ICICIdirect.com, an award winning and pioneering online broking platform, empowers over 2 million Indians to seamlessly access the capital market. However, in the current times of evolution on the web and to increase customer stickiness, there was a need to provide rich and intuitive end user experience. Keeping in mind the portal’s consumer facing and mission critical nature, ICICI Securities chose Microsoft Silverlight 4.0 to strengthen its online presence primarily due to its Rich Internet Application (RIA) capabilities. The new trading platform is first of its kind in India to leverage Microsoft’s Silverlight 4.0 platform to create a personalized, widget-centric and more productive environment for online traders. The new portal is not only intuitive but also offers immersive end user experience. With real time streaming of market data on the web, the portal offers a productive operating environment for retail traders.
||With Silverlight 4.0, ICICIdirect.com will easily be able to fulfill the diverse needs of our customers by offering a rich and highly productive operating environment.
Senior Vice President – Information Technology
ICICI Securities Ltd is an integrated securities firm offering a wide range of services including investment banking, institutional broking, retail broking, private wealth management, and financial product distribution. ICICIdirect is the *largest e-broking house in the country with over 2 million customers. It is a pioneering online trading portal from ICICI Securities, *the largest equity house in India providing end-to-end solutions through the one of the largest non-banking distribution channel.
ICICIdirect.com not only offers convenient ways to invest in equity, derivatives, currency futures, and mutual funds but also provides other services such as fixed deposits, loans, tax services, new pension systems and insurance. It offers a convenient and easy to use platform to invest in equity and various other financial products using its unique 3-in-1 account, which integrates customers saving, trading and Demat accounts.
ICICIdirect currently has a web application (www.icicidirect.com) for online trading and a thick client application (Trade Racer) for users who wish to have a localized experience on their desktop. However, with such large user base, the client application has its own set of cons. Every application and its upgrade have to be specifically installed by the user and the configurations varied from one user to another. It was thus difficult for operation teams of any scale to manage these users. Another critical requirement for the web application was the need for real time streaming of data. This was implemented via a pull model on web site wherein the user refreshes their data on a need basis. This led to a lag in sending updates to the end user depriving them of taking timely decisions on trading.
In the current times of evolution on the web, and to increase customer stickiness to ICICIdirect.com, there was a need to elevate user experience on the web. ICICIdirect decided to compete with its own thick client application and launch a rich and intuitive online trading application that would give online investors and traders a personalized, intuitive and immersive end-user experience.Solution
Keeping in mind the portal’s consumer facing and mission critical nature, ICICI Securities decided to harnesses the advantages of Rich Internet Application (RIA) to launch a rich and intuitive online trading experience on ICICIdirect.com.
Two technologies were shortlisted - Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight 4.0. However, after a complete evaluation, Microsoft Silverlight was chosen. The reason being, ICICIdirect.com had predominantly remained on Microsoft technologies from a user interface perspective.
The traditional online portal currently in use was built using Microsoft .NET technologies (leveraging Web 2.0 concept). So, there was already a development team that was well versed with Microsoft technologies. The company was thus confident to go with Microsoft Silverlight 4.0.
* Information source: ICICI Securities
“Considering how quickly the web and our online customers were evolving, the need for a rich user environment was fast becoming a factor critical to success,” says Yagnesh Parikh, Senior Vice President - IT, ICICI Securities. With Silverlight 4.0, ICICIdirect.com will easily be able to fulfill the diverse needs of our customers by offering a rich and highly productive operating environment.”
Microsoft brought in Quadwave Consulting Private Limited as the implementation partner for this initiative. Naveen Prabhu, Chief Technology Officer, Quadwave says, “Consumers expectation on the web is increasing day by day. It becomes extremely critical for online service providers to offer something unique and differentiating on the web to ensure consumer stickiness. We are extremely pleased to have partnered with Microsoft and ICICI Securities to deliver an all-new trading portal leveraging the power of Silverlight.”
Silverlight Platform was leveraged end to end for the development of the RIA portal. Capabilities like multi-threading, data streaming, UI agility, which qualifies as the core of the system, were enabled by Silverlight.
Aimed to offer experience that is more engaging for online investors and retail traders, this portal offers movable widgets and is opt-in. These widgets serve different purpose and each widget has been programmed to work independently in a multi-threaded environment. ICICIdirect account holders now have the choice of leveraging an all new portal that offers a highly intuitive operating environment.
Rich Internet Applications carry several capabilities of desktop applications and are offered through web browsers. These RIAs give users a localized browsing experience like a desktop applications, consume less memory and requires no installation other than the one time installation of Silverlight plug-in. "Microsoft's Silverlight 4.0 platform has been used to create the immersive and engaging experience for ICICIdirect.com users. It's certainly exciting for us that the power of Rich Internet Application using Silverlight 4.0 has been leveraged in the financial sector," says Moorthy Uppaluri, GM-Developer & Platform Evangelism, Microsoft.
Yagnesh Parikh says, "We already offer a low bandwidth version of ICICIdirect portal. The new version is meant for more engaging experience to our online trading customers. With security being our top-priority, we have leveraged HTTPS secured protocol for the portal."
Quadwave implemented the new solution using the agile methodology, which meant features and functionalities were added as and when needed. “Towards the end of this implementation, the stock market (BSE and NSE) underwent some very important changes, which included change in timing and some regulatory modifications,” explains Naveen Prabhu, Chief Technology Officer, Quadwave. “However, as we had used agile methodology and with the system being flexible, we were able to incorporate these changes easily.”
Today, with a large share of users opting for online transactions, ICICIdirect.com’s initiative to introduce Rich Internet Application (RIA), in addition to standard online version for financial trading, strengthens their position as a pioneer in the online trading market.
||In the current browser based application, customers had to go to a new page to place an order. There was always a time lag during the navigation from one page to another. With the RIA portal, there is no lag, enabling customers to take timely decisions.
Senior Vice President - Information Technology
ICICI Securities is the first to launch a RIA version of their trading portal in India and hence an outright competitive advantage. It has an opportunity to attract new business with innovative suite of online services along with the opportunity to be technology leaders in the online retail trading space. Rich and Responsive User Interface
Microsoft Silverlight is bringing a very modern user interface to the solution. It provides a native browsing experience on the web. The new user interface can fit maximum information on a single screen so that traders can take accurate decision quickly (with absolutely zero page refreshes /navigation that is typical in a web scenario)Ease of Making a Trade
The new User interface enables order placement from anywhere in the portal. Yagnesh Parikh, Senior Vice President - Information Technology, ICICI Securities explains, “In the current browser based application, customers had to go to a new page to place an order. There was always a time lag during the navigation from one page to another. With the RIA portal, there is no lag, enabling customers to take timely decisions.”Real Time Streaming of Data
The new portal allows for real time streaming of data. The streaming capability does not exist in the current online web version, and was implemented in a pull model. With this, the customer had to frequently click and refresh data. There was thus a possibility that they lose an opportunity to get timely data and the real time price. Using the data streaming capabilities of Silverlight, ICICIdirect is now providing data in a push model leading to timely dissemination of data to connected consumers.
For more information about Microsoft Silverlight please visit:
www.microsoft.coSoftware and ServicesMicrosoft Silverlight 4.0Microsoft Expression Suite 4.0Microsoft .NETPartnerQuadwave Consulting m/silverlightAbout Quadwave Consulting
Quadwave Consulting is a Bangalore, India, based software Services Company focused on providing affordable and quality software solutions to enterprises and online businesses. Quadwave specializes in using agile processes, tools and technologies. It offers content transformation and presentation solutions.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 who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
For more information about ICICI Securities products and services, call (91) (22) 6637 7190 or visit the Web site at: www.icicidirect.com
For more information about Quadwave Consulting products and services, call (91) (80) 4167 0232 or visit the Web site at: www.quadwave.comThis case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.