Backstory

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AD Financial serves its customers with a full range of financial products and services through award-winning digital banking capabilities and a retail banking network across the globe with a focus on helping individuals navigate each stage of their financial lives, working with large and small businesses to drive their success by providing award-winning service.

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AD Financial has experienced a surge in demand for home mortgage refinancing and small business loans over the past six months. As a result, their web site and the backend services that support it have suffered from slower loan processing times while customer service has seen a rise in complaints from end users. AD Financial fully intends to maintain its brand and position in the competitive financial market. The budget has been approved to proceed with the modernization project that will help the company retain its competitive edge and customer loyaly. An initial assessment of the current web site and the loan processing services behind it revealed several areas that warrant further analysis.

      Recent changes to the UI framework on the web site need review
      Both personal and business loan services may be too tightly coupled
      Collocation of loan data and audit data may be constraining the database
      Current container services lack orchestration and scalability features

Avi is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for AD Financial and has tasked his team leads to assess the following challenges associated with the modernization effort:

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1: Understand the Current Application

It has been over a year since the Dev team refactored the online application, containerized the services and moved them out of the data center into the cloud. There is no current architecture diagram for the application and many changes have been made since its original deployment. An accurate assessment of the items below are required so the team can create a viable modernization plan:

      Differentiate issues in the web UI versus the backend services
      Inventory of all application components, the hosts they run on, and their resource utilization
      Inventory of all dependencies across service APIs
      Inventory of all dependencies to backends and third-party systems
      Inventory of all the teams associated with the different application components

2: Understand Key Business Transactions

Once we have an inventory of the application components, services, and dependencies, we need to understand what the key business transactions are in the application and the components they map to so we can prioritize them for refactoring during our modernization effort. For example, what are the transactions that access sensitive data and require auditing? What are the key business transactions associated with services we want to refactor? To answer those questions, we need to understand the following:

      What are the transactions associated with loan processing that would be effected when decoupling services?
      The path those transactions take through the system with all components involved to map them out from start to finish.
      What specific components are causing performance degradation of key business transactions:
              Web page issues?
              Database constraints?
              Infrastructure constraints?

3: Select the Appropriate Modernization Strategy

The landscape of new cloud services and technologies available today have made dramatic improvements in efficiency in recent years. However, the services and technologies selected and adopted need to satisfy the business and engineering requirements while also promoting adoption across the different teams involved in the modernization effort.

To that end, the business:

      Anticipates the need to scale and operate more efficiently due to growing demand and higher transaction rates
      Looks to separate the storage and access of audit data to increase throughput and scale them independently
      Must reduce or eliminate downtime and service outages due to competing demands of reporting and loan submissions

4: Validate Performance and End User Experience

Validating the success of our modernization effort will be next to impossible without having an accurate understanding of what the application and business performance metrics are, as well as end user experience metrics, both pre-modernization and post-modernization. Our CTO Avi, has recommended that we capture baseline data on the following indicators for the application, both pre and post modernization to validate our success:

      Overall end user experience online
      Business transaction performance
      Component and service level performance
      Business performance of the loan approval process

5: Streamline Operations & Minimize Risk

The challenges associated with large modernized enterprise applications in a virtual and dynamic cloud landscape can be complex. This is especially true for the operations team that manage those production applications. Now they must support applications that utilize new cloud services and technologies they may not be familiar with. The operations team recognizes that they need to realign their strategy and operational toolset to perform efficiently and effectively while staying within their budget.

Specifically, how can the operations team:

      Be proactively alerted to pinpoint root cause before it affects the end user or impacts the business?
      Get deep visibility into the new cloud native services being utilized by the application?
      Keep performing optimally while supporting new technologies without growing the size of the team?

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