The power of in-sprint automation

Automation

The power of in-sprint automation

A large securities firm sped up time-to-market with end-to-end test automation on the cloud.

Client

A leading securities trading firm

Goal

Build a cloud-based automation framework to test client’s trading platform

Tools and technologies

C#, Ranorex, TestRail, Simulators and Selenium.

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

The client had a legacy trading platform that had grown and evolved over time. The platform consisted of a stack of 33 applications, built on a variety of technologies and architectures.

Testing new features and additions was proving to be a big challenge. A simple change in one feature would warrant a verification of the complete application. To ensure that any change does not affect other functionality, the client needed to do extensive regression testing and verification.

This was a cumbersome process with over 20,000 or 30,000 test cases being checked and executed manually. The trading firm had to deploy over 20 people to carry out this exercise. The client had tried to automate the testing process with a variety of tools but was not able to get the efficiencies it wanted.

In addition, the client had multiple squads working on different apps, functionality and features. Each squad used its own automation suite. It was becoming a challenge to co-ordinate the work of the different squads and ensure that changes made by a squad did not impact the overall functionality of the platform. Iris’s brief was to design and deploy a common cloud-based test automation framework for the client’s trading platform to ensure that it could launch new features faster.

SOLUTION

Using its cloud-based ready-to-deploy test automation framework, Iris sped up the deployment of new features for the client’s trading platform. The cloud solution, based on Amazon Web Services (AWS), featured continuous testing of multiple products on a common framework layer. It allowed for complete capacity planning of spinned cloud instances and need-based shutdowns.

Iris executed the project using acceptance test driven development (ATDD), a methodology that involves collaboration between customers, business teams and development teams. The teams jointly created the user stories and put down the acceptance criteria for any feature or functionality. Then tests were designed within the common framework to check if the feature met the acceptance criteria.

What was unique about the approach? Typically, automation is introduced towards the end of a development cycle. You would find that, in most projects, developers bring in automation in Sprint 4 for features developed in Sprint 1, 2 and 3. As a result, return on investment isn’t maximized. Our team introduced ‘in-sprint’ automation, enabling 90% test automation with every sprint. This resulted in more efficient and faster testing, and cost savings for the client.

OUTCOMES

Client’s deployment speed improved significantly with 90% faster execution to each sprint cycle and 80% faster script development.

The cloud-based solution is 100% configurable for on-demand execution on AWS, which reduced the client’s cloud infrastructure costs by 70%.

The new ability for complete capacity planning through the use of infrastructure-as-code (IaC) for spinning up cloud instances helped the client achieve end-to-end (E2E) automation of regression/ functional test cases.

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Data consolidation speeds up drug search

Cloud

Data consolidation speeds up drug search

An automated cloud-based consolidation application for R&D data helped a pharmaceutical company improve turnaround time for APRs and reduce manual work.

Client

A U.S.-based pharmaceutical multinational corporation.

Goal

Reduce turnaround time for APRs.

Tools and technologies

Amazon’s AWS OPCx, Webmethods, natural language processing (NLP), neural networks, and Python programming

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

In pharmaceutical R&D, data is generated from several sources: the process, patients, retailers, and caregivers, among others. Pharmaceutical R&D organizations that use the traditional way of creating APRs manually consolidate paper specifications into binders across all R&D functions.

Specific regional rules, compliance mandates, and external regulations were slowing down the client’s workflow.

The many spreadsheets in multiple formats were leading to errors from manual entry and duplication of data — the inevitable “swivel effect” that results from data being pulled out from disparate, unconnected software packages.

Iris was approached to improve the process of collecting and using data from multiple sources; the improvement would help the client identify and develop new potential drug candidates faster.

SOLUTION

Iris’s team of 12 specialists designed, developed, tested, and deployed a cloud-based application that integrates data from multiple regions and eight different systems into a single, unified interface for the client’s users. Our application unified the creation and management of the client’s workflows across its lines of business and 20 different product families.

The development environment included Amazon’s AWS OPCx; Webmethods; natural language processing (NLP); neural networks; and Python programming.

OUTCOMES

Within a year of the application’s release, 2800 users were using the application, with 55% of APRs turning around in 10 calendar weeks or less. Thanks to the in-memory data grid, the response time of transactions across-the-broad has been brought down to nearly 2 seconds.

The cloud-based application developed by Iris ensures that data is automatically and seamlessly shared between systems that were previously stand-alone and required the tedious manual entry of data.

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Cloud-native app opens new markets

Cloud

Cloud-native app opens new markets

A prominent bonds trading network expands its market reach with new products and geographies.

Client

The world’s leading provider of trading services for fixed income products

Goal

Create an IT architecture to support growth across markets and products

Tools and technologies

AWS Cloud, Java, Springboot, React JS, React, Redis, Kafka, C#, Ranorex and Test Rails

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

The client, a market leader in bonds trading, is expanding to new markets, acquiring new businesses, introducing products and adding features to existing offerings. To support its growth plans, it needed an agile, modern, cloud-based platform.

Some of the business needs the client wanted to address with the new solution were:

  • How do we achieve scale with minimal latency in operations and service?
  • How do we integrate new businesses seamlessly and without disruption?
  • How do we roll out new features faster to improve customer experience and get a competitive edge?
  • How can we use data to help customers make better trading decisions? How can we monetize the data?

As a solution partner, we had to not only create a new IT architecture for the client’s trading platform but also constantly re-engineer and improve the architecture to quickly meet emerging business needs.

SOLUTION

We deployed a scalable, highly available auctions solution on the AWS cloud using Java, Springboot, React JS, React, Redis, and Kafka.

  • Optimized algorithms now achieve best matching with minimal latency while offering full price transparency.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) provide greater insight and real-time price discovery for specific asset classes.

The new cloud-based architecture enabled the client to create products and monetize market data. The products helped customers get accurate data in real-time to take better and faster trading decisions.

Test automation across the trade lifecycle using a combination of C#, Ranorex, Test Rails helped the client update user interfaces (UI) without reducing performance; it eased integration linkages between the acquired solution’s frontend and the client’s existing backend.

OUTCOMES

The introduction of Agile methodology and the cloud-native application has helped the client significantly speed up time-to-market for new releases – it’s now able to make releases several times a year.

The new IT architecture now allows the client to offer trading in Muni bonds (an acquired product) and US treasuries (a new service). The solution also enables the client to support Chinese markets.

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The power of in-sprint automation

A large securities firm speeds up time-to-market with end-to-end test automation on the cloud.

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Real-time tracking of a global container fleet

Transportation & Logistics

Real-time tracking of a global container fleet

A cloud-based GPS-integrated solution delivered, for our client, real-time visibility of its shipments, bringing efficiencies in time, cost and regulatory compliance.

Client

A diversified global business group with a strong presence in maritime services.

Goal

Real-time tracking of a global container fleet.

Tools and technologies

Microsoft Azure, Node JS, C#, Bootstrap, and HTML5.

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

The pandemic has made it critical for the transportation and logistics firms to manage their assets (or fleets) more efficiently.

Demand is high for real-time asset tracking and tracing solutions. For the marine services business of our client, real-time management of a global fleet of containers required continuous, global tracking.

Tracking the container fleet and meeting compliance requirements was laborious and error-prone, often leading to delays and lost opportunities. The client also did not have a mechanism to track customer usage of pay-per-use containers.

We were tasked with creating multi-tenant based cloud application that would be optimized for cost and yet not compromise the user experiences of customers and field teams.

SOLUTION

Our decade-long experience in radio-frequency identification (RFID) helped us address this challenge. Our information engineers, UX designers, solution architects, and business analysts worked onsite with the customer to test scenarios and create a new architecture along with new user experiences and interfaces.

We built the solution using the latest Microsoft Azure cloud services and BizTalk and RFID middleware for an integrated framework involving multiple customers (tenants) and services.

An offshore team engineered the new application with the capabilities sought by the client; the architecture team helped create new systems and environments for development, quality assurance (QA), user acceptance testing (UAT), and production. The solution was capable of handling large amounts of streaming data with the help of edge services located near-site. Customized workflows captured container movement within each site, while GPS services tracked container movement across the globe.

The application, which was deployed well within the scheduled deadline, enables post-production maintenance and enhancements from our offshore center.

OUTCOMES

We engineered real-time tracking and tracing for the client’s global container fleet, with map support and enhanced personalization for users based on location and asset class. Responsive design ensured that the application could be seamlessly used across various devices.

Our experience with RFID and cloud-based engineering helped us anticipate and prepare the scenarios well in advance so that solutions could be delivered to the client fast. This significantly reduced the time for the client to prepare cost and compliance status reports, and location-based dashboards for KPIs.

The near-real time tracking of containers reduced the time to calculate exact container usage and certificate status from days and hours to a few minutes.

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Setting a high standard for member experience

Standards & Membership

Setting a standard for member experience

We helped a global standards organization build a cloud-native micro services-based platform to store and share data on billions of products with members.

Client

One of the world’s leading retail standards organizations.

Goal

Build a 24x7 cloud-based platform capable of storing and sharing data on billions of products.

Tools and technologies

Java, Python, NodeJS, .NET, Azure PostgreSQL, Azure SQL, MongoDB, Redis, Azure DevOps, Pipelines, Git, Docker, Kubernetes, Azure App Service.

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Our client is a global standards organization. Its products and codes are used by millions of brand owners, retailers and supply chain partners around the world.

The organization needed an always on, scalable cloud-based platform capable of storing and sharing data on billions of products and related information with members and partners across the world.

The client also wanted the ability to onboard member organizations quickly and seamlessly.

They wanted the business capabilities developed on platform to be available as modern and secure enterprise-level APIs.

SOLUTION

Iris chose a microservices architecture for high agility, loose coupling, independent deployability and maintainability.

We followed an API design-first approach and designed according to the standards-based API specification (OpenAPI Specification).

In line with best practices for securely publishing and maintaining APIs, our team deployed the Azure API management solution. We used Azure APIM developer portal to deliver a superior developer onboarding experience. The solution had other features as well:

  • Design and implementation of the Azure Virtual network for securely hosting the platform
  • A cloud-native architecture using the Azure AppService and an Azure-managed Kubernetes platform.
  • Comprehensive performance testing and optimization at all levels to meet strict SLAs
  • Security testing and vulnerability assessment to ensure secure APIs

OUTCOMES

  • A robust and secure API platform that handles 200,000 API requests per day
  • 50 million codes uploaded in 40 product categories across more than 130 countries
  • Delivered a developer portal for quick on-boarding of MOs and application developers
  • New 7-step verification mechanism led to creation of new revenue streams

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Keeping pace with digital megatrends

Cloud, Automation, Data & Analytics

How to keep pace with digital megatrends

Cost pressures are driving firms to invest in automation, cloud migration and advanced data analytics.

Acceleration in digital transformation is occurring across the board. Most of it was underway earlier pre-COVID, but now it has accelerated, driven by the necessity of the new normal. Defining this megatrend are three chief sub-trends: Migrating to the cloud, Advancing adoption of automation, and Scaling operations with advanced analytics.

Cloud Migration: We see a surge in businesses adopting cloud infrastructure for flexibility and scalability, and to meet the surge in demands from remote users. This includes building cloud-native applications, placing data on the cloud, and harnessing compute competencies.

Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments are clearly winning over in-house data centers. According to a recent IDC report, the worldwide market for cloud systems and service management software will total $21.9 billion in 2024. That represents a five-year compounded annual growth rate of more than 24%.

Many businesses are also finding in cloud applications more effective ways to engage with their customers. For instance, at a leading global business services company, we at Iris are helping building cloud-native applications to support faster onboarding and service customers  in more than 180 countries.

That theme is playing out also at a leading company that provides employee well-being solutions, serving more than a 100 million end-consumers. Here, we are working on modernizing and launching customer engagement omni-channel solutions across desktop, mobile and tablets using cloud-native technology solutions.

Cognitive and intelligent automation: Businesses are accelerating their adoption of AI-based intelligent automation tools such as chatbots, advanced RPA, virtual assistants and cognitive bots. Gartner predicts that 90% of large organizations globally will have adopted RPA in some form by 2022, as they look to digitally empower critical business processes through resilience and scalability, while recalibrating human labor and manual effort.

Chatbots are increasingly popular in the suite of automation solutions. For example, at a leading Fortune 500 audit and advisory firm, we have implemented a multi-lingual chatbot-driven service desk automation solution, integrated with enterprise collaboration platforms for employees distributed globally.

Similarly, at a Fortune 100 global transportation and logistics company, we are implementing a consumer-focused chatbot to address the most frequent queries related to aspects like tracking shipment status and container location. This helps improve productivity of customer help desks and improve customer experience.

 

Advanced data analytics at scale: With enterprise data already on the cloud or moving rapidly towards it, data integration and crunching is now possible at scale and  AI is playing a big role in next wave of advanced data analytics.

AI-based insights, advanced reporting and dynamic visualization are among the chief benefits to be had with real-time analytics. For example, at a leading medical devices company, we have used our proprietary AI-based report rationalization solution to analyze thousands of enterprise reports and recommend an optimized reporting solution on the cloud. This has reduced the volume of redundant reports and maintenance costs for the company. Most importantly, our solution helped develop a reporting stack with which our client gets far better insights into their business.

Triggers for the shifts

Why are those shifts described above occurring? The pandemic has brought on new “cost pressures,” and the implications of work-from-home for automating processes, as companies grow anxious to retain their market shares.

 

With the sudden shift to work-from-home for employees and customers, businesses face the need to connect and collaborate on a real-time basis and in a virtual mode. 

 

One of our clients in the education services industry has for decades conducted standardized testing for K-12 and college-level courses in ‘in-person’ environments at its test centers, schools and accredited third party locations. With the COVID-19 situation, in-person testing is not feasible or is severely restricted. The company now has to provide the same tests in an online environment and make sure the that its test results have the same trust and integrity. This has forced it to rapidly accelerate its digital transformation efforts and roll out virtual tests at scale for millions of students.

Another big driver for the shifts underway is the commoditization and availability of at-scale technologies. That includes high internet speed, cloud infrastructure at scale and on demand, billions of connected devices, low-cost compute power and cheap data storage, to name a few.

Key takeaways

  • Digital transformation is now more urgent than ever before. Organizations now don’t have a choice of either/or.
  • Technology is driving differentiation in marketplace across industries. Organizations that are far ahead in digital transformation are winning. Technology is now a center-stage agenda item in board rooms.

Customers are increasingly doing transactions in an ultra-connected world. Rolling out connected solutions for them is the only way for businesses to survive and grow.

Related Stories

The power of in-sprint automation

A large securities firm speeds up time-to-market with end-to-end test automation on the cloud.

Learn more

Cloud-native app opens new markets

A leading bonds trading network revamps its IT architecture to increase market reach.

Learn more

A legacy portfolio gets a makeover

How one of the Big Four advisory firms turned around an under-performing, high-cost application portfolio to meet growing needs.

Learn more

Contact

Our experts can help you find the right solutions to meet your needs

Get in touch
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