As you know last month we entered the BCS UK IT Awards under ‘Digital Project of the year’ for our successful removal of eRights for our digital subscribers and smooth implementation of microservices as an effective replacement.
The entire process took seven months. Seven months to uplift a decade old service, scrape off all the leftovers, clean the systems and put a brand new system in place, as well as ensuring the new system catered to our modern customer’s needs. Seven months sounds like a long time, but really this is only 24 weeks (approx.), 168 days, perhaps around 600-800 hours. This was certainly no mean feat..
‘Creating lots of things’
The first objective was to produce a ‘simple’ new business fulfilment contract that we could build on and expand our capabilities away from eRights. The beginning stage or ‘slice’ within this process involved creating things, lots of things. A fulfillment service, A Salesforce licence admin, access licence service, a Salesforce events bridge, a user product service, a token service and a B2B sign up service. we built 6 new APIs in total, which would go on to be the core of our platform offering, each able to provide the rest of the FT with rich licence, user and product information. The team also spent many, MANY hours with customer services, learning what their needs were to define how the B2B Salesforce Customer Service experience to look, feel and operate. You can’t know what you need to do if you don’t first know what is needed!
In order to enable such a fast turnaround, you need a cohesive plan. Below is a simplified (yes, really) breakdown of the roadmapped features we delivered, which would then allow us to onboard new customers as well as migrate our existing customers. Armed with their roadmap as a guide for reference, teams worked through the first slice titled ‘Simple New Business Contract Fulfilment’, which involved migrating customers to the new platform whilst keeping stakeholders informed.
For adaptability and time’s sake, overall team numbers grew by 50% to include more Salesforce staff and front and backend developers, who all required initial training and management to ensure roles and tasks remained structured. Despite sounding like a hindrance this was a positive change as it indicated room for future growth and a larger roster that would be needed once the new system was in place.
‘Operation clean up’
The next stages of the process were straightforward in theory, but longer and more testing in practice. Next the team had to consider how best to support the end users, this included administrative tasks such as adding and removing multiple users from the licence – a clean up op to ensure subscribers and registered users were receiving the correct digital entitlements. Other steps taken involved drawing up a new Salesforce data model, page key redirect functions and an assessment of email domain access and restrictions, an essential part of updating the security around FT customer details.
What followed was a series of set patterns with tried and tested methods, which formed part of a planned journey through contract renewals, licence refreshment, user access admin, and a handful of cancellations of expired contracts and spent licences. New contracts enabled trials, comp access and syndication, which made way for auto-fulfill in 2016. The most striking feature our plans evoked while in motion was sheer efficiency. Strong organisation and a competent team, the best foundations for any project, resulted in us keeping on track and within timed deadlines.
Essentially this is all well and good – but in reality, what did it all mean? What were the lasting benefits? Why did we eat all that cake? Until next time!