App Development and Digital Innovation in the Financial Services Industry
Executing lateral change in apps, especially for large-scale improvement and formatting, takes its fair share of creativity and wit to solve properly. It’s a challenge that we welcome, and we pride ourselves in our ability to issue direct, innovative app development to any who ask. But it takes work. It takes work, patience, and a little bit of love to get there.
This case study is just one example of our working process for a project we walked through development. Our goal was to digitally transform our client and fuel this financial services provider, seeking to improve and unify their data management platforms in a user-friendly manner through one sole ERP based in the Cloud. We hope it will prove as enlightening to you as it was fulfilling for us.
But before you fully jump into this success story, listen a positive Nearshore experience from one of our clients.
Our client has been a leading national provider of financial solutions to healthcare providers and patients for over 17 years. The company offers cash advances and medical lien funding for pre-settlement to victims of personal injury, medical malpractice, and workers compensation across the U.S.
The client needed a large digital transformation to enhance their position in the financial services sector. Before their partnership with iTexico, the final stages of their process with clients was a very manual one: they would approve a client for a cash advance, then either fax or email an agreement that the plaintiff would have to go print out so they could manually sign that agreement, and then fax or email it back to our client. Then the exact same process would happen with the attorney, with the overall approval process taking days at a time, which in consequence made the company lose a lot of funding.
Another business problem was losing approximately 25% of new applicants that tried to reach out to them through phone calls. As it was, the majority of the answered calls weren’t from new applicants, but from ones already going through a process with the client that were trying to get updates on their process. Because of the mass volumes of calls to existing clients' queue, they were missing new applications (25% of the new applications calls). Hoping to prevent these losses in the future, they wanted to automate the information giving process to existing applicants.
As a solution, they created their own platform through Microsoft Access and Visual Basic 6, while also utilizing Salesforce to manage data and customer relationships. Salesforce left them feeling limited and overcharged for the services provided. As a solution to these continuing problems, they decided to partner with a Nearshore company to integrate their existing platforms into one master tool. This is an ongoing project and is presently still in development.
Analogous solutions to problems may have worked fine a decade ago, but they aren’t fit for modern times, and something needed to change. In the interest of growth and new development, iTexico was called in to provide a solution.
Here is a high-level snapshot of the client's data capturing process:
Regarding the cash advance used by our client, Salesforce is in charge of handling more of the front end of the database. The process works something along the lines of this: someone wants to get a cash advance on their lawsuit, so they decide to contact our client and ask for money. The client then tracks the application for the money through Salesforce, and at that time a case is created within the Salesforce framework. They then track that application which means they find all the details they can about the case, have it assigned to an underwriter, and decide whether or not they are interested in putting money on that case.
From here, the application is sent over to a contract specialist who gives feedback to the application. At this point, most of the data goes to the Microsoft Azure system, which tracks the actual money. Azure will send money to the client via Moneygram. Back in SalesForce, they track the underlying lawsuit to make sure it’s still active. When the case is settled a check comes in, goes into the Azure system, and communicates with Salesforce to close the case.
The primary two systems in place to handle the application and ensuing processes are SalesForce and Azure. Salesforce is intended to underwrite the incoming cases, monitoring and tracking them while they are in transit. Azure is the system responsible for the actual handling of all the money involved in the transaction.
Objectives of the Master Project
Let’s talk about what the end-goal objectives of this project are going to be. The master initiative, being the most important objective to meet, is full integration. The client was making use of some technology, but they weren’t utilizing it to its full potential. They still had a lot of manual processes in place, which slowed down productivity and proved expensive.
Thankfully, they had a huge opportunity for improvements to make better use of the data they got. They wanted to resolve some of the problems that they have in their master application, which has been in Microsoft Access for over the course of a decade. The thesis they provided, as per what iTexico was to be primarily responsible for, was integrating their various portals (attorney, client, etc.) into one place.
Reducing the Costs of Utilizing Salesforce
The first step was deprecating the use of SalesForce as a part of their process. The main driver for this move is due to the increasing costs associated with using its services. As they continued to build more things on the platform, it progressively grew more and more expensive. Now with a close renewal deadline, the goal was to at least get the SalesForce functionality done and replaced on Case Masters before the mentioned due date so they could stop renewing with Salesforce.
Integrate Two Data Management Platforms into One to Have Better Control and Use of Data
The current system isn’t delivering on the level of autonomy our client wanted. They wanted a two-fold approach: to innovate better while also having better control of all their data and processes. Following through on this means merging their two platforms into a single system that accomplishes the objectives of what was being done through the split platforms. One main tool to handle everything, essentially.
This meant consolidating their data systems. Everything involved that could be moved had to be packed into Microsoft Azure while also working on improving the back end. Regarding the major IT and data drivers: it was an absolute pain trying to establish communication between their two systems but it was a great digital innovation for their financial service.
Resolve Problems of their Master Application Based on Microsoft Access, Replacing All Code
Another step in the renovation was to eventually deprecate the client’s reliance on Microsoft Access. To do this, we would have to take any of the features or workflows presently supported by Access and place those in Case Masters, integrating them into one primary tool.
Looking a bit into the future, it’s a distinct possibility that we could integrate Machine Learning into the process to oil up the effectiveness of the system. Ideally, using Machine Learning could eliminate the use of the human underwriter and make the funding approval process faster and more efficient. Automation is the quickest path to cost-efficiency, and Machine Learning can help get money out the door faster, decreasing the time they take to treat clients.
There are some big hurdles to overcome with including the possible use of AI/auto underwriting. Our data in Salesforce has approximately a gazillion fields that are not being used, so the data there is fairly poor. Using a human underwriter means they can determine whether or not a case is good for putting money on it, and the same can’t be said for AI technology quite yet.
These goals continue to be met as part of the Case Masters project.
Tech Stack Used
The Case Master platform that we’re using to accomplish the goals of the project is based on Microsoft Azure.
We are using SQL for the database.
For the back end, we are using web API with .Net C#.
For the front end, we are using Angular 7 to unify with the company’s other websites.
To cover all our bases, we needed to allocate and assign an effective team to handle the project and address any conceivable issues that might arise once we were underway. The teams involved were comprised of the following personnel:
- 3 backend developers
- 3 front end developers
- 1 manual tester
- 1 UX/UI designer
- 1 SQL developer
- 1 business analyst
- 1 product owner
Everything was done through SCRUM methodologies.
You can’t blame us for taking a little bit of pride in our work. Every project has its own unique principles and problems, meaning no solution is guaranteed to work the same way twice. iTexico’s involvement with our client’s aims for a unified platform to organize, conduct, and enhance their business processes was to bring about that merging successfully and painlessly. To do so, we decided on utilizing an ERP-CRM to integrate their two old portals - the facility portal and the cash advances portal - with different code bases into a single one, as well as for that unified portal to be based on the Cloud.
Among the improvements that would be included in this transition are the following:
- Improved coding
- Updated emailing programs
- Website reconfiguration
- Coding fixing, cleaning, and tweaking
- Assistance rendered for improved function
Refining the client’s website, programs, databases, platforms, and coding is an integral part of ensuring that they will be capable of handling the sudden change in their workflow. Merging two platforms into a single cohesive data management platform is a lot to take in. To ensure that older, outdated versions of code won’t interfere with the effectiveness of the new system, we sought to take every step necessary to ease the transition.
Once our client partnered with iTexico, the first step was to address the deprecation of Salesforce. Through deprecation, we could wean them off their reliance on Microsoft Access, opening them up to growth. Once they were no longer reliant on these services, we could take any of the features or workflows supported by Access and place those in Case Masters, combining everything into one primary tool. This would result in replacing the functionality used in Salesforce and replacing all the Microsoft Access code.
Salesforce, as it turns out, is a pricey product. With one driver being the cost for its services, it became more and more expensive as our client built more things on it. Once we are able to sever their dependency on it, they’ll be saving a huge amount. Now they have a deadline, with a renewal date set in October. The goal was to at least get the Salesforce functionality segment done by October so they can stop renewing.
With the team we’ve designed and the tech stacks we’re using to pull this project off, we’re hoping to accomplish every goal we’ve set out to do in the near future. By the end of our collaboration with the client, we’re hoping to see their portals unified into a single platform, while also improving their coding, updating their emailing programs, reconfiguring their website, enhancing their coding, and rendering any more possible assistance to ensure improved function.
As of now, the project is right on schedule for optimized completion, and we’re excited and optimistic to see what the final result will be. Until then, we’ll keep plugging along, providing the best quality work possible.
This was just one of our successes thanks to our team here at iTexico. See how our team has helped other companies with our Competency Teams. If your company needs to get ahead on bespoke software development, be sure to contact us here to see how
we can help.