Each year, our sister publication Computer Dealer News hosts the Channel Elite Awards to recognize IT Solution Provider for their innovation, leadership, and commitment for creating value for their customers. As Canada’s leading IT channel publication, CDN invited solution providers to submit their best work to nine different categories for 2013’s awards. Here, we present the case studies these award nominees put forward to us. Find out who the big winners are on Sept. 11 when CDN presents them at the CEA Awards Gala.

Learn more about CDN’s Channel Elite Awards 2013

Nominee: EPAM Systems Inc. headquartered Newtown, Pennsylvania, with offices in Toronto

Describe the solution or service provided
easyfinancial.com is hosted on Heroku, a platform as a service. Heroku allows the website to be hosted without any need for local or in-house infrastructure, and allows the development team to solely focus on development tasks. Heroku supports continuous integration and automated deployments, so we are able to deploy changes multiple times a day in a matter of minutes when needed. Heroku also allows add-ins and integration to third-parties which allows simple configuration to add on monitoring, backups, logging, email integration, SSL setup. We have also build a proxy service that allows for third party integration where white listing of IP’s are needed, and to allow a VPN connection to a back-end system.

What makes this solution original and innovative?
Our development platform is within EPAM’s private cloud, but UAT and Production environments are on Heroku’s public cloud. We were able to create and configure new environment for penetration testing that was equivalent to production within 30 minutes and discard that environment post-testing in about one minute. In choosing Heroku, we reviewed many other options, but Heroku with its ease of use for the developer’s and full suite of add-on’s made perfect sense for us. 

What were the benefits to the customer’s sales, revenues, and/or efficiency? Provide measurable evidence.
The use of a cloud platform allowed the Customer to work with a smaller team with no server and network admins, which considerably reduced all infrastructure costs.  The use of Kanban and Lean development allowed the team to deliver a website of higher capacity compared to the Customer’s previous one in 12 weeks. This period included all the project stages from choosing the cloud platform to launching the website.  Automated testing introduced by the team was conducted in a few minutes, compared to more than 60 hours of manual testing. Using Continuous Integration, the team delivered new functionality to the website on a weekly basis. The time to process a loan application has dropped from 7 days to under a day for the average customer, and under an hour for those with a good credit history. Automated loan application and issuance procedures present website users with an excellent customer experience.

How did your organization achieve customer satisfaction and how was this demonstrated by the customer?
Quote from our customer: “Our team is great. The development quality is top notch. The team is a pleasure to work with. They balance delivering the requirement with their own ideas and contributions perfectly. They work hard. They get stuff done. They do it the right way. I’m very happy. And this extends throughout the entire team. We’ve done some great stuff very quickly, but the way this team works has enabled us to do that quick stuff the right way. And that, to overuse the word, is just plain special.”

Describe the benefits of this solution to your organization in terms of new skills, certifications, products, and services.
easy financial Canada has become more agile around all projects. Agile has extended through the executive team and throughout IT and into Operations. Currently there are four large projects delivering business value into production every week. With the use of cloud, continuous integration, open source software, automated testing, high quality software is delivered constantly, with the most efficient cost possible. This is allowing easy financial to add a number of new products to their portfolio as the business sees the need for them (indirect loans, home and auto insurance, credit monitoring) on the business timetable, rather than IT’s time table.

How did the solution improve your customer’s ability to serve its internal and external clients?
The new easyfinancial.com has drastically shortened turnaround times for approving and funding website generated loans, lightened the load for retail stores and the National Loans Office by allowing automated underwriting and validation to be completed automatically online. The loan book is increasing in value, and customer satisfaction is higher. Detailed metrics and KPI’s as well as very deep customer data is also now available for inspection and reporting.

How does the solution or service go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?
This solution uses many cutting edge ideas and philosophies that allow software that is valuable and useful for the client to be delivered in a very cost efficient manner, with high quality. From open source software, use of Cloud hosting, Kanban and Scrum through to continuous integration and automated testing, easy financial Canada is using techniques that most would feel are only found in the startup world, not with the traditional enterprise.

How does the solution further your customer’s green or environmentally friendly plans?
Reducing the amount of manual applications and allowing a fully automated approach to underwriting and validation greatly reduces the amount of paper being used at easy financial Canada. Even the loan agreements, bank statements, proof of ID’s and all other previous paper based items are now processes in electronic format.

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