An Advanced Data Provisioning Platform for Bindexis
The state-of-the-art data platform serves half a million daily transactions, providing comprehensive information for all construction projects in Switzerland.
Information is undoubtedly the most valuable asset in today’s fast-paced environment. Acquiring, managing, and providing information to various stakeholders is a profitable enterprise. The Basel-based company Bindexis, currently part of Infopro Digital Group, is а living proof. The company has been around since 2007, serving information about Swiss construction projects.
As part of the Infopro Digital Group, Bindexis is an information platform for everyone in Switzerland directly or indirectly involved in construction. The online platform provides essential sales and marketing knowledge on construction projects from all over the country. The platform serves the likes of construction dealers, suppliers, interior designers, architects, planners, builders, decorators, brokers, and buyers, offering them complete and detailed info about who, what, when, and where builds.
Throughout the years, Bindexis has developed a well-functioning platform allowing for profile registration, project searches, and filtering on various criteria, maps, calendars, project statistics, etc. By 2021 the existing legacy web application had reached the point when it needed a revamp to keep up with the current market requirements and offer better service to its clients. The Swiss company entrusted Bianor to fulfill this comprehensive project.
Bianor’s main tasks were:
- To create a new, modern look and feel with responsive design;
- To substitute outdated technologies, eliminate vulnerabilities, increase reliability, and reduce the cost of maintenance;
- Develop a robust, scalable, and ready-to-support business growth platform.
The Project Workflow
At first, Bianor’s team devoted time to understanding the current application. It was crucial to know in detail how it works:
- What is the setup;
- What are the existing data sets;
- What are the major functionalities;
- What are the third-party system’s dependencies;
- And what are the ongoing problems that need addressing?
Then the team worked with various stakeholders to understand the requirements for the new application and how the customer pictures the new generation app. Based on the gathered information and having in mind the modern technologies and infrastructure, Bianor’s team documented and built a proposal for the new application architecture. A dedicated Product Owner from our partner company Sternwald helped translate all existing requirements into user stories. Then we described them formally in our agile project management software – Jira.
While the development team created the user stories to streamline the process, a partnering UX team held several sessions with the customer’s Product Manager. Based on these discussions, the designers built screen prototypes using Adobe XD. We mapped the new screens to the already created user stories that complemented the requirements and made a 360° overview of the project.
The Agile Approach
Since we already have used Jira to store the user stories, we decided that following an agile approach would be the most practical path. To understand what the MVP (minimum viable product) should look like, we agreed with the stakeholders on the high-level priorities of the features. We prioritized the tasks and split them into iterations. Before opening a new iteration, the team revised the task priorities and discussed the requirements in detail. As a result, we prepared a more comprehensive development plan. We concluded each iteration with a demonstration session for the stakeholders, gathering their feedback.
The whole development team was responsible for refining the user stories, breaking them into actionable tasks, and estimating the workload. The development team consisted of a Technical Lead, Project Manager, Back-end, Front-end, Full-stack developers, and Automation QA engineers of different seniorities. The technical lead was responsible for discussing requirements with stakeholders, suggesting development approaches for the tasks, and presenting and discussing them with the team. Developers implemented and documented the agreed solutions, and the QA engineer ensured the creation of a test plan with particular test cases validating and verifying the implementation.
The project had a fixed deadline that required meticulous planning, especially when the team was spread among various locations and even in different time zones. In that respect, synchronization among the team members was a crucial factor. The Project Manager and the Technical Lead adjusted their working time to cooperate with all team members and serve as a bridge.
Another challenge we faced was migrating more than 10-year history of data, around 4,000 users, 60,000 new projects per year, and half a million daily transactions. We had to transfer the existing database of the still-running legacy application to the new one without interrupting the everyday operations or stopping the service. Furthermore, the legacy application data kept changing daily, which hindered keeping the information in both databases consistent. For this reason, we had to develop an additional tool that scanned the legacy database daily, detecting discrepancies and updating the new application database.
The Tech Solutions
The Security & Third-Party Systems
Our development team was responsible for selecting and configuring the appropriate security services and infrastructure. The infrastructure comprises the hardware, software, networking, and facilities that run AWS Cloud services. We leveraged the Security and Compliance feature offered by Amazon AWS – Security of the Cloud. With this feature, Amazon is responsible for protecting the infrastructure that runs all services provided in the AWS Cloud.
In addition to the service configuration, the team was responsible for the following:
- Management of the guest operating systems (including updates and security patches);
- Installation of any application software or utilities, the configuration of the AWS-provided firewalls;
- Management of the data (including encryption options), classifying assets and using IAM tools to apply appropriate permissions for accessing resources.
The development team was responsible for the following:
- Encryption of AWS S3 buckets;
- Encryption for RDS data in transit and at rest;
- Secured third-party systems integration through the implementation of REST and SOAP APIs.
Some of the essential third-party systems integrated with the platform are:
- SuperOffice – a modern CRM solution that helps build strong, long-lasting relationships and turn them into revenue;
- Olmero – construction platform for tendering and binding contracts;
- Money house – a platform for commercial registration data and business information.
Although slightly off the company’s focus on building video streaming solutions, the Bindexis project employed a large amount of Bianor’s know-how and expertise. The time-related challenges and the team’s remote locations required a high level of project management proficiency. Thanks to our vast experience running large-scale projects and having a team of goal-oriented engineers, we successfully met all deadlines. In addition, utilizing cloud-based services, real-time data transfer, and integrating third-party systems are competencies our team constantly evolves when developing comprehensive video streaming platforms or working on mission-critical defense projects. The Bindexis project was a demanding job that provoked our team to perform at its best and surpass the client’s expectations.
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