Modernizing a Comprehensive Supply Chain Management Application Suite towards Cloud Nativity

Case Study - Transportation and Logistics

Executive Summary

A Danish software vendor specialized in software for the transportation and logistics industry required their comprehensive supply chain application suite to be modernized, as it was built on legacy technology and presented an outdated look and feel. With a core supporting system coming to end-of-life support, this customer wanted to explore alternatives and to build a revamped and modernized application.

QloudX, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, was approached with this challenge due to our extensive experience in the transportation and logistics industry and expertise in migrating and modernizing legacy solutions.

On the back of a comprehensive Discovery Phase, QloudX outlined a 2.5 year Implementation Phase, which included redevelopment of core services, a UI-UX overhaul, the introduction of new product enhancements, and a reimagined business strategy. Additionally, a Cloud Migration Assessment was delivered to help the customer evaluate the benefits of migrating from on-premises to the cloud.

The Challenge

Initially, this customer wanted to see how it could convert end-of-life Microsoft SilverLight UI screens using a suitable cost-effective and efficient alternative, as a part of its drive to modernize their web application. The customer set out to modernize its web application and user interface due to the use of end-of-life systems, security vulnerabilities, and potential legal and regulatory risks. At the same time, an approach for the new User Interface was to be aligned with modern technologies that would perform well, were easy to develop in, and would last a considerable time.

As such, the challenge consisted of redesigning the application architecture and the entire underlying technical platform, upgrading development tools, modernizing their backend to use the latest technology, and converting 450+ screens to deliver a modern Digital User Experience. Additionally, the customer also requested a Cloud Migration Assessment to see how the Cloud could assist them in accessing the latest technologies and achieve superior cost-efficiency, scalability, and easier maintainability.

QloudX Solution

Initial efforts consisted of a Discovery Phase to assess the AS-IS state of the system and to evaluate various Silverlight migration approaches. Based on the discovery, QloudX recommended a Blazor migration with Telerik Blazor-UI Controls, which would also allow for a seamless transition to .NET Core, easier transition and adaptability to .NET 6, and Cloud Native compatibility. The Discovery Phase also included designs, wireframes, and conversion of six pilot screens of differing complexity, which set the stage for the approach and estimates of the Implementation Phase.

QloudX outlined an Implementation Phase of 2.5 years, which included a roadmap with several deliverables, including: development prework in the shape of a Cloud and DevOps foundation with comprehensive CI/CD pipelines; a tech stack upgrade including a code upgrade of all core services; a comprehensive API layer to ensure a loosely coupled application allowing for multi-tenancy and more efficient scaling of both backend and frontend; and an Automation Framework (AF) for template-based code generation and CI/CD automation. Additionally, a key deliverable was a complete UI-UX overhaul using design automation tools and a new Brand Guide produced by QloudX, which will be used for the entire journey, as well as future projects. Lastly, all screens are being converted using the AF, APIs and upgraded UI-UX to achieve a modern Digital User Experience across all screens.

All 450+ screens were initially grouped based on complexity from existing modules (Ocean Freight, Air Freight, Finance, Maintenance Screens, Third party Integrations, Complex Workflows, Technical Processes and functions, etc.). Based on this grouping of screens, QloudX defined several stages of execution within the Implementation Phase where the first stage focused on concurrent development on each of the above deliverables alongside manual conversion of the Air Freight module. Manual conversion of all screens was estimated to require upwards of 30.000 hours and with the development and implementation of the AF, APIs, and design system, QloudX is able to reduce required efforts for the remaining screens by 20%.

During the ongoing Implementation Phase, the customer has also requested a variety of product enhancements beyond the original scope of the project. QloudX assisted the customer in moving from idea to production with these requests, and the project now includes various ongoing improvements to application functionality, alongside the underlying modernization efforts described above.

As a seed for the future, QloudX proposed a subsequent project phase with a focus on migrating the entirety of the application suite to the cloud and rearchitecting the application to a microservice-based architecture with centralized administration, automated operations and monitoring, one-click customer onboarding, and full adoption of cloud native services in an effort to push the application and organization towards delivering their services through a SaaS model.

A Solution that creates Value & Benefits

Fulfilling all the customer’s requirements and orchestrating a digital user experience, QloudX’s solution is going beyond the expected outcomes and offering a range of pivotal benefits and value to the customer:

  • Efficient Collaboration & Release Cycles: The AF, design automation, DevOps pipeline and collaborative tools facilitate efficient teamwork and accelerated development cycles.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: A modernized User Experience boasting revitalized designs and optimized workflows, coupled with consistently rapid service response times.
  • Cost Efficiency: QloudX has made every effort to keep both the total cost of ownership of the application suite and the development costs at a minimum through automation and reduced licensing fees.
  • Efficiency Through Automation: Through the development of the Automation Framework and complementary components, implementation efforts for the bulk of the project have been reduced by 20%, keeping cost and timelines to a minimum.
  • Robust Security: QloudX is prioritizing security by implementing advanced AWS services for data protection, encryption, access management, and threat detection. This ensures the integrity and confidentiality of customer data, bolstering trust and compliance.
  • Emphasis on Core Business Functions: Leveraging modern development processes and tools allow for a focus on product improvements, customer service, and market expansion.
  • A Revitalized Identity & Future Journey: The new Brand Guide has given the customer a revitalized identity that can be leveraged for years to come. Similarly, the modernized technical components (Tech Stack, DevOps, APIs, etc.) are truly a long-term investment to achieve additional future goals.

The company is now realizing a modernized application with a fresh look and feel, new features, and utilizing technology with longevity in mind. Additionally, the customer is now in a position to consider future modernization initiatives, such as moving from a monolithic application to a modernized application based on microservices and considering new revenue models by delivering their services through a SaaS model.

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