Financial Services

Case Study – Prosper.com

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Project Overview
Our company was asked to assist the internal team at a company called Prosper.com.  Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending site, and is governed by many local and federal regulations.  As a result, the systems necessary to support this business are complicated and intricate.  Since the site is also very popular, this complication must be able to support a large number of transactions as well.
Solution
We assisted the in-house development team by working with them to develop a modular approach to development that would allow the different components to be updated and replaced more easily.  This allowed the different development teams to focus on different parts of the business without interfering with each other.
Technical Details
The services were implemented as stand-alone systems using WCF and ASP MVC.  Each system was planned and implemented using Microsoft Message Queue so it could be taken down and upgraded at any time without affecting the rest of the system.  This provided the network management team excellent flexibility in the way they managed the version rollout process.

By building each module as a stand-alone component, they were also all easily testable, which improved the quality control for the company.
Benefits

Improved Quality and Uptime
The system design allowed testing of each individual piece apart from the others, so the QA team could more easily focus on what pieces were working and which were broken.  It also allowed each piece to be changed without affecting the rest of the application.

Improved Developer Productivity
By using a modular approach for such a complicated site, the developers on the team were able to be much more productive.  Each small team could focus on the one piece they were working on, and not get distracted by all the other moving pieces that […]

Case Study – ProBusiness (Now ADP)

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Project Overview
ProBusiness is a large processor of payroll, deductions, and other payroll processing services, and maintained a website for their customers to use which allowed individuals to log in and view their payroll information online.  The functionality included the ability to view an accurately represented image of their paychecks and deductions, change their deduction elections, and make other changes in their individual payroll processing.

All access to the system needed to be very secure, yet very responsive.  On payroll day, the site would receive thousands of requests per minute.  We were brought in on this project to help improve the performance of this mission critical website, and to help in re-architecting the site to handle projected growth.

Solution
The existing system was analyzed for trouble spots, including analysis of the database, network activity, and code.  The most critical changes were targeted and improvements were implemented each weekend for several months, ensuring continued availability of the system but also incrementally improving the user experience and stability.  Code was updated to improve the security and performance.

To ensure the sites’ ability to handle the predicted growth, the structure of the site and the design of the infrastructure were reviewed and a new plan was put in place that would accommodate the predicted growth, as well as unforeseen growth.
Technical Details
The site was built in ASP.NET and used a MS SQL Server back end for data storage.  The databases were mirrored using Windows Cluster Server and MS SQL Enterprise which supports failover clustering.  In the event any piece of hardware were to fail, a hot spare would immediately take over the duties of that server thus exposing only about 1 minute of downtime to the users.

Benefits

Improved Customer Retention
The functioning of the site was causing […]

Case Study – Financial Navigator

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Project Overview
Financial Navigator publishes a commercial software package that helps high net worth individuals manage the accounting problems that are unique to their situation.  We were brought aboard to reengineer an existing, dated, system to give it new life without trying to rewrite all of the existing code.
Solution
Our approach was to use modern technologies to make all planned feature additions, but to keep the existing functionality in the existing technology.  As features were built that overlapped the existing older technology, the old was replaced by the new, allowing the application to continue to meet release deadlines throughout the reengineering process.
Technical Details
The original system was written in VB6 using a MS Access back end.  We were brought in to update this technology to C# using SQL Server.  The decision as made to keep it running as a Windows application instead of porting it to the web, in order to continue providing the fast keyboard response the package had become known for.  This meant we built all new interface components using WPF and the MVVM pattern, while using a services pattern to slowly replace the existing VB code.
Benefits

Improved Customer Service and Retention
The additional features we introduced filled the gaps in functionality that were in the product, and which the existing customers were asking for.  It also allowed us to deploy these features more quickly than if we had tried to rewrite the application from scratch in the new technology.
Increased Revenue
The additional features also provided more selling points the sales team could use when discussing the application with new customers.

Case Study – Bank of America

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Project Overview
Bank of America had an outdated system to manage their Real Estate assets and contacted us to help them reengineer it and to bring it up to modern standards.  The goal of the project was to allow the 40 people managing the properties to work with the most up to date information possible, while automating as many tasks as possible.

The system needed to track the voluminous paperwork required when a bank manages real estate.  It also needed to track the scheduling of any necessary repairs to the properties, and manage the resale process in a manner that followed all applicable laws.
Solution
We developed a database that could be accessed from a remote location easily and quickly to allow the geographically dispersed workforce to work as a team.  We also built the software that would enforce the many rules and regulations concerning the resale of these types of properties.  Then we managed the day-to-day administration of the system and hardware, allowing the bank to focus on managing their properties.

For the business side, we helped the bank design the processes necessary to derive the most out of their investment in the new technology.
Technical Details
This system was meant to be an internal system, and the security concerns particular to this application required that it be built as and Windows application instead of a Web Application.  We used VB.NET since the internal team at Bank of America was familiar with this technology, along with a SQL Server 7.0 back end.

We distributed the application using Click-Once technology so the network, administration team could manage distribution from a central location and simply email out a link to the installer for the proper people to use it.
Benefits

Decreased Expenses
Our system decreased the paperwork and […]