5/5 - (3 votes)

Summary Summary

  • Industry: Finance
  • Location: Europe
  • Partnership period: 5 months
  • Team size: 3 experts
  • Software product: Web application
  • Expertise delivered: UI/UX development, performance tuning, cloud migration, code quality improvement

Tech Stack

  • Spring Boot
  • Angular
  • Java 8
  • GCP
  • MySQL
  • Git
  • Auth0

Methodology, Tools

  • Kanban
  • CI/CD

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Overview

Our client is a Western-European provider of equity research and investment advisory services with some 20+ years of experience. Over the years, they have earned the trust of market leaders in their industry. The company keeps up with the latest financial trends and technological innovations at all times, and the project under review was another move in this direction.

Initially, the client had an on-premise private platform that provided users with information on the investment potential of specific businesses. However, only the company’s CEO and employees had access to this platform, and they provided the client’s customers with reports, graphics, metrics, company comparisons, and dashboards on demand. The client needed to make the platform fully automated and accessible both internally to all their employees and publicly in order to eliminate the need to process each request manually.

Prior to the project’s kick-off, SPD Group had been involved in developing applications that were very similar to the client’s one for 13+ years, but on a much larger scale. Because of this, we had a team of developers that was a perfect fit to tackle the project at hand.

Business Goals

The main business objective was to improve the experience for the company’s clients by providing them with subscription-based access to the most accurate financial information in the shortest time possible. With an easy-to-use Web application developed for this purpose, our client’s service offering would become a lot more appealing to their potential customers and give them an additional edge over their competitors.

Technical Challenges

Initially, we had to work with a private on-premise platform with 5+ components that was not designed to be user-friendly and self-descriptive for customers. The three main challenges for us on the technical side included the following:

  • User Experience/User Interface Design Improvement
  • Performance Optimization
  • Cloud Migration

Each challenge was equally important in delivering the high-quality online experience that our clients envisioned. Our team needed to collaborate with a team of developers on the client’s side, to deal with the above challenges.

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Solution

Our team that started working on this project included front-end and back-end developers and a team lead. With some changes along the way, our development team always consisted of 3 dedicated experts.

The first step was to create a self-descriptive User Interface. To achieve this, we introduced some new features. This included tips, responsive design to display websites in proper resolution on different screens, spinners for the infinite loading of components, and packs of templates, libraries, and components such as Bootstrap. Our team also worked on the functionality that allowed users to customize the number of components on the screen to enable the end-user to choose which ones to display. Overall, we focused on improving the User Interface and grouping the variety of elements on the screen in the most user-friendly way.

“The two biggest challenges with UX/UI we successfully overcame were the need to migrate from the older version of Angular to use certain components, and the improvement of the legacy code.”
— Igor Dmitriev, Team Lead, SPD Group

As for the performance issues, there were some typical problems associated with the ineffective usage of the Hibernate and N+1 frameworks. The main goal here was to reduce the number of queries, sent by the server to the database that slowed down the application’s performance. We successfully resolved this problem. We also optimized the SQL queries and added caching.

The final step was to migrate the on-premise application to the Cloud. Keeping in mind that the initial application was not designed to be deployed to the Cloud, our team delivered several upgrades and optimizations first in order to eliminate some major issues within the code. We turned the application into a 12-factor app that is based on a stateless architecture enabled by Cloud-native techniques. After we did that, the app could be easily scaled and deployed to the Cloud without any additional changes. Our project team helped the client migrate the app to the Google Cloud. We also introduced continuous integration and continuous delivery practices into the process, and thus achieved zero downtime deployment for the application.

As far as security is concerned, we performed migration to the Auth0 to entrust the security of the application to a modern SaaS service that adheres to the latest security standards and protocols. Auth0 has a number of important, out-of-the-box features, such as the support of magic links, social connections, SSO, MFA, and so on. This move provided us with authorization mechanisms and facilitated the management of user roles, thereby sparing us the trouble of developing this functionality from scratch.

Results

5 months after the commencement of the development process, our project team managed to release a new and significantly improved version of the application. The main business goal of the project has been achieved: the client’s customers are now able to leverage the modernized Cloud application to fulfill their financial information needs.

Our team was able to achieve a 10x performance improvement, as compared with the original on-premise version of the application. Thanks to the efforts of our team in improving the deployment speed and automizing code deployment, each new feature introduced to the application become available to the end-user in just a few minutes. This means that the time-to-market for our client has shrunk dramatically, and the client’s team can now promptly add new features to improve their customer experience even further, with or without our assistance.

The Web application for the financial platform has thus become fully scalable. It is now optimized for unlimited traffic and supports future growth.

As of summer 2021, the partnership between SPD Group and our client has been put on hold due to some COVID-19-related budget constraints on the client’s side. However, the client is very happy with our project team’s performance. They are planning to evolve the application even further in the future, by introducing some new features and adjusting the software in accordance with customer feedback. This is another success story by SPD Group, which proves the effectiveness of our remote dedicated software development teams in building mission-critical products for businesses and other organizations around the globe. We would be eager to continue working on this project and help our client achieve more ambitious goals.

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