Expense Management System Redevelopment

Itransition redeveloped the J2EE-based expense management system for Carlabella and provided them with long-term technical support.

Problem

Сustomer

Carlabella, a French software house formerly known as Dièse Finance, found out their expense management product lacked functionality and experienced serious performance and scalability issues. It didn’t take long for Carlabella to realize the application was in dire need of redevelopment and functionality uplift to be able to safeguard its positions on the market.

Aiming to retain the valuable features incorporated in the legacy application while addressing technical problems and inefficiencies, the company turned to Itransition. Carlabella requested to turn their LAN-based desktop product into an application available via web, thus, switching the software distribution model to SaaS (software as a service). Besides, system functionality enhancement was required.

Solution

Functionality Overview

For end users—financial officers and HR managers who input, control, and manage expense and workforce data—the system offers the following functionality:

  • Input. There are several ways to input data: manually, automatically or by data import. To facilitate management of employee-initiated expenses, information is grouped by period. Analytical information is also managed in this section.
  • Control. Submitted expenses are transmitted to be either approved or refused by the company’s managers. Refused data may nevertheless be handled by the accountancy module.
  • Accountancy. All the expenses under control are transmitted to the accountancy module, where account books are created. The system simulates accounting of both approved and refused expenses.
  • Payment. Upon creation of payment books, the paymaster controls and validates payment of expenses. The module also processes the data contained in the corporate credit card files and integrates with external bank systems.
  • Setup. The module contains company and employee information, configuration settings, etc.
  • Reporting. The system allows analysts to generate both standard and ad hoc (with customized queries) reports that can be subsequently exported to Excel.
  • Options. The options module allows managing users and their rights. A number of design options are also available (e.g., logo, preferred colors).
  • Import/Export. Import of input data and export of generated reports and accountancy results.

One of the advantages CarlaMaestro™ provides to end users is the flexibility either to use the system as an integrated platform or to choose and pick separate solutions depending on the type of the input data:

  • Expense management
  • Advance management
  • Invoice management
  • Order management
  • Absence management
  • Activities management

Process

Technical Overview

The application’s business logic is fairly complex. CarlaMaestro™ is built on J2EE (currently Java EE). Service-oriented system architecture (SOA) provides for system reusability and ease of access to the services.

The application represents a three-tier architecture model, with user interface, business logic, data access layers completely separate. The user interface was implemented using JavaServer Pages (JSP) technology, enabling developers to insert Java code in HTML pages and collect input from users. EJB was leveraged to develop the complex business logic component. The JDBC database access layer developed by Itransition enables it to support multiple application servers (BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, and Red Hat JBoss) and databases (Microsoft SQL Server 2000/2005/2008, Oracle 9.0/10.0, PostgreSQL).

The application integrates seamlessly with third-party systems, offering connectivity with the company’s payroll, accounting, HR systems, as well as with the services of external providers.

Arriving At High Scalability And Ease Of Configuration

To convert the system to a web-based application, Itransition’s dedicated team redeveloped the legacy Delphi-based application using Java. As soon as the enhanced web-based system was deployed to production, Itransition moved to the support and maintenance phase.

For 12 years, CarlaMaestro™ has been evolving under the expert supervision of Itransition’s team. In 2007 the SaaS-based application, nicknamed CarlaMaestro™ then, was rebranded. Currently, the revamped application is a highly scalable, easily configurable platform offering a range of online human resources and expense management services.

The application is used by dozens of France-based companies: Estée Lauder, Ferrero, Mercedes France, Euronews are among them. Considering specific requirements any particular system user may have, Itransition is continuously complementing the application with new functionality.

Results

The web-platform delivered by Itransition has been enabling over 100 companies of all sizes to optimize time, HR, and expense management, offering a flawlessly operating service and maintaining customer satisfaction. The companies using the system have created over 2 million database records since the application was deployed in 2001.

In 2006, Carlabella approached Itransition with another request for custom app development: the company needed a large-scale SaaS-based application—a tax management platform named WebTaxes. Currently, Itransition performs maintenance and support of the two SaaS-based systems, increasingly profitable for our customer and productive for end users.

Project Timeline

In 2001, Itransition’s team gets in:

  • Adding supported databases (Microsoft SQL Server 2000/2005/2008, Oracle 9.0/10.0, PostgreSQL).
  • Application redevelopment.
Project timeline