping the dev-ops philosophy at Fisher Investments. By walking hand-in-hand with adjacent teams in the organization, David and his colleagues are serving as a bridge from Fisher’s hard-wired past to the promise of the cloud.

“I get to connect with really technical, smart people, and all I have to say is, ‘Hey, this is the approach we want to take,’” he said. “And they catch the vision right away.”

The Cloud Platform Engineering team’s clarity of vision has made it easy for other teams to follow suit — and it stems from a culture of genuine collaboration.

 

By walking hand-in-hand with adjacent teams, David and his colleagues are serving as a bridge from Fisher’s hard-wired past to the promise of the cloud.

 

In Jo’s eyes, there is a fluidity in the hierarchy of her team.

“I’m here to help people achieve goals,” she said. “Each layer you get closer to platform knowledge, the more expertise you have — so I rely on people like Pat and David to guide us to the outcome we want.”

Jo, Pat and David each had a collective sense of wonder over coding the remaining components of Fisher’s infrastructure, stacking additional technology on top of the cloud and developing a roadmap for their colleagues.

If there’s one thing they want to share with the world, it’s the overwhelming possibility that lies in the work ahead of them.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Fisher Investments.

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