Building a SaaS-based web application for a leading enterprise | ValueLabs

Enterprise IT asset disposition

Business Snapshot

21k

Global associates

5000+

Customers

20m

Units processed annually

Overview

Our client helps enterprise businesses reduce the risk, cost, and complexity involved in managing and disposing of end-of-life IT assets. Wanting to deliver a more transparent, end-to-end customer experience, and transition from a linear service model to a platform-led multi-franchise model, our client needed to improve the agility, flexibility, and scalability of its operational platform. To achieve this, it undertook an ambitious transformation spanning product management, application development, and more

Since 2009, we have worked with our client, a global leader in IT asset disposition (ITAD) and e-waste recycling services, through significant transformation and growth.

Having originally provided system production support for one of its subsidiary companies, what began with a small development project has since grown into a long-term partnership spanning multiple projects.

Our client helps enterprise customers reduce the risk, cost, and complexity of disposing of and refurbishing obsolete or redundant IT assets. And more recently, it has given its customers greater service control by letting them to manage, track, and view the full asset lifecycle from a single dashboard. It’s a service that requires our client to adhere to strict environmental and legislative standards, as well as its own internal rules—of which there are more than 55,000.

E-waste and data destruction is a sensitive business, and customers place a huge amount of trust in our client to handle their assets. But in 2010, its internal asset intelligence system was increasingly slow, hard to manage, and a barrier to service-led growth.

So, in 2018, our client approached us to kickstart an ambitious transformation project spanning 6 services lines.

Services Involved

Software
Development
Product
Management
Modernisation
DevSecOps
Data and BI
Cloud

Business Impact

Product Management - Business alignment brings our client closer to its vision


ValueLabs help deliver a solution that would better meet the needs of client

Dedicated end-to-end
project support

Enabled 80%
flows to be fully customizable

30% increase
in operational team performance

Our client relationship began when we were asked to convert its legacy, Windows-based asset intelligence platform into a web application. Although a small project, our success in this area served to strengthen our technology partnership, making ValueLabs the obvious choice to support its app through global growth.

By 2016, consistent growth had seen our client take on more customers, more data, and even more platform complexity. This caused difficulties as our client worked hard to onboard new customers, expand globally, and deliver a transparent end-to-end service.

To help deliver a solution that would better meet the needs of our client, we first needed to glean as much insight into its challenges as possible before creating a transformation roadmap. To achieve this, we built a team of business analysts to work as an extension of the client’s product team. This gave the client a valuable opportunity to firmly establish key pain points and solution requirements across open workshops and mind-map sessions.

We also embedded an architect team to work alongside the client’s engineering team, supporting quality, integration, and user acceptance testing. By delivering end-to-end support throughout the entire transformation, we were able to build and test a production ready solution design in just two-months.

The solution has delivered transformative results. Although its early days, our client has already recognized a 30% increase in operations team performance, and significant cost savings by eliminating redundant workflow steps.

What’s more, delivering a more agile, end-to-end ITAD and lifecycle management experience has never been simpler. Internal app users now have greater control over their workflows—and less of them—with 80% of all business flows now customizable.

Development - Customizable workflows for simplified development


ValueLabs help client simplify app management, and support business-wide interoperability and customizable workflows

Times by 80%
Reduced QA cycle

Times by 90%
Reduced customer onboarding

Times by 83%
Reduced deployment process

As of 2018, our client’s web-based IT asset management app and customer-facing portal were dependent on a traditional, monolithic architecture, that limited its flexibility and scalability—especially during periods of peak use.

Without control over app workflows or performance, this also stunted operational efficiency, placing time-to-market at the mercy of the development cycle.

To help our client simplify app management, and support business-wide interoperability and customizable workflows, we redesigned its existing app platform and customer-facing portal.

This meant modularizing our client’s monolithic platform into 126 microservices across nine modules, underpinned by a migration to a Microsoft Azure serverless architecture for a more scalable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based experience.

With role-based access controls, automated logic tools, and a workflow engine with configurable tasks and activities, the client’s operations teams can now take greater control of their workflows in the app efficiency. And to accelerate development requirements, we also introduced a Rapid Application Development (RAD) mode.

We also implemented easy multi-tenant support, enabling developers to spin up new tenants with a click of button—reducing franchise onboarding time by 90%. As its franchise users must pay our client a platform usage fee, one-click onboarding also enables our client to accelerate time-to-revenue.

And thanks to multi-language and multi-currency support through an Azure translation API, our client can now easily realise its app to third-party users for use in global markets.

By redesigning its internal ITAD and asset management app, users report an 80% reduction in QA cycle times, 50% less instances of defect leakage, and 83% faster development process times.

Development - Customizable workflows for simplified development


ValueLabs implemented a configurable workflow engine to help operations and engineering teams take greater control of tasks and activities without IT assistance

from 64 to 16
Reduced business flows

Enabled 80%
of flows to be fully customizable

126 microservices
Modularized a monolithic platform

Our client’s operations team had limited control over its application workflows, with only 64% of flows open to configuration. As even the slightest change to a process or customer contract meant customizing the app, this had a significant impact on operational efficiency and time to market.

To compliment our client’s new plug-and-play modules, we implemented a configurable workflow engine to help operations and engineering teams take greater control of tasks and activities without IT assistance. AI-powered Fair Market Value (FMV) predictions were also introduced—based on historical data—to help users automate and inform smarter repair decisions.

As a result of these changes, we were able to reduce 64 of our client’s business flows to 16—of which 80% are now fully customizable.

DevOps - Automation for fast, reactive change


ValueLabs worked with our client’s operations team to implement a more flexible, automated DevOps pipeline.

DEV/QA/UAT by 83%
Reduced application downtime

Production by 96%
Reduced application downtime

Application updates
Reduced human dependency

Prior to 2018, our client had to manually deploy applications, leading to high levels of downtime and slow code verification.

In fact, a simple update could put the app out of commission for up to four hours while the DevOps team manually deployed and verified code. What’s more, platform inflexibility meant customizing app components for onboarding—including contractual and business process changes—could take up to 30 days.

To solve these challenges, we worked with our client’s operations team to implement a more flexible, automated DevOps pipeline. This new pipeline helped improve code reusability, simplify easy version rollback, and offer more control over testing features. We also helped the DevOps team take advantage of an Azure-native deployment process to quickly onboard new projects to the CI/CD process and simplify continuous software delivery.

This resulted in a more streamlined code release process, less human dependence, an 83% reduction in application downtime for DEV/QA/UAT, and a 96% reduction in application downtime for production.

Cloud - Enhanced speed and scalability with a SaaS-based architecture


To help improve app performance and scalability, and reduce manual maintenance demands

By 50%
Increased app performance

Improved scalability
Implemented a microservices architecture

Azure PaaS
Migrated the client’s core app and database

To help improve app performance and scalability, and reduce manual maintenance demands, we helped our client move its infrastructure to a SaaS-based environment.

This meant migrating its existing web-based app and customer portal to the cloud, and converting standalone applications for multi-tenancy, multi-currency, and multi-lingual use and configurability.

To enhance data visibility and collaboration across the organization, we helped our client move its on-premises database to this same cloud environment. This meant our client could take advantage of reusable frameworks for centralized alert management, document management, approval management, and role-based access control.

By migrating to an Azure cloud environment, our client has been able to easily offer PaaS tools to its tenants and partners, while making it easier and faster for developers to deploy test and dev environments. The client has also been able to scale resources faster, in near real-time, while reducing risk across its blue/green deployments.

Data and BI - Superfast insights for a complete operational visibility


To help our client gain end-to-end asset visibility, and extract smarter, more actionable insights from its operational data.

100% secure
Reporting

80% less
Demand for IT intervention

80% reduction
In reports count

After years of contending with rising data volumes and platform complexity, our client was finding it increasingly difficult to get an accurate end-to-end view of asset processing, operational performance, and the customer lifecycle.

To get the insight it needed, business teams often had to submit report tickets to IT, which put significant strain on daily operations. But even with IT assistance, its database architecture was slow and inflexible, limiting scalable access to BI.

To help our client gain end-to-end asset visibility, and extract smarter, more actionable insights from its operational data, we provided interactive dashboards for finance, sales, and performance analysis for a single 360-degree view of the IT asset lifecycle across all regions.

We also worked together to move frequently accessed data to SSD storage for superfast response times, complimented by a reserved throughput model for improved data availability and scalability across unstructured, semi-structured, and structured data.

And with easy dashboard access to multi-regional database accounts, simplified queries, and the ability to handle large volumes of data at high-speed, our client has achieved an 80% reduction in reports, horizontal database scalability, and 99.999% data availability across the organization.

With enhanced BI visibility and control, our client can now easily access timely, accurate insights spanning operational performance, resource efficiency, and asset status. For example, assets with bad serial numbers, without lifecycle status, or in need of auditing are now clearly visible in a single, centralized dashboard—enabling our client to make fast, context-aware decisions.

Easy BI customization and 100% secure reporting also mean demand for IT intervention has reduced by 80%, helping IT save time it can now spend on more value-adding tasks.

A view to a platform-led future


Our modernization program finally allows our client to offer customers the seamless and personalized end-to-end IT asset management it always strived to deliver. And with the new web portal, customers have greater visibility and control over the ITAD process, so they can easily schedule pickups, view audit reports, download certificates of data destruction, and more

And by laying the foundation for platform-led growth and operational scalability, our client can take its customer experience to the next level, giving them the insight and control to manage every facet of the asset lifecycle process. And thanks to seamless multi-tenant provisioning, our client can now easily action new revenue models.

It’s been a long journey, spanning multiple teams, business lines and functions, but our collaboration has paid off—and the results are transformative. And wherever our client’s journey takes them next, we’re proud to be considered their trusted partner.


We are grateful to have our client’s trust in delivering such a critical platform transformation,”. “From architecture design through to platform delivery, we worked closely with our client at every stage of the project to accurately reflect its vision—and demonstrate the value of our OneCompany® model.

Mr. Krishna Munagala, Senior Vice President, Sales, ValueLabs.


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