A strategic solution for the Algorithmic Economy

Hymans Robertson knew that the value in their data and algorithms could enable new commercial opportunities with customers and partners.

With help from endjin, in the form of strategic advice, an "assess and invest" feedback loop was established in preparation for a new model of business.

And with endjin's architecture blueprints, based on Azure PaaS and Microsoft R Server, they could focus on developing products rather than technology.

A solution for the Algorithmic Economy built on Azure API Management and Microsoft R Server Operationalization

A new set of API based products could unleash the value in Hymans Robertson's core datasets. Endjin's blueprint architecture accelerated the route to market.

An Overview

A new set of API based products allowed Hymans Robertson to unleash the value in their core datasets and take advantage of strategic coopetition.

But exposing algorithmic and data services to customers and partners presented a new set of challenges – from defining new policy around developing and supporting products, to designing a platform that supported disparate models and underlying technologies.

With strategic advice from endjin around the organizational capability required, an "assess and invest" feedback loop was established in preparation for a new model of business.

And with endjin's API Economy Platform Blueprint, Hymans Robertson had a best-of-breed platform that enabled a consistent, frictionless path to production for any model in any language, allowing them to focus on developing their product, rather than the underlying technology.

"We see APIs as an important new channel to market, complementing our traditional consulting capability by enabling existing & new clients to plug directly into our core Intellectual Property."

— Barry Smart, IT Director, Hymans Robertson

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The challenges

  • Exposing models developed in both .NET and R as a consistent set of APIs for consumption by external partners
  • Provisioning core platform infrastructure to support heterogenous application architectures
  • Configuring Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipelines to bring DevOps automation to R models
  • Defining security policy around exposing R services through Azure API Management
  • Defining organizational policy around many factors relating to new API product proposition
  • Meeting tight commercial deadlines whilst maintaining confidence in underlying technology

How endjin helped

API Blueprint

A reference architecture for algorithmic services

Endjin provisioned their API Economy Platform Blueprint, which implemented a best-in-class reference cloud architecture for supporting algorithmic services. The entire solution infrastructure is modelled as declarative Azure Resource Manager templates, which can be version controlled and parameterised, and deployed at the push of a button.

Devops

A polyglot DevOps pipeline

Endjin configured Visual Studio Team Services for a best-of-breed DevOps development workflow for both .NET applications and R models hosted in Microsoft R Server Operationalization. A convention-based approach to architecture, solutions and processes meant multi-disciplined teams had a consistent, frictionless path to production for any model in any language.

Thought Leadership

A strategic advisor

Endjin applied their API Maturity Matrix to assess organizational capability across the areas required to deliver an API based business, including strategy and governance around the new set of products, design, and development implications relating to API services and operational concerns around supporting the new workloads and SLAs.

"By providing APIs, we see our role as 'Fintech enablers' helping both incumbent & start-ups develop new business models with our data & models providing some of the key building blocks."

— Barry Smart, IT Director, Hymans Robertson

The Benefits

Since engaging with endjin, Hymans Robertson has a single architectural solution that supports R and .NET workloads, bringing together different organizational disciplines in a consistent platform. The patterns and templates provided in the architecture blueprint mean that Hymans Robertson have clear guidance and examples for implementing specific workload scenarios so they can integrate new models rapidly and consistently. The presence of Azure API Management means that cross-cutting organizational policies around security, authentication, and request/response routing can be applied consistently without impacting the underlying API services.

The DevOps processess that were configured inside VSTS have meant that Hymans Robertson had Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipelines on day one – automatically deploying the entire solution infrastructure into the Azure cloud platform. Not only has this enabled agility and increased efficiency in the development team, but by configuring the necessary quality gates at every step of the way, it has added a safety net around the entire ALM process, so changes will only be promoted once the required approvals and confirmations have been applied. With Application Insights providing centralized operational monitoring in the Cloud, the team is truly DevOps enabled.

Finally, the strategic support around organizational capability and readiness has left Hymans Robertson with an "assess and invest" feedback loop, that they can use to accelerate their journey towards an API based business.

"Through endjin's 'maturity assessment' approach they helped us to realise that the roadmap to adopt APIs successfully would be a multi-disciplinary undertaking involving colleagues from the likes of legal, finance and security, as well as our modelling and engineering teams."

— Barry Smart, IT Director, Hymans Robertson

How do I get the same benefits?

API Economy Platform Blueprint >

If you're thinking about joining the API Economy or building a platform based business but don't know where to start, our API Economy Platform Blueprint can accelerate your journey, providing a solid architectural foundation in the form of deployable infrastructure templates so you can hit the ground running on day one.

Pull Request Review >

If you want confidence in the software underpinning your products – when either rapidly delivering new features, or refactoring for performance and stability - we can augment your development team, acting as an impartial code reviewer through the pull request mechanism build into most major source control systems.

DevOps & Delivery >

If you want to supercharge your development team with best of breed DevOps processes, we can provide recommendations and configure your ALM, version control and build server tooling to enable Continous Integration and Deployments with the right quality gates for success.

"Endjin were able to provide frameworks that got us off to a quick start & worked as an extended part of the team during the early technical spike that we undertook to put the core platform and development pipeline in place."

— Barry Smart, IT Director, Hymans Robertson

Solution Architecture

Endjin's API Economy Platform Blueprint can be configured to deploy specific API platform infrastructure according to the underlying workloads supporting the APIs – including .NET operations, R models, or services requiring complex data movement and processing activities.

In each case, Azure API Management provides the means to create and publish APIs, enforce their usage policies, control access, support the subscriber community, collect and analyze usage statistics, and report on performance.

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