Hybris-based Tenancy Solution Development

50% faster TTM, 25% customer growth, improved code quality, stable system operation with SAP Hybris digital transformation for a 150K user banking solution

Problem

Customer

The customer is a Government-approved provider of tenancy deposit protection in the UK. The company supports landlords and agents in the process of complying with the legislation and securing deposits during the whole period of tenancy for all the parties involved. The customer has protected over £1.5bn worth of deposits and has dealt with more than 20,000 disputes on behalf of 150,000 landlords and letting agents.

How It Started

Since the customer had already been working with Itransition’s QA team, when the business need for digital transformation with the help of SAP Hybris integration came up, Itransition’s development team was added to the project to integrate the customer’s existing systems within a single unified tenancy deposit solution that would have a coherent integrated environment automating the retail part of the business.

The knowledge transfer to the development team was smooth, and almost any question developers had could be answered by the QA team, which facilitated the processes of business analysis, requirements elaboration as well as user journey definition, breakdown and mapping to ecommerce features.

Solution

Project Goal

The customer owns several disparate systems, developed by different teams using various technologies. The idea of the customer was to integrate all the existing systems within a unified solution. Since SAP Hybris can be integrated with almost all enterprise systems, which makes it easier to incorporate it into a large infrastructure, it was chosen as an organic addition to the existing ecosystem of SAP business solutions already used by the customer.

SAP Hybris integration was originally run by another team, and Itransition inherited code which suffered from a number of issues. As part of the project rescue activities, Itransition’s developers have analyzed the base code and are continually fixing resurfacing issues, difficult to detect at first, improving code quality along the way.

The aspects of the original code that have been found to be the most problematic are:

  • Violation of isolation between the application layers, such as business logic on the presentation layer, fixed where possible by moving business logic to the business layer
  • Code duplication, fixed by allocating common code parts and eliminating duplication.

Itransition’s team initiated the use of static code analysis with the help of Sonar, a powerful tool to search for duplications, vulnerabilities and other issues.

Code quality improvements include efficient logging (which became more informative, allowing developers to localize problems) and slightly reduced technical debt.

Solution

The developed solution is an interface of managing guaranteed deposits and disputes resolution. It is characterized by a large volume of specific business logic that takes into account the diverse aspects of creating and protecting deposits.

  • The solution automates the following business processes:
  • Creation and management by system users (landlords and tenants);
  • Management of the leased property;
  • Management of guaranteed deposits (creation, editing);
  • Protection of guaranteed deposits (transferring funds from various sources: banks, credit/debit cards, cash, etc.)
  • Management of disputes/artifacts and their resolution.

The solution consists of the following main modules:

  • The financial module, based on SAP Business ByDesign, responsible for the management of financial transactions and accounting statements.
  • The administrative module, allowing users to manage companies, units, user roles and properties.
  • The deposit module, allowing users to create and protect deposits. The integration with the financial module feature is used to transfer funds to the solution’s account.
  • The disputes module, allowing landlords and tenants to exchange information within the framework of the initiated dispute.
Solution Scheme

The solution provides the following user roles:

  • Private Landlords – individual landlords, the main users of the system, who create and protect deposits, manage properties within the system.
  • Corporate Landlords – corporate landlords, who are employees of companies specializing in property rentals. These users have the same capabilities as individual landlords, but act on behalf of the company (when protecting the deposit, financial transactions are conducted via the company's account).
  • Agents – users accepting deposits on behalf of companies or property owners. As middlemen, these users are not able to manage properties.
  • Tenants – users who are able to view their deposits and provide information in the event of disputes.

Process

Team

Itransition’s team works on SAP Hybris integration, together with the customer’s onsite team. Another development team works on SAP Business ByDesign.

Itransition’s team has been involved on the project during the stages of development, integration and QA, working according to a dedicated team engagement model. The mixed team used the Scrum framework for software development, already implemented on the project before Itransition’s involvement.

Itransition’s team includes a Java/Hybris full-time developer, a full-time web developer, 3 QA specialists and a part-time project manager. Java developers are responsible for developing new functionality and fixing defects, gradually taking on the duties of the customer’s onsite team. The web developer performs tasks related to the user interface.

The customer’s team consists of 3 Java/Hybris developers, 2 SAP ByDesign developers, 1 analyst and 1 project manager. Java developers resolve integration issues, and SAP ByDesign developers customize the corresponding solution and integrate it on their side.

Itransition’s team holds daily status meetings with the customer’s onsite team, as well as unplanned calls to clarify ongoing work issues. Based on the results of the sprint, general retrospective meetings are held.

Core Technologies

SAP products are used as the solution’s ecosystem. The main functionality is built on the basis of the SAP Hybris platform. Since the solution is based on SAP Hybris, many architectural aspects stem from using this platform.

Within the framework of the solution’s implementation, integration with the following automated systems has been carried out:

  • Financial module based on SAP Business ByDesign. A SOAP protocol is used to exchange information.
  • SecureTrading payment gateway for payments with credit and debit cards.

Below is the table of system modules along with the corresponding technologies, frameworks and products used to develop them:

Module Technology/Framework/Product

Presentation layer

HTML/DHTML, JavaScript, CSS/SASS

Business logic layer

Java, Hybris

Integration layer

Java, WS/SOAP

Persistence (database) layer

Hybris, MySQL

Infrastructure

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Linux

Testing

The QA team consists of 2 full-time QA specialists and a part-time project manager.

During the project the following types of testing were performed:

  • functional testing
  • cross-browser testing (partially)
  • web services testing.

During the whole period of QA testing (the last 10 months), 710 defects were found. Based on the 'bare bones' test documentation for regression, a suite of about 1000 cases covering the application’s basic functionality was created.

The customer plans to automate testing activities in the future.

Results

The project’s success is evident when you consider the small size of Itransition’s team and its ability to analyze, detect and fix complex and challenging issues for the customer’s heavy system, improving code quality and system functioning in the process.

Thanks to SAP Hybris, the customer enjoyed a 50% faster time to market since the configuration over development concept helped the mixed team save time on flexible bespoke development and release the solution 6 months earlier. Tools like Marketing & Customer support bring additional value to the end product. Other benefits of implementing SAP Hybris were 25% growth in customer base, provision of a unified customer experience and enjoying a stable, maintainable and reliable platform for retail management.

The customer’s website currently boasts 150,000 users. The system secures about 1.6 million deposits. The solution processes millions of records, and the current amount of data in industrial operation is tens of thousands of records

This is an ongoing project in the stage of active development. Since Itransition’s team consistently met deadlines and observed the agreed budget, as well as excelled at utilizing its SAP Hybris expertise as part of its full-cycle implementation, customization and configuration offering, the customer is planning to grow the team and collaborate with Itransition in the future.