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2021 Blog, Digital Blog, Blog, Featured

Relevance Lab’s focus on addressing the digital transformation jigsaw puzzle has a strategic investment in leveraging Products & Platforms to create a unique differentiation and competitive advantage. We are a specialist cloud, DevOps, automation, and analytics services company with an IP (Intellectual Property) led technology strategy. This helps our customers achieve frictionless business outcomes by leveraging cloud across their infrastructure, applications, and data.

We optimize IT spending with smart cloud workload migration, reducing ongoing operations costs by leveraging automation & governance, speeding up innovation in the delivery of new software products with Agile & DevOps, and getting key real-time business insights with Actionable Analytics.

The key platforms and playbooks that we have are the following:


RLCatalyst provides an “Automation-First” approach for Enterprise Cloud Orchestration across “Plan, Build & Run” lifecycle, leveraging our unique IP. A pre-built library of quick-starts, BOTs and Open source solutions helps customers use Cloud “The Right Way” focused on best practices like “Infrastructure as Code” and “Compliance as Code”. We also have unique specialization on AWS and ServiceNow platforms leveraged to provide Intelligent Cloud Operations & managed services with our ServiceOne platform covering workload migration, security, governance, CMDB, ITSM, and DevOps.

SPECTRA provides a Digital and Agile Analytics platform that helps build enterprise data lakes and Supply Chain analytics with multiple ERP systems connectors (SAP, Oracle, Dynamics, JDE, etc.). It also provides a smart-document search engine for Google-like features on enterprise digital documents (images, PDF, engg drawings, etc.). We leverage the Digital platforms for Frictionless Application modernization and Cloud Product Engineering services extending across platforms covering content, commerce, CRM, and supply chain (Adobe, Shopify, SFDC, Oracle Fusion, Azure PowerApps, Services & ADF) integrated with actionable insights from SPECTRA.


The figure above explains our company’s focus in driving frictionless IT and business operations leveraging these key platforms. The focus on a “coded business model” that the platforms deliver help us engage across the full lifecycle with customers covering the following stages:

  • Assess the key customer needs as each customer has a unique model we evaluate based on 3C’s (Culture, Content & Constraints)
  • Standardize the internal systems, processes, engineering practices, and governance
  • Automate everything repetitive impacting speed, costs, quality, and compliance
  • Accelerate the achievement of business objectives with faster software delivery, better operational excellence, and real-time Agile Analytics

RLCatalyst Platform and ServiceOne Solution
RLCatalyst is an intelligent automation platform built with DevOps, Cloud, and Automation features covering infrastructure, applications, data, and workflows. RLCatalyst common services foundation is built using an open architecture in line with the industry standards and can be customized. On top of the foundation services, a set of specialized products, solutions, and services are created to cover the specialized needs of customers. Following are a few key foundation themes for RLCatalyst:

  • Built on Open-source products to provide flexibility and scalability for hybrid cloud deployments
  • Uses “Infrastructure as Code” best practices and DevOps standards covering CI/CD, end to end monitoring, and orchestration
  • The platform is built to have a UI Portal front-end, Node.JS API-based backend, integration layer for executing BOTs, and database layer based on NoSQL
  • The core concept uses a “self-aware” paradigm to embed dynamic configurations, end to end monitoring, and dynamic CMDB to enable smart operations using other ITSM and Cloud platforms
  • The Cloud Portal drives self-service models of DevOps and can be customized to add domain-specific business rules for customers or industry type
  • There is “Compliance as Code” embedded into the design to make sure customers can be aligned with well-architected principles
  • The platform is built on top of AWS and ServiceNow ecosystem but can also be deployed on-prem or other cloud platforms
  • The solutions are pre-integrated with other popular DevOps and Cloud tools like Docker, Chef, Anisible, Terraform, Jenkins, ELK, Sensu, Consul, etc
  • The platform comes with a pre-built library of BOTs and Quickstart templates

The combination of RLCatalyst and ServiceOne integrated solution provides an intelligent automation architecture, as explained in the figure below. The key building blocks are:

  • Discover the underlying assets, health, costs, vulnerability, security, and compliance.
  • Automate using a framework of BOTs built with self-aware intelligence covering tasks, workflows, decisioning, and AI/ML algorithms.
  • Resolve at speed all service management tickets and requests with complex workflows & integration across multiple systems

SPECTRA Platform and Business Process Automation
SPECTRA, the AI-driven Analytics platform from Relevance Lab, based on Open Source technology, can fast track your journey from data to actionable insights. It can process data from structured data from different ERP Systems based on pre-existing adapters and unstructured data from PDFs, Emails, engineering drawings, and commercial labels. Every organization has invested in a combination of tools, technologies and solutions to create their Data platforms. However, most of these platforms are built with legacy technologies or fragmented components. When companies try to leverage the new technologies of Big Data, Cloud Architectures and Artificial Intelligence to achieve more meaningful Analytics a pre-built Platform like SPECTRA can save tremendous efforts, costs and time to provide a scalable and flexible alternative.

Similar to the RLCatalyst IT Optimization we leverage SPECTRA Platform for Business Optimization with Agile Analytics, as explained in figure below.


We have also leveraged SPECTRA Platform and UiPath Integration to Achieve business process hyper automation, as explained briefly below.


Customer Impact with RL Playbooks for IT and Business Transformation
Relevance Lab leverages our strengths in platforms for all our customer engagements to bring out special value on services delivery in areas of:

  • Cloud Infrastructure Automation
  • Data Analytics Platforms
  • Digital Applications and Product Engineering
  • Intelligent Operations and DevOps

The figure below highlights the value created for some of our key customers.


We have adopted the following maturity model as a specialist technology company with significant investments on competency and IP creation that guides the investments in RLCatalyst and SPECTRA platforms.


Level-1 Deep Technology Expertise Continuous learning and skills upgrade on latest/emerging Technologies focus across Cloud, Automation, Analytics, DevOps, Digital
Level-2 Focus on Certifications – Basic & Advanced Promoting “Industry Certifications” to benchmark the competencies against the global standards and make this part of every developer’s career enhancement goal
Level-3 Solutions and Best Practices (Process & Tools) Focus on customer solutions and recurring use cases to build a knowledge base of best practices across software engineering, operations excellence, business domains
Level-4 Platform Focus “Codified Knowledge” in the form of Platforms for Data Analytics, DevOps, Cloud & Automation with source code in re-usable formats. Well-Architected Frameworks and leveraging open-source platforms with custom component enhancements & integrations to save effort, time, and improved quality with each new engagement
Level-5 Product Offerings Prescriptive and pre-created products that customers can use in a “touchless” manner as SaaS or Marketplace offerings like a typical ISV solution with little or no dependency on associated professional services. Major benefit in enabling frictionless jumpstart on specific business problems.

Summary
Relevance Lab has made significant investments in creating IT and Business Transformation platforms that provide us a key competitive advantage in unlocking value for our customers across DevOps, Analytics, Cloud, Automation and Digital Engineering. By following a service maturity model that goes beyond just headcount and competencies we have been able to bring the value of platform and products to solve the digital transformation puzzle for our 50+ customers.

To know more about how can our products and platforms help feel free to contact us marketing@relevancelab.com.



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2020 Blog, Digital Blog, Blog, Featured

In our increasingly digitized world, companies across industries are embarking on digital transformation journeys to transform their infrastructure, application architecture and footprint to a more modern technology stack, one that allows them to be nimble and agile when it comes to maintainability, scalability, easier deployment (smaller units can be deployed frequently).

Old infrastructure and the traditional ways of building applications are inhibiting growth for large enterprises, mid-sized and small businesses. Rapid innovation is needed to rollout new business models, optimize business processes, and respond to new regulations. Business leaders and employees understand the need for this agility – everyone wants to be able to connect to their Line of Business (LOB) systems through mobile devices or remotely in a secure and efficient manner, no matter how old or new these systems are, and this is where Application Modernization comes in to picture.

A very interesting use case was shared with us by our large Financial Asset management customer. They had a legacy application, which was 15+ years old and having challenges like tightly coupled business modules, code base/solution maintainability, complexity in implementing lighter version of workflow, modular way of deploying key features, legacy technology stack based application, etc. To solve this problem we had a solid envisioning phase for future state application by considering the next generation solution architecture approach, latest technology stack, value add for the business – lighter version of workflow engine, responsive design & End–to–End (E2E) DevOps solution.

Legacy Application Modernizations/Platform Re-Engineering
Legacy application modernization projects intend to create new business value from existing, aging applications by updating or replacing them with modern technologies, features and capabilities. By migrating the legacy applications, business can include the latest functionalities that better align with where business needs transformation & success.

These initiatives are typically designed and executed with phased rollouts that will replace certain functional feature sets of the legacy application with each successive rollout, eventually evolving into a complete, new, agile, modern application that is feature-rich, flexible, configurable, scalable and maintainable in future.

Monolithic Architecture Vs Microservices Architecture – The Big Picture

Monolithic Architecture

  • Traditional way of building applications
  • An application is built as one large system and is usually one codebase
  • Application is tightly coupled and gets entangled as the application evolves
  • Difficult to isolate services for purposes such as independent scaling or code maintainability
  • Usually deployed on a set of identical servers behind a load balancer
  • Difficult to scale parts of the application selectively
  • Usually have one large code base and lack modularity. If developers community wants to update or change something, they access the same code base. So, they make changes in the whole stack at once

The following diagram depicts an application built using Monolithic Architecture

Microservices Architecture

  • Modern way of building applications
  • A microservice application typically consists of many services
  • Each service has multiple runtime instances
  • Each service instance needs to be configured, deployed, scaled, and monitored

Microservices Architecture – Tenets
The Microservices Architecture breaks the Monolithic application into a collection of smaller, independent units. Some of the salient features of Microservices are

  • Highly maintainable and testable
  • Autonomous and Loosely coupled
  • Independently deployable
  • Independently scalable
  • Organized around domain or business capabilities (context boundaries)
  • Owned by a small team
  • Owning their related domain data model and domain logic (sovereignty and decentralized data management) and could be based on different data storage technologies (SQL, NoSQL) and different programming languages

The following diagram depicts an enterprise application built using Microservices Architecture by leveraging Microsoft technology stack.


Benefits of Microservices Architecture

  • Easier Development & Deployment – Enables frequent deployment of smaller units. The microservices architecture enables the rapid, frequent, and reliable delivery of large, complex applications
  • Technology adoption/evolution – Enables an organization to evolve its technology stack
  • Process Isolation/Fault tolerance – Each service runs in its own process and communicates with other processes using standard protocols such as HTTP/HTTPS, Web Sockets, AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol)

Today the Enterprise customers across the globe like eBay, GE Healthcare, Samsung, BMW, Boeing, etc. has been adopted Microsoft Azure platform for developing their Digital solutions. We at Relevance Lab also delivered numerous Digital transformational initiatives to our global customers by leveraging Azure platform and Agile scrum delivery methodology.

The following diagram depicts an enterprise solution development life cycle leveraging Azure platform and it’s various components, which enables Agile scrum methodology for the E2E solution delivery


Conclusion
Monolithic Architecture does have its strengths like development and deployment simplicity, easier debugging and testing and fewer cross-cutting concerns and can be a good choice for certain situations, typically for smaller applications.However, for larger, business critical applications, the monolithic approach can bring up challenges like technological barriers, scalability, tight coupling (rigidity) and hence makes it difficult to make changes, and development teams find them difficult to understand.

By adopting Microservices architecture and Microsoft Azure Platform based solutions business could leverage below benefits

  • Easier, rapid development of enterprise solutions
  • Global team could be distributed to focus certain services development of the system
  • Organized around business capabilities, rapid infrastructure provisioning & application development – Technology team will be focused not just on technologies but also acquires business domain knowledge, organized around business capabilities and cloud infrastructure provisioning/ capacity planning knowledge
  • Offers modularizations for large enterprise applications, increases productivity and helps distributed team to focus on their specific modules and deliver them in speed and scale them based on the business growth

For more details, please feel free to reach out to marketing@relevancelab.com



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2020 Blog, Digital Blog, Blog, Featured
Working with a large enterprise customer supporting B2B and B2C business we leveraged Shopify to launch fully functional e-commerce stores enabling new digital channels in a very short window. Post Covid-19 pandemic disrupting existing business and customer reach, large companies had to quickly realign their digital channels and supply chains to deal with disruption and changes in the consumer behaviour. Businesses needed to have a frictionless approach to enable new digital channels, markets and products to reach out in a touchless manner while rewiring their backend fulfilment systems to deal with the supply chain disruptions. Relevance Lab worked closely with our customers during these challenging times to bring in necessary changes of empowering e-commerce, enterprise integrations, and supply chain insights helping create and maintain business continuity with a new environment.

The existing customer had invested in a full fledged but heavy e-commerce platform that was slow and costly to change. With Shopify we quickly enabled them to achieve setting up a fully functional e-commerce store in Canada with standard integrations with region specific context and positive revenue impacts.

It all boiled down to identifying an e-commerce platform which

  • Is easy and fast to set-up
  • Is secure and scalable
  • Incur least total cost of ownership
  • Provides the convenience to shop on multiple devices
  • Customizable as per requirement

We have configured the Shopify built-in theme to meet branding requirements and purchase workflows. Payment was enabled through multiple channels, including credit card, PayPal, and GPay. The store was also multilingual supporting two languages x`– English and French. We were able to go live in just four weeks and provide complete functionalities covering over 500 products delivered with a very cost optimized Shopify monthly subscription plan.

In parallel to building the storefront, the operations team simultaneously enabled

  • Adding new products to the online store
  • Configuring tax/discounts
  • Configuring customer support
  • Validating standard reports such as sales reports etc

The merchant had a complicated tax calculation GST, PST, QST across 13 regions which were simplified by the out of the box country-specific tax configuration in Shopify.

Feature Configuration and Customization Details

  • Customization of Shopify theme to make the store stand out and look great on web and mobile
  • Extended store functionalities such as translation, user review, product quick view and product pre-order using apps from Shopify Marketplace
  • Shopify’s own payment provider to accept credit card payments
  • Blog publishing through Shopify native blog features to help customers make informed decisions
  • Enabled multiple languages from Shopify admin and created separate URLs for translated content
  • Shopify Fulfilment Network offered a dedicated network of fulfilment centers that ensure timely deliveries, lower shipping costs, and a positive customer experience
  • Shipping suite provides tools to calculate real-time shipping rates, purchase and print shipping labels, and track shipments
  • Using Shopify built in tax engine to automatically handle most common sales tax calculations
  • Shopify native Notifications Module to automatically sent email or SMS to customers for confirmation of their order and shipping updates
  • With minimal effort we have configured Shopify Email to create email marketing campaigns and send them from Shopify
  • Over 500 products were imported in a matter of minutes using the product Import feature. More advanced features including associating multiple product images to product and meta data were out of the box
  • Advanced store navigation was configured using collections and tags which helped customers to easily discover products of their choice
  • Shopify’s analytics and reports provide means to review store’s recent activity, get insight into visitors, analyze online store speed, and analyze store’s transactions

Solution Architecture
Key components of Shopify platform are

  • Partner Dashboard: This provides capabilities including API credentials, track metrics for your published apps, create development stores, and access resources that help you to build your business
  • Shopify App CLI: Bootstrap a working Shopify app with Shopify command-line tool
  • Shopify App Generator for Rails: A Rails engine for building Shopify apps
  • App Bridge: JavaScript library to embed your app seamlessly in the Shopify admin
  • Shopify Admin API Library for Ruby: A handy software to simplify making Admin API calls in Ruby apps
  • Shopify Admin API Library for Python: A Python library to simplify making Admin API calls in Python apps
  • Shopify Admin API GraphiQL explorer: Interactive tool to build GraphQL queries using real Shopify API resources
  • Shopify Storefront API GraphiQL explorer: Interactive tool to build GraphQL queries for Shopify’s Storefront API
  • JavaScript Buy SDK: Add Shopify features to any website
  • Android Buy SDK: Add Shopify features to Android apps
  • iOS Buy SDK: Add Shopify features to iOS apps
  • Polaris: Create great user experiences for your apps with Shopify’s design system and component library

Leveraging the above standard Shopify components, the solution was delivered with following storefront architecture.



Relevance Lab Differentiator
Relevance Lab empowers Digital Solutions covering e-commerce, Content, CRM and E-Business. Within e-commerce platforms there are deep specializations on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe Experience Manager, Shopify.

With a complementary expertise in Cloud Infrastructure, Business Analytics and ERP Integration we help our customers achieve the necessary flexibility, scalability and cost optimization to adopt Cloud platforms covering SAAS, PAAS and IAAS. Based on the context of the business challenge, we provide an end to end perspective in identifying areas of friction and leveraging technology to address the same. In this case there was a quick recovery from Covid-19 induced disruptions and a solution was delivered at a fraction of regular costs with quick ROI achieved. The collaborative approach to deeply understanding customer business problems, ability to consult on multiple solutions and bring in deep expertise to enable the outcome is part of Relevance Lab unique capabilities.


For more details on how we have help achieve frictionless digital business and leverage Cloud based platforms like Shopify for e-commerce feel free to contact marketing@relevancelab.com



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