Eliassen Group partnered with an Automotive Finance Leader to develop a modernized, unified dealer-facing system, enabling them to improve the dealer experience while gaining numerous strategic benefits for the company.
To support its market strategy and growth, a leading automotive financial services company needed to modernize its dealer-facing Web presence. Used by dealers across four geographic markets, the company’s existing solution had been developed organically over the previous 20 years and was implemented on a wide range of Microsoft front-end technologies—including ASP, ASP.NET, MVC, and Silverlight.
While very capable, the current solution was limiting in many ways and lacked many of the modern features that would help to create the efficiencies and advantages the company was envisioning. By modernizing their dealer-facing system and rolling out a new regionally-aligned interface for all of their markets in the Americas region, the automotive financial services leader recognized the opportunity to:
- Improve the dealer experience
- Realize economies of scale and skill
- Achieve process and service-level excellence
- Extend best practices across regions
- Improve processes and eliminate manual ones
- Enhance reporting and insights
Subsequently, the team launched an initiative focused on achieving these strategic outcomes. They wanted to develop a solution that would allow them to retire their various legacy platforms and migrate all users to the modernized system. Key requirements for this project included:
- Implementing a new, modernized regional User Interface (UI) that could be extended to four countries in the Americas in a multi-tenant solution
- Building out existing systems to accommodate multiple languages, currencies, time zones, and market-based legal requirements regions
- Supporting mobile devices with a responsive UI, and support eSigning on a wide range of user devices
- Enabling business to modify static content and documents without IT involvement
- Standardizing dealer-facing reporting across geographies
Engaging a Trusted Partner
With so much complexity and many users involved, this was not a simple project they could take on with their internal resources alone. Recognizing that they needed a partner with deep business and technical expertise, the company turned to Eliassen Group and its Cloud Transformation practice to help them design and lead the development of the solution. The Eliassen Group had been providing architecture services to the company and had been a trusted partner for over a decade.
For this strategic project, Eliassen Group provided a highly-skilled team that included Angular architects, solutions architects, application developers, UI designers, middleware developers, and testing resources. This team worked closely with the company’s product owners and business users to ensure a quality solution from the beginning.
They worked side-by-side with business stakeholders to not only modernize the technical aspects of the solution, but also improve the efficiency and usability of the application. Together they aligned and optimized business processes, ensuring that each country could utilize the core platform while also being able to implement regional customizations.
The Eliassen Group team designed a modern application stack that utilized Google’s Angular Single Page Application Framework, RxJS reactive extensions, Redux state container, .NET core services framework, and SQL Server database. They collaborated with the internal architecture teams to build a modern application development framework that could be reused by other internal teams.
The Eliassen Group also assisted the company and its design firm in the process of optimizing the dealer UI, incorporating User Experience (UX) work, style and branding guidelines into the solution.
Throughout the process, Eliassen Group documented and trained the company’s team members on usage patterns and best practices. They also led training sessions for the client’s internal development resources and mentored them as they worked in conjunction with the Eliassen Group team.
Few, if any, long-term projects can be completed without challenges along the way, and this one was no exception. When a number of major challenges arose—including changing IT leadership, encountering more technical debt than was originally expected, and changing business requirements—Eliassen Group approached these challenges as a true partner would, responding to each issue with innovative solutions and guidance.
- When one of the company’s partner’s offshore teams was struggling to meet the quality standards, Eliassen Group resources implemented a more rigorous code review and training policy for the team.
- When large amounts of technical debt were found in the existing services, Eliassen Group resources rewrote the legacy services into a modern series of RESTful implementations.
- When performance issues arose, Eliassen Group engineers triaged and improved the speed and stability of the solution.
Furthermore, as culture is such a critical component of effective change, the Eliassen Group team helped shift the culture to embrace the agile tenets of iterative design and improvement. The client learned to embrace the iterative approach and move away from waterfall-style application development.
Over nearly three years, Eliassen Group led a team of over 50 people on the project, providing all of the architecture, design, and development services needed to create the optimal solution. The final solution:
- Rolled out to over 500 dealers across 4 countries, with over 12,000 total users
- Involved rewriting 150+ screens into a single, multi-tenant solution
- Consisted of 48, 3-week sprints and included almost 3000 story points of functionality
- Included over 70 web services
- Involved writing over 200,000 lines of Typescript code and almost 100,000 lines of C# code
This was the first agile development project the automotive finance leader had ever embarked upon, and this became the largest project they had ever successfully completed. The company is continuing to reap the benefits of the new solution, as is its dealer network. The true teamwork and collaboration between Eliassen Group and the company were keys to success—and laid the foundation for the success of future initiatives as well.