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PayTV Leader Builds Subscriber Base with Intelligent Search & Recommendation

Case Study

PayTV Leader Builds Subscriber Base with Intelligent Search & Recommendation

The Challenge

An Emmy Award-winning digital video distributor needed an innovative solution to grow its market share in Europe. The company needed to find a way to connect with its subscribers and build relevant relationships that would lead to subscriber and revenue growth, reduce churn and create market momentum.

The Solution

In partnership with the client, Ness created a comprehensive research and development structure across multiple geographies to drive innovation across every aspect of the client’s digital infrastructure. The team developed an algorithm-driven engine that enabled intelligent, personalized search and recommendation capabilities.

The Results

An intelligent suite of advanced metadata and scalable personalization toolsets enabled the client to add over 3 million subscribers across multiple European geographies.

Hours to Minutes: Automation Drives Efficiency for Content Company

Case Study

Hours to Minutes: Automation Drives Efficiency for Content Company

The Challenge

An innovative content management solution provider was over-reliant on manual testing and validation. These manual processes hindered the company’s ability to get new product features to successfully launch in a timely manner.

The Solution

Ness implemented an automated platform that accelerates test environment provisioning, along with a reporting dashboard to highlight test effectiveness and metrics. This solution not only enabled broad testing coverage across the platform but also automated test case generation.

The Results

The company significantly reduced its environment provisioning time from 8 hours to 4 minutes. In addition, platform test coverage increased from 15% to 90%, overall test effort per test cycle reduced from 112 person-days to 60 person-days, and compressed test cycle time reduced from 16 calendar days to 4 calendar days.

Software Company Makes the Move from Monolith to Microservices

Case Study

Software Company Makes the Move from Monolith to Microservices

The Challenge

Businesses today are facing an ever-growing challenge when responding to market changes. With applications typically written in a monolithic fashion, it is difficult to introduce changes because of their cohesive nature. The added complexity of cloud architectures makes them difficult to scale and provision. A global provider of integrated IT and digital marketing solutions to the transportation retail industry recognized it was time to modernize by moving from a monolith architecture to microservices.

The Solution

Ness engineered an OEM/dealership platform based on a microservices architecture. The platform incorporated best practices, such as decomposition of services around business domains, API/messaging-based IPC, API gateways, service discovery, load balancing, containerized deployment using Docker and CI/CD to leverage the speed of delivery.

The Results

The company can now make releases to production from the time the code is checked in just 4 hours instead of the previous 2 to 4 days timeframe. Automation has reduced the deployment window by 50%, from 4 hours to 2 hours. Lastly, the time to production from branch cut and code freeze has been reduced from 2 weeks to 3 days.

Cloud Workforce Provider Takes Its Platform to New Heights

Case Study

Cloud Workforce Provider Takes Its Platform to New Heights

The Challenge

A leading cloud workforce provider for data processing needed to increase the performance and security of its platform to keep pace with demand. In response, the company chose to update the platform’s architecture and move it to Amazon cloud.

The Solution

The company partnered with Ness on the product architecture, design, and implementation aspects. Ness applied an Agile methodology to all international teams, which ultimately behaved like a single unit. A variety of AWS technologies were utilized, such as EC2 instances and Lambda functions, and the architecture was built around ActiveMQ messaging queue to lower the coupling between systems. As part of this solution, Ness established a testing strategy for both functional and non-functional requirements, implemented a UI automation framework, and provided guidelines on security risks and solutions.

The Results

The company achieved a 20–30% increase in the availability and responsiveness of the platform for its end-users. As product quality increased by detecting defects earlier, the company saved costs and realized a faster time to market. The optimized development process also enabled increased productivity and improved customer satisfaction.

Supply Chain Management Software Company Unlocks Success with Shorter Release Cycles

Case Study

Supply Chain Management Software Company Unlocks Success with Shorter Release Cycles

The Challenge

A top supply chain management software company was unable to keep up with business demand due to lengthy testing cycles. These release cycle inefficiencies stemmed from an inability to share delivery ownership and effectively execute across geographically distributed teams. The company also lacked a centralized dashboard to monitor real-time delivery status and results.

The Solution

Ness partnered with the company to define an Agile Scrum process for distributed Agile development across three primary locations in the US and India. As part of this solution, Ness focused on institutionalizing continuous integration, code reviews, and static code analysis. This approach included moving away from a niche-skill-based commercial automation tool, QTP, to a widely used Java-based open-source tool, Selenium, along with a BDD Framework using JBehave. Ness also implemented Serenity reporting along with Gradle to capture screenshots at the test-case level that were shared through emails.

The Results

The company has saved 176 hours per release of regression effort with a total savings of 199 calendar days. Manual regression effort has been reduced by 60% and production defects by 50%. While automation regression coverage increased from 5% to 40% in 6 months. Overall, the company has increased team collaboration and can easily adapt to changing business requirements to sustain increased growth.

Ness Connection – Robert Withers

Meet Robert Withers, Vice President – Global Salesforce Practice Lead. Robert’s long history of helping clients meet their goals through technology plays a big role in his strategy for driving growth for the Ness Salesforce Practice.

 

Q: Tell us a little bit about your role at Ness and what you do.

A: As the Global Salesforce Practice Lead, I am responsible for driving excellence within our Salesforce practice. I lead a team of architects and Salesforce experts that supports sales and helps us put forth the right solutions for our clients. I’m also responsible for developing offerings that we can provide to the broader Ness team in which they can provide to their clients. Salesforce as a platform is very different than a lot of the other business we do here at Ness, so in turn, another part of my role is to help the broader Ness community understand more about Salesforce, and why it’s become so popular.

 

Q: How do you take your coffee or tea?

A: I’m a coffee drinker. I have nothing against tea it’s just that coffee wins out for me; I drink coffee like it is water, once my cup is empty, I’ll go refill it before too long. For me coffee is like pizza, it’s all good but some is better than others. However, normally I’m simple and prefer my coffee black with a splash of oat milk.

 

Q: What’s on your to-do list?

A: On a personal level I am planning a one-on-one trip to France with my mother. As I get older and my parent’s age as well, I feel it is more and more important to spend time with family. My mother is in her late 70’s but still pretty active, so she wanted to take a trip together before she felt she would be too old to actively participate and enjoy it. Also, on my list is to take some time this summer and go to Breckenridge with my family. Living in Colorado I am a big mountain guy, and luckily my family loves the mountains too so it will be nice to enjoy them together.

From a work perspective, the number one thing on my to-do list is to mature and better define our Salesforce offerings to help drive revenue on Salesforce. I’d like to expand upon what we have today and get the word out on what they are about, what’s included, and how the broader Ness team can drive value for our client.

 

Q: What does the future of this space/industry look like to you?

A: The future for Salesforce is massive on two fronts. For one, they continue to buy companies left and right. This drives new opportunities for companies such as Ness. Secondly, they have an incredibly strong footprint in the marketplace today that serves as a foundation for additional services such as AI, integration, and Billing. The Salesforce ecosystem is massive and continues to grow and we intend to grow with it.

 

Q: How did you get started in this industry?

A: I went to college for electrical engineering and honestly it was a really bad choice, but I was stubborn and stuck with it. About four years after college, I just admitted to myself that I wasn’t very good at it.  I turned to consulting because I found that I loved solving business problems and helping clients through the journey of solving those problems. I’ve now found a career in consulting, I’ve worked with both large and small companies, and I’ve even had my own company but the consistent piece of it all is helping clients solve problems.

 

Q: What is the best career advice you’ve ever heard?

A: The best advice is always just to do the right thing. It may seem overly simplistic, but I think we all know what it is in our gut, and at times it may seem difficult.  Taking a step back, I always find if we’ve done the right things for our clients, we’ve garnered respect through demonstrating that we have our client’s interest at heart.

Q: Which meal is your favorite – breakfast, lunch, or dinner and why?

A: I love breakfast, sometimes I get up early to enjoy the quiet of the mountains while I eat, and then after a break, I’ll end up eating breakfast twice – which I love.

But overall, my favorite meal is going out for sushi. I mean, there’s nothing better. I’ve trained my whole family to love it just as much as I do, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but everyone seems to get excited and have a good time.

Q: What’s the next place on your travel list and why?

A: Besides going to France with my mother, I am planning a family trip to Norway for the summer of 2022. My sister’s husband is from Norway, so she and her family recently moved back there to be closer to his parents. I’ve been to Norway before, but my family hasn’t so I am excited to show them how beautiful it is and allow them to experience it themselves.

 

Learn how you can become a part of #LifeAtNess by visiting our careers page.

 

Instinet’s Secure Migration to AWS: The “Landing Zone” Initiative

Case Study

Instinet’s Secure Migration to AWS: The “Landing Zone” Initiative

Instinet’s Migration to AWS helps modernize legacy infrastructure, improve operational efficiency, meet security demands, and scaling business volumes.​​

Executive Summary

The speed, scale, and complexity of the global capital markets business continue to accelerate. As a global agency-model brokerage that delivers tech-enabled services spanning the trading life cycle, Instinet needed to improve technology operational efficiency and capacity in order to stay in front of its clients’ needs. Instinet made a strategic decision to innovate quickly and to decisively expand capacity, functionality, “fluidity,” and nimbleness. They engaged Ness to enable and facilitate a secure migration to AWS, beginning with building out an AWS Landing Zone.

About Instinet

Instinet provides technologically advanced, agency-model brokerage services to institutional clients worldwide and is the wholly owned execution services arm of Nomura Group. They help institutional investors create, protect and capture alpha, reduce complexity, and lower overall trading costs to ultimately improve investment performance.

Instinet seeks to add value across the investment life cycle, providing:

  • Market Insights
  • Trading Services
  • Liquidity Venues
  • Workflow Solutions

The Challenge

  • Instinet’s traditional on-premise infrastructure and data architecture struggled to scale to the volume of business that it currently sees and forecasts in the future, creating potential risks for the customer experience and forestalling innovation and the introduction of new services.
  • Instinet had amassed huge volumes of data over its history, creating an operational and capital-expenditure burden. Continuously scaling up to the volume of data and processing requirements involved throwing more hardware at the problem to deal with spikes in peak demands. As a result, its ability to fully integrate this big data was being constrained.
  • As a major financial player and a subsidiary of global Nomura Group, Instinet has understandably rigorous and demanding security requirements for its organization and infrastructure.

Why AWS

When Instinet decided to analyze external cloud providers, the firm focused on identifying a resource that would not only keep it compliant with a host of evolving global regulatory requirements but also deliver the ongoing low-latency integration, scalability, and information security that it and its clients need. AWS created the Financial Services Competency in order to specifically address the unique workflows, resiliency, security, and services that a firm like Instinet needs. AWS’s depth and breadth in the industry and its ability to customize to Instinet’s workflows made a compelling case for the efficiencies gained by moving certain components off premises and establishing a flexible and stable, cloud-enabled relationship with them.

Why Instinet Chose Ness

Instinet engaged Ness to facilitate its cloud migration because of Ness’ extensive experience working with AWS and its expertise within the financial services industry. Ness’ reputation for successfully delivering mission-critical projects to capital markets businesses made it an excellent match for Instinet.

The Solution

Ness worked with Instinet to understand the specific security requirements, the unique needs of the organization, and the intricacies of their global network to design and build a secure, cross-organization AWS environment that included:

Multi-Account Architecture

  • Identity and Access Management
  • Governance
  • Data Security
  • Network Design
  • Logging

Additionally, Ness built a pipeline for Instinet to facilitate the deployment of new accounts, new policies, and new environments by leveraging the best practices of DevOps and automation. All of the infrastructure and user requirements are defined using CloudFormation templates and parameterized to facilitate easily reproducible and consistent instantiation of future artifacts. Based on the AWS Landing Zone, Ness implemented extensive custom policies to meet Instinet’s security and compliance requirements.

Results and Benefits

By partnering with Ness, Instinet was able to create a secure AWS environment with necessary guardrails to facilitate the successful migration of key elements of its business to AWS. In addition, Ness helped the organization augment DevOps best practices to ensure the optimal utilization of its cloud environment as it moves forward. Instinet now has an account “vending machine” to create, within minutes, new environments for isolating groups and activities, each with a base of required security policies that can be customized for special needs.

Utilizing the cloud in this way has accelerated the Instinet development team’s ability to focus on innovating and deploying new products that leverage their vast amount of historic data. The Landing Zone built by Ness is the foundation for a Data Lake being constructed in AWS that will enable Instinet to seamlessly integrate its historic data into the trading life cycle. With AWS, Instinet can scale as needed for a variety of AI/ML applications, providing the firm with the capacity for real-time deep learning and the heuristic optimization of its clients’ order-management and analytics processes.

Ness Conducts Well-Architected Review at jaccomo

Case Study

Ness Conducts Well-Architected Review at jaccomo

Executive Summary

Ness was engaged by jaccomo to conduct an AWS Well-Architected Review  (WAR) of the software company’s AWS disaster-recovery environment. The WAR revealed areas for improvement related to security and operational excellence. Ness worked closely with jaccomo to remediate the findings of the WAR using minimally invasive additions and out-of-the-box configurations. In less than a week, Ness strengthened jaccomo’s overall business posture as it prepares to expand its use of AWS infrastructure and services.

About jaccomo

Founded in 2002, jaccomo provides operations, compliance, financial-reporting, e-form, and workflow capabilities to financial services companies. The company’s proprietary Back and Front Office software provides a secure, scalable, and automated platform to integrate data, automate business processes, and provide analytics to senior management. jaccomo’s clients include institutional broker-dealers, registered investment advisors, banks and retail companies.

The Challenge

jaccomo’s continued growth requires high availability to meet the growing needs of its clients. The company currently runs its workload in a colocation data center with a disaster-recovery environment in AWS. Accordingly, jaccomo required that improvements to its disaster-recovery environment would involve minimum manual intervention and would need to be aligned with its existing on-prem security posture.

Why AWS

The AWS Well-Architected Framework provides cloud architects with a consistent approach for building secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure for applications. A WAR assesses an application across five pillars—Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, and Cost Optimization—and provides a path to improvement or remediation. WARs are often provided to clients free of charge by AWS Well-Architected Partners.

Why jaccomo Chose Ness

Ness is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner with Financial Services, Migration, and DevOps Competencies. The firm combines business domain knowledge, technical expertise, and an Agile delivery process to address the unique challenges of financial services businesses. A member of the AWS Well-Architected Partner Program, Ness was the ideal partner to evaluate and improve jaccomo’s AWS environment.

The Solution

Nss worked jointly with jaccomo to address specific security and expected functionality concerns. Specific resources received enhanced security using AWS-native functionality to encrypt and restrict permissions.

  • AWS Control Tower was implemented to provide central management of multi-account setups, in anticipation of an expansion of jaccomo’s AWS usage.
  • AWS SSO was implemented to provide central user management and a mechanism for providing expirable user credentials (instead of manually managed IAM users/access keys).
  • Security groups were reviewed and tightened to reduce potential attacks.
  • EC2 IAM roles were used to eliminate the need for “service user” IAM user accounts (and the resulting access keys, which were a potential security vulnerability).
  • Amazon EBS volumes were set up to use Amazon KMS encryption by default.
  • Existing AWS CloudWatch infrastructure monitoring was enhanced.

Results and Benefits

Ness leveraged its AWS expertise and deep knowledge of financial services businesses to deliver the solution on time and on budget. Ness provided invaluable strategy and insight into our mission-critical systems,” said Robert McGill, CEO at jaccomo. “Their team helped us implement AWS best practices, allowing us to shore up our disaster recovery strategy.”

SnapRetail Achieves Cost-Efficiency and Better Support with AWS

Case Study

Executive Summary

SnapRetail, a provider of online marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), was burdened by aging on-premise infrastructure. Several years of accumulated technical debt created an inconsistent user experience for customers as well as operational burdens and potential security risks for the company. SnapRetail engaged Ness to address these concerns. Ness developed a new infrastructure design and migration plan to AWS that significantly reduced SnapRetail’s costs while providing it with a modern, maintainable infrastructure.

About SnapRetail

SnapRetail is an online technology company that offers a SaaS web platform to help small and midsized businesses improve their digital marketing impact. The applications are offered within two branded experiences (snapretail.com and snap-rx.com), providing a full suite of digital marketing tools to retail businesses and independent pharmacies.

Using the SnapRetail Marketing Planning Calendar, users can create and schedule unified digital marketing campaigns using:

  • Email messaging
  • Social media posts
  • Snap-hosted websites

The Challenge

  • SnapRetail’s on-premise infrastructure accumulated technical debt for several years, leading to performance issues and potential security gaps.
  • The company amassed large amounts of data over its 10-year history, which required it to continuously add storage, creating an operational and budgetary burden.
  • The infrastructure design included some tactical implementation choices to meet the needs of a very different customer base from what exists today. Therefore, a migration needed to include re-engineering to simplify the design, utilize new technologies, and remove unnecessary components.

Why AWS

As SnapRetail entered its second decade of business, the company needed to eliminate the risks associated with its legacy and expensive infrastructure. SnapRetail selected AWS because of its cost-effective solutions that scale for seasonal spikes in application usage. As a marketing solution for SMB, the demand for SnapRetail’s product increases strongly during the holiday season. With the AWS Cloud, SnapRetail is confident that it will only pay for what it needs and that it will never find itself in an unsupported state in the future.

Why SnapRetail Chose Nes

Sean McDonald, CEO of SnapRetail, realized that an aging colo-based infrastructure created risks to SnapRetail’s business. He approached Ness to provide alternatives. He said: “Our infrastructure was weighing us down. We needed the DevOps expertise of an AWS Partner like Ness to implement a cloud-based infrastructure.” After performing a business case analysis comparing the cost of SnapRetail’s infrastructure versus the same capabilities in AWS, Ness made a compelling case to migrate to AWS. The AWS Advanced Consulting Partner brought the expertise of an AWS DevOps Competency and was well suited to the task.

The Solution

Ness worked with SnapRetail to understand the company’s specific business requirements, the needs of its customers, and the intricacies of the retail business, which comes with seasonal marketing demands.

As a result, Ness designed and built a secure AWS environment that includes:

  • Scaling infrastructure to satisfy peak, seasonal-usage traffic
  • A robust security model that follows AWS best practices On-demand lower environments for future development and testing
  • A new build-and-deploy process using AWS CodeBuild
  • A more cost-effective way of storing seldom-used assets leveraging S3 and Glacier.
  • Additionally, Ness built a more efficient way for SnapRetail to manage hundreds of security certificates for its customers relying on a Snap-hosted website.

To ensure that all work is repeatable, Ness used Infrastructure as Code methodology so that all infrastructure is defined using CloudFormation templates and parameterized to facilitate easily reproducible and consistent instantiation of future artifacts.

Results and Benefits

By partnering with Ness, SnapRetail was able to break free from an outdated infrastructure that was slowing down operations and eating into the company budget. Now it remains focused on providing more value and a feature-rich experience to its customers. As McDonald shares, “We engaged Ness to help us address problems with our aging infrastructure. Using AWS, they have helped us to see our infrastructure in an entirely new way. We are saving costs, we are spared security concerns, and we are able to better serve our customers.” In addition, Ness helped SnapRetail establish DevOps best practices to ensure the optimal utilization of its cloud environment as it moves forward. The organization now has a robust and efficient build-and-deploy process in a multi-environment capacity, allowing it to quickly launch new features in the ever-changing world of digital marketing.

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