New Technology/enterprise Ltd
Consultancy example #3:
Architectural consultancy on a retail banking portal  
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The business case
The client, a worldwide investment bank, wanted to create a web portal to its financial services. It had already started a pilot project by the time NT/e became involved. The portal was a highly-visible strategic development for the client.

The technical case
The pilot project was initially being implemented on a platform other than BEA WebLogic and utilised the vendor's development resources. The client perceived the pilot to be proceeding slowly and producing unsatisfactory initial results, casting doubt on a successful outcome on a timely basis. The client decided to set up a parallel project to re-implement the portal on BEA WebLogic Server using a development team with a successful track record in that product.

Our input
BEA were asked to supply key architectural consultancy to ensure the implementation adopted best practice solutions. NT/e had already been involved on an earlier WebLogic project for the same client and the client specifically requested the same NT/e consultant be part of BEA's resource on this project.

NT/e provided the architectural lead to the client's developers, particularly with regard to Java Enterprise design patterns and UNIX/Solaris. This was initially on a part-time basis.

After three months, the client's perception of the ease of development and stability of the BEA WebLogic PoC was highly favourable. The client increased the WebLogic development team by a factor of ten and curtailed the original pilot. Our consultant worked on the project full-time. The role of the BEA and NT/e consultants changed from tutorial and mentoring to active development. In particular, our involvement focussed on deploying and testing the application to Solaris and scaling the deployment to clusters of eight or ten servers, to prove the behavior of the application in a resilient clustered environment.

As the portal neared completion and the client's developers became more competent and confident in the project, our involvement was scaled down to three man-days per week until shortly after live deployment. The total elapsed period of NT/e's involvement with this client extended to approximately ten months.

1 Effective large-scale deployment delivered to client's satisfaction.
2 Substantial transfer of skills/experience to client's staff.