Companies adopt various strategies for building custom software solutions and providing outsourcing services to enterprise clients.
At Neontri, however, we take a distinctive approach: we begin by pinpointing our client’s specific problems before selecting the technology. Why do we do it this way, and how does it work in practice?
Read the interview with Marcin Dobosz, Director of Technology at Neontri, to discover our unique process and the crucial steps involved.
How does Neontri adapt to the diverse needs of its clients?
Neontri’s clients come from different backgrounds. Some are experts in their industries but may not have much IT knowledge, while others have dedicated IT departments within their organizations. This diversity means that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution and that we need to be flexible.
When partnering with a new client, it’s essential to understand their expectations, challenges, tech knowledge, and attitude toward integrating solutions within their unique context.
Truth be told, we’re navigating between what our clients know and what we can possibly do for them. And that isn’t a walk in the park. Nevertheless, there’s a way to make this smoother, and it’s engaging in collaborative discussions to understand the specific business challenges our clients face. Once these issues are well-defined, we can start thinking about possible solutions.
What is the initial step that significantly influences the development of tailored solutions?
The discovery phase is where it all begins. It plays a pivotal role in shaping the solutions we can develop for our clients. In simple terms, the better we understand our clients, the more tailored and effective our solutions become.
Each client starts their unique technological journey with specific goals in mind. What truly matters at this point is for Neontri to identify where exactly the client stands on this journey, and help them gain this awareness as well. This is the crucial step toward delivering a personalized solution.
Sometimes, clients approach us after being bombarded with various ads and content, claiming that a particular solution is the best fit. And they express a desire to implement it within their company. However, when we ask about the specific aspects they require, a common response is Machine Learning (ML). We delve further, asking about the data that ML models will rely on for learning, and the reply often is “my data.” However, probing deeper reveals that this data is scattered across 40 different systems.
In such cases, it’s important to present initial solutions, such as creating a centralized data repository. This paves the way to making what the client has seen or read about feasible in the following stages.
How do you go about selecting the right technology?
In terms of technology, we consider programming languages, frameworks, and databases simply as tools–no more, no less.
Imagine that you take your car to the mechanic because it’s having issues. You drop it off and tell the mechanic: “Remember to use a 3/4-inch combination wrench to fix my car.” That’s not how it works. Instead of instructing the mechanic to use a specific wrench, you trust them to choose the right tools for the job, don’t you?
It’s no different when it comes to technology. That’s what we always try to do at Neontri–choose the technology that’s the best fit from our point of view. We do this with confidence to ensure project success. No one here selects unusual technologies just for the sake of using them–it’s not our way.
How does Neontri balance the client’s vision with the most suitable solutions?
Balancing the client’s vision with the right solutions isn’t a simple task, but our objective is crystal clear: to solve actual business problems. We do so by addressing the client’s specific issues, rather than simply providing what they assume they might need.
Unfortunately, this approach may sometimes clash with the client’s preconceived notions. In such cases, it’s important to remember that our clients are not a singular entity but encompass multiple departments, each with its own perspective.
For instance, the security department may advocate for a particular technology as the safest, while another department may highlight their lack of experts for maintaining that technology, necessitating the use of a different one. Similarly, experts in cloud services may express concerns about resource availability with a particular cloud provider. The list goes on.
Can you explain how Neontri turns what clients want into clear business needs?
Well, some of the comments mentioned above make sense, but they need to be translated into specific business requirements. Let’s take a look at some real-life examples.
Cloud: If the client doesn’t want to support more than one cloud, we respect their choice. Consequently, we might recommend using Azure if the client is committed to a monolithic cloud setup with a single provider.
Security: In cases where a client’s system involves stock exchange transactions, security becomes the top priority. This specific customer requirement must be met to ensure compliance and data protection.
Availability: If a client already maintains two Java programming teams, creating a third team to work in Python could lead to operational challenges. It’s crucial to consider team dynamics and maintain consistency.
When clients discuss such aspects openly at the very beginning, we obviously take them into account when selecting the appropriate technology.
At Neontri, our focus is not on resolving technical or technological issues but rather on addressing tangible business problems. For instance, we don’t optimize memory simply because a client requests it. Instead, we do so when an application crashes due to memory overload. The key issue is the app’s instability, not memory per se.
Does it sometimes happen that clients have a better grasp of their needs?
Well, more often than not, that’s not the case. However, there are situations where it does hold true. Clients come to Neontri with specific requirements and a solid understanding of their business. What they seek from us is guidance in selecting the right technologies and tools to achieve their goals.
To provide a practical example, consider a case from the e-commerce sector.
The client’s need: To display the lowest price from the past 30 days, in compliance with the EU’s Omnibus Directive.
You’re surely familiar with this e-commerce regulation that has implications for price display. When a seller decides to lower the price of a product or service, they have an obligation to inform consumers about the lowest price in the 30 days prior to the reduction. And if the item has been on sale for less than 30 days, the seller should disclose its initial lowest price.
In this situation, the client possesses a clear business goal but lacks the technical know-how to implement it. This is where Neontri steps in, offering a solution.
The solution: We work on determining how to efficiently store a significant volume of data and ensure quick access because, potentially, each time a product is displayed, the lowest price should be shown. We address the challenge of maintaining this data for only 30 days and optimize costs. These are the technical aspects we handle to offer a solution that enables our client to meet their objective effectively.
Why doesn’t Neontri start with choosing the technology?
It would be irrational to come and say: “Do you want us to use MongoDB? No problem, your request is noted. We’ll do as you wish.” To be honest, that wouldn’t be wise.
Our first step is to understand the business needs and then translate them into practical requirements. Take e-commerce and the Omnibus Directive, for example. It’s essential to set limits on data retention, like holding onto it for 30 days and not letting it pile up indefinitely. Without these limits, a system could accumulate data for years, causing serious problems for large e-commerce companies. We don’t want that. Our goal is to save our clients from unnecessary costs and risks.
That’s why it’s important to choose the right technology at the right time in the process; otherwise, it just doesn’t add up.
Sadly, this kind of thing happens in the market quite a bit. “All-in-one” solutions are sold, promising to do everything, but they often fall short. For example, you can buy the best marketing automation platform that sends text messages, emails, and deals based on how your customers behave. But if you don’t have the customer data to put into the platform or connect the data-collecting system with the platform, it won’t work. You need someone with the know-how to make it happen, guide you, and make sure it’s safe. At Neontri, we have it all.
How is Neontri’s strategy brought to life?
To illustrate better how we apply our approach and deliver customized solutions to our clients, let’s take a look at a few specific examples.
1. PKO Bank Polski and the Alnova Archive
PKO Bank Polski, a leading Polish bank, sought our assistance when they faced a critical challenge. Their core systems were struggling to meet growing user demands and required a solution to streamline data retrieval while integrating with legacy systems.
We responded by creating the Alnova Archive, a robust system built using DataStax Enterprise and C++ programming. This innovative solution efficiently retrieves crucial client data, reducing the strain on their core systems. Moreover, its architecture was designed to manage large transaction volumes, showcasing an impressive processing rate of 3,000 transactions per second.
Thanks to the Alnova Archive, PKO Bank Polski not only met increased user demand but also improved their overall banking experience. This solution has remained a valuable asset for over six years, demonstrating our ability to address their unique needs and drive success in the competitive financial industry.
2. Empowering banks with DataStax solutions
In recent years, many banks had to deal with data gathering challenges, as their outdated systems were initially designed for smaller user bases. As a result, quite a few of them turned to Neontri for help.
It’s important to note that while upgrading internal data collection systems might be a feasible task for small or medium-sized companies, the same couldn’t be said for larger institutions, particularly banks with millions of customers.
Our solution? We addressed this issue by partnering with DataStax and DataStax Enterprise which granted us access to a scalable NoSQL database. Built on Apache Cassandra, DataStax is ideal for applications with extensive user bases. In our case, it proved invaluable for developing offloading and data processing systems for banks and enhancing their search systems. Our comprehensive solution, backed by DataStax support, enabled banks to optimize costs, improve efficiency, and enhance data security.
3. Custom mobile banking app based on the Mobile Banking Framework
In 2018, we tackled the task of creating a high-quality mobile banking app for a cloud-first banking client aiming to expand internationally.
We decided to develop a custom mobile banking application based on the Mobile Banking Framework–our white-label solution that streamlines the development process, saving both time and money. We also enhanced security with various authentication methods, including PIN, fingerprint, and facial recognition, and implemented a two-stage authentication process for critical operations.
The results were remarkable. Within just one year, Neontri delivered an innovative and user-friendly mobile banking system to the client. It not only met quality standards but also facilitated the client’s expansion into foreign markets.
So, when you look at these examples, you can notice that in each case, we come across different challenges, which lead us to use different solutions and technologies. But what all our projects share is that we always start by understanding our client’s needs first, and then we find the right technology solutions to match those needs. We never do it the other way around.
What sets Neontri apart in the world of custom software solutions?
In a world filled with various ways to build custom software solutions, it’s crucial to find the most effective approach. At Neontri, we’ve carved our unique path.
We strongly believe that each client has their own unique needs and ideas, and that’s why we approach challenges by first understanding their distinct requirements before diving into the world of technology. We’re here to empower our clients, helping them confidently achieve their objectives through effective and tailored solutions.