4-page Case Study
Posted: 3/19/2013
192
Rate This Evidence:

Guardean ISV Uses Support Services to Speed Development of Credit Tracking Application

Guardean, an international provider of software products for customer risk and credit management, wanted to reduce the time and effort needed to maintain one of its core products, known as DebiTEX. The company also sought to redesign the application to address growing customer demand for this solution. To meet its major priority for rapid, cost-efficient development—without sacrificing quality or breadth of functionality—Guardean turned to Microsoft Services. Through Microsoft Services Premier Support for Developers, the company gained access to a multitude of resources that helped speed up development and minimize project risk, including on-site workshops, code samples, and design reviews by Microsoft experts. By using Premier Support for Developers, Guardean deployed the enhanced version of its DebiTEX solution earlier than planned—while strengthening its alliance with Microsoft.

Situation
One of the biggest risks for any company is determining when and how much credit to offer customers. Particularly in difficult economic times, the ability to extend credit to stimulate demand can be a major source of competitive advantage. But companies also need to balance lending with cash flow concerns.

Based in Munich, Germany, Guardean specializes in providing credit management solutions to address these exact challenges. Guardean, as a member of the SHS Viveon Group of companies, serves more than 200 customers in 15 countries in both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets segments.

*
* Without the help of Microsoft Services
Premier Support for Developers, we could never have brought our solution to market this quickly.
*

Edmund Goschy
Development Team Lead, Guardean

*
The software products that Guardean develops make it easier for companies to handle lending requests by automating a multitude of business processes. Specifically, Guardean financial risk management solutions are designed to simplify tasks, such as the collection and analysis of applicant data, customer scoring, and payment tracking.

One of Guardean’s flagship products is DebiTEX, which incorporates a suite of credit management tools. DebiTEX provides businesses with at-a-glance information about customers’ credit use patterns, outstanding balance amounts, and payment history. “DebiTEX is a kind of early warning system that companies can use to get immediate notifications, for example, if the creditworthiness or payment behavior of their customers changes,” explains Edmund Goschy, Development Team Lead at Guardean. “This insight helps companies reduce the number of payment defaults and DSO (days sales outstanding), which, in turn, helps them lower their credit costs.”

Guardean relied predominantly on technologies from Microsoft to build its DebiTEX solution. The database component is based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2; the business logic and presentation layers of the application use elements of the Microsoft .NET Framework.

Guardean’s customers typically use DebiTEX to manage large numbers of their own customers. In fact, one such company uses the software to analyze payment data for 1.8 million customers. In response to ever-increasing data processing requirements and requests for new functionality, developers continuously extended the solution, adding new modules to meet changing customer needs.

But company leaders noted that it was increasingly difficult and costly to support a sprawling application code base. “DebiTEX version 10.2 couldn’t provide the features that our customers needed,” says Goschy. “We couldn’t extend it with third-party add-ins, so the system was pretty static. Also, because there was no layer in between the user interface and database components, we couldn’t use web services.”

In January 2011, Guardean decided to develop a new version of DebiTEX. The requirements for the new version of the DebiTEX solution were clear. First, the software needed to be interoperable with add-in applications so that Guardean could quickly adapt functionality to meet evolving customer needs. Second, developers needed to redesign the application so that it could consume web services and be accessible through mobile devices.

Image 1.
Guardean specializes in developing
credit management applications
used by companies in a variety of
industries.

Beyond the challenges inherent in revamping one of its core products, executives emphasized the importance of rapidly completing work on the project—while minimizing development costs. To shorten the development cycle, executives were eager to augment the company’s existing software engineering resources. They also wanted to make the most of the development technologies on the application infrastructure that the company was already using.

Solution
In building the latest version of its DebiTEX credit management solution, Guardean sought assistance from Microsoft Services. Microsoft Services provides a team of architects, consultants, and engineers—all working together to help customers better align business goals with technology solutions.

After evaluating the various options available through Microsoft Services, Guardean engaged Microsoft Services Premier Support for Developers. This comprehensive offering combines planning workshops, assistance with application development and testing—including design and code reviews—and 24-hour phone-based technical support. Premier Support for Developers also provides access to expert resources within Microsoft through a single point of contact, known as the Application Development Manager. “The comprehensive service portfolio and personal attention from an Application Development Manager made Microsoft Services Premier Support for Developers very attractive to us,” says Goschy.

The Application Development Manager from Microsoft worked closely with the Guardean development team, orchestrating regular reviews of the application architecture and design and connecting developers to resources who could answer questions about the Microsoft .NET Framework 4. The Application Development Manager also organized complex technical services like labs, workshops, and debugging and optimization tasks.

During the creation of a working prototype of the solution, the team from Microsoft Services shared templates and code samples that Guardean developers used to save time. Guardean also took full advantage of access to Microsoft Testing Services and Labs. As part of their engagement with Microsoft Services Premier Support for Developers, companies can use these regional test sites to evaluate application performance, identify coding errors, and troubleshoot problems in a production setting with help from Microsoft experts.

*
* In particular, the first-hand technological expertise we gained from the workshops and the know-how for prototyping and testing that Microsoft shared with us truly accelerated our development. *

Edmund Goschy
Development Team Lead, Guardean

*
Guardean completed development of DebiTEX version 11 in 2011. With the successful release of this enhanced version of its flagship credit management application, Guardean can now provide its customers with a more powerful, scalable solution to track payment information for up to 2 million customers.

Benefits
By using Microsoft Services Premier Support for Developers, Guardean was able to accelerate the development process for its DebiTEX solution, while its team gained valuable skills and knowledge from working closely with experts from Microsoft. Specifically, Guardean has benefitted in the following ways:

Faster Development Without Sacrificing Code Quality
By using certified templates and code samples from Microsoft and taking advantage of advanced lab facilities for performance testing and debugging, Guardean was able to considerably shorten its development cycle for DebiTEX version 11—while maintaining the highest levels of quality assurance.

“Thanks to Premier Support for Developers, our first client went live in November 2011, 10 months after we started developing DebiTEX 11,” says Goschy. “Without the help of Microsoft Services Premier Support for Developers, we could never have brought our solution to market this quickly,” says Goschy. “In particular, the first-hand technological expertise we gained from the workshops and the know-how for prototyping and testing that Microsoft shared with us truly accelerated our development.”

Improved Application Flexibility to Simplify Future Development
With help from Microsoft, Guardean was not only able to build the latest version of its DebiTEX application very fast, but the company was also able to meet its goal of creating a more extensible, scalable, and modern solution. “The Microsoft Services team that we worked with helped us make the most of our investment in Microsoft technology,” says Goschy. “DebiTEX now incorporates web application standards and meets evolving customer needs. Also, because it is based on best-in-class technology from Microsoft, we’re confident that our solution is built for the future.”

Stronger Alliance with Microsoft
Through its work with Microsoft Services Premier Support for Developers, Guardean has also strengthened its strategic alliance with Microsoft. “We benefitted greatly from working closely with our Application Development Manager throughout the entire development cycle,” says Goschy. “We found that we could discuss all of our technical and IT strategy questions with him and he would connect us to the right resources to get them answered quickly. This helped to deepen our connection to Microsoft, which is extremely important to the continued growth and success of our company.”

Microsoft Services
Microsoft Services is the strategy, consulting, and support organization of Microsoft. We are the architects, consultants, engineers, and support professionals, who with our partners, help customers make the most of their Microsoft technologies.

For more information about Microsoft Services, go to:

www.microsoft.com/services

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about Guardean products and services, call 49 89 747257 310 or visit the website at:
www.guardean.com

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 50 employees

Organization Profile

Based in Munich, Germany, Guardean is an international provider of software solutions for customer risk and credit management. It operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of SHS Viveon AG.


Business Situation

To improve its existing credit management product, Guardean sought assistance from Microsoft in developing a new version of the software.


Solution

Guardean engaged Microsoft Services Premier Support for Developers. The company took advantage of opportunities to consult with Microsoft experts on the design and development of its new application.


Benefits

  • Faster development
  • Greater application flexibility
  • Stronger alliance with Microsoft

Software and Services
  • Premier Support for Developers
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • Microsoft Services
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2

Vertical Industries
  • IT Services
  • High Tech & Electronics

Country/Region
Germany

Business Need
Support and Services

Languages
English

RSS