InfoBeans case study for a web application product


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InfoBeans case study on how InfoBeans helped a US based IT product company create a complete technology solution and sell it as a product in the North American after market automotive spare parts market. Use of technology like ASP.NET and AJAX is highlighted. A distributed team providing almost 24/7 support on implementation for 80+ installations.

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InfoBeans case study for a web application product

  1. 1. An automotive parts catalog Case Study Outsourced product development and IT consultancy by an offshore technical team with cutting edge technologies and seemingly hard to overcome challenges
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Highlights </li></ul><ul><li>Business need </li></ul><ul><li>Business criticality </li></ul><ul><li>Business solution </li></ul><ul><li>Technology need </li></ul><ul><li>Technology challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Technology solution </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed team model </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>InfoBeans as consultant and comprehensive IT vendor </li></ul>
  3. 3. Highlights <ul><li>The product is an e-Commerce extension to a legacy business system in aftermarket automotive parts business in North America </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent feature additions and version releases </li></ul><ul><li>Centralized maintenance & administration of all installations using product control panel </li></ul><ul><li>Umbrella of technologies like .NET, J2EE, AJAX & MS SQL Server </li></ul><ul><li>Active consulting with client on features, technology, service provider integration & win-win business collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Hybrid billing with distributed team model </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibility resting on InfoBeans for high quality and on time releases of incremental versions </li></ul>
  4. 4. Business need <ul><li>Our client wanted to build and market a web product that would act as an ecommerce extension to legacy business systems in aftermarket automotive parts business space in North America </li></ul><ul><li>Client wanted a technology consultant who would take over technical and project management responsibilities entirely </li></ul><ul><li>Installation, technical support, release deployments & server maintenance were required </li></ul><ul><li>Regular inputs from the technical team needed on release planning and feature additions </li></ul><ul><li>The client wanted a flexible billing methodology enabling fixed team and additional team/resources on demand </li></ul>
  5. 5. Business criticality <ul><li>Should work on end client’s choice of service providers </li></ul><ul><li>Integration possibilities should be open for future service providers. Service providers include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business system provider </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Catalog solutions provider </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Logistics services provider </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Payment solutions provider </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fast turn around on new implementations </li></ul><ul><li>Low maintenance and installation cost </li></ul><ul><li>On time release of major and minor releases </li></ul><ul><li>Solution need to be up 24X7 </li></ul>
  6. 6. Business solution <ul><li>InfoBeans provided distributed team model involving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Development team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Production & post production technical support team </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tools like Projectpath, Helpserve, Quickbase & Google docs are adopted to improve collaboration across the geographically dispersed teams </li></ul><ul><li>Phased release approach is recommended and adopted </li></ul><ul><li>Processes for functions like development, installation, support, deployment , release planning were designed and adopted </li></ul><ul><li>Biweekly status calls and weekly status reporting adopted </li></ul><ul><li>InfoBeans offered hybrid billing methodology for fixed and variable team sizes and structures </li></ul>
  7. 7. Technology need <ul><li>Browser based. Accessible from any machine </li></ul><ul><li>Easy customization for individual clients was desired </li></ul><ul><li>Template based UI was needed for faster reproduction with different themes </li></ul><ul><li>Real-time interaction with catalog and inventory systems without dragging the performance </li></ul><ul><li>RBAC model for security management </li></ul><ul><li>Multi lingual support on command and menu names needed </li></ul>
  8. 8. Technology challenges <ul><li>The application needs to be integrated with various services provider seamlessly </li></ul><ul><li>The number of servers involved in one particular use case is more due to dependency of various services providers for a single transaction. The code needs to be robust enough to handle this </li></ul><ul><li>The error tracking mechanism needs to be efficient as there are more parties involved. Error isolation is important to improve troubleshooting efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>APIs for popular/leading inventory and catalog service providers were available only Java </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent deployment (of releases) needed centralized code management for version integrity </li></ul>
  9. 9. Technology solution <ul><li>.NET platform is used as technology choice to help rapid application development </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-tenant architecture was adopted to centrally control all the installations </li></ul><ul><li>Plug-in architecture was designed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This helps various plug-ins (of various service provider of same service) connect with Webware interchangeably. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interfaces were published for plug-ins </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Middleware code is kept unaware of underlying implementation of interfaces for a service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This kept Webware code independent of service provider </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>InfoBeans wrote the code for plug-ins for popular service providers </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Technology solution contd… <ul><li>JSP bridge was designed to communicate between .NET and Java APIs via XML based http communication </li></ul><ul><li>UI customization layer was designed using CSS and XML to facilitate customization after compilation/build </li></ul><ul><li>AJAX is widely used for better user experience </li></ul><ul><li>XML based functionality customization layer is designed </li></ul><ul><li>Visual Sourcesafe is used to effectively manage the code using branching for version and release management </li></ul><ul><li>Product Control Panel is hosted to centrally administer all the installations and the licensed modules for each instances </li></ul>
  11. 11. Distributed team model Role Responsibilities Experience and skills Location Client Representative Vision of the product Business knowledge US West coast Account Managers Interacting with end clients and offshore technology teams Account management US East coast Architect & Project Manager Architecture design, leading the offshore teams, providing priorities and communicating with the client 8+ years in designing high end web applications and project management in J2EE and .NET India Development Lead Leading the development efforts 4 years - .NET, SQL Server, AJAX & JSP India Developers Developing for version releases 2-3 years - .NET, SQL Server, AJAX India Production & Post Production Support Lead Leading the production & post production support efforts 4 years - .NET, SQL Server, Windows & IIS India Production Engineers Release deployment, instance installation, configuration, customization, licensing of Webware for end clients. Server and application maintenance 2-3 years - .NET, SQL Server, Windows & IIS India Support Engineer Responding & resolving end client’s technical tickets 2 years - .NET, SQL Server & AJAX India QA Team Black box, white box , system and functional testing 2-3 years with various QA testing tools (primarily in .NET tools) India
  12. 12. Results <ul><li>InfoBeans’ user interface consultant helped creating multiple themes for UI and library of themes was created </li></ul><ul><li>Adopted communication and status update plans helped smoother project progress tracking </li></ul><ul><li>Processes at various functions helped smoother functioning </li></ul><ul><li>80+ live end clients use the product across north America(US, Canada & Mexico) </li></ul><ul><li>One major release and more than 25 minor releases were done on live production clients with absolutely no downtime on business </li></ul><ul><li>Popular gateways like Amador, DST adopted our interfaces and joined the array of compatible service providers of Webware </li></ul>
  13. 13. InfoBeans as a consultant <ul><li>InfoBeans provides consulting with client on choosing and evaluating service providers for various services that Webware may extend to </li></ul><ul><li>InfoBeans provides technical consultancy to various plug-in authors (on implementing Webware ‘s published interfaces) </li></ul><ul><li>InfoBeans manages the server architecture of Web Link via direct interaction with Hardware providers </li></ul><ul><li>InfoBeans represents Web Link’s technical face during initiatives on win-win business collaboration with competitors </li></ul><ul><li>InfoBeans provides consultancy to Web Link on feasibility evaluation of various other channels of business in automotive domain </li></ul>
  14. 14. Contact us for more information <ul><li>Siddharth Sethi </li></ul><ul><li>InfoBeans Inc </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Bishop Ranch Corporate Park </li></ul><ul><li>2410 Camino Ramon, Suite 288 </li></ul><ul><li>San Ramon, CA 94582 </li></ul><ul><li>USA </li></ul><ul><li>+1 888 4 INFOBEANS </li></ul>