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Modernizing a Dealer-Facing System Across 4 Geographic Markets

Application Development Success Story

Lightwell partnered with an Automotive Finance Leader to develop a modernized, unified dealer-facing system, enabling them to improve the dealer experience while gaining numerous strategic benefits for the company.


Summary

To support its market strategy and growth, a leading automotive financial services company needed to modernize its dealer-facing Web presence. Used by dealers across four geographic markets, the company’s existing solution had been developed organically over the previous 20 years and was implemented on a wide range of Microsoft front-end technologies—including ASP, ASP.NET, MVC, and Silverlight.

While very capable, the current solution was limiting in many ways and lacked many of the modern features that would help to create the efficiencies and advantages the company was envisioning.

By modernizing their dealer-facing system and rolling out a new regionally-aligned interface for all of their markets in the Americas region, the automotive financial services leader recognized the opportunity to:

  • Improve the dealer experience
  • Realize economies of scale and skill
  • Achieve process and service-level excellence
  • Extend best practices across regions
  • Improve processes and eliminate manual ones
  • Enhance reporting and insights

 

 


Application Development

Subsequently, the team launched a modernization initiative focused on achieving these strategic outcomes. They wanted to develop a solution that would allow them to retire their various legacy platforms and migrate all users to the modernized system. Key requirements for this project included:

Modernized UI

Implementing a new, modernized regional User Interface (UI) that could be extended to four countries in the Americas in a multi-tenant solution

Multiple Systems

Building out existing systems to accommodate multiple languages, currencies, time zones, and market-based legal requirements 

Supporting Mobile Devices

Supporting mobile devices with a responsive UI, and support eSigning on a wide range of user devices

Empowering the Business

Enabling business users to modify static content and documents without IT involvement

Standardizing Reporting

Standardizing dealer-facing reporting across geographies

Engaging a Trusted Partner


With so much complexity and many users involved, this was not a simple project they could take on with their internal resources alone. Recognizing that they needed a partner with deep business and technical expertise, the company turned to Lightwell and its Application Modernization and Cloud Transformation practice to help them design and lead the development of the solution. Lightwell had been providing architecture services to the company and had been a trusted partner for over a decade.

The Transformation

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For this strategic project, Lightwell provided a highly-skilled team that included Angular architects, solutions architects, application developers, UI designers, middleware developers, and testing resources.

This team worked closely with the company’s product owners and business users to ensure a quality solution from the beginning. They worked side-by-side with business stakeholders to not only modernize the technical aspects of the solution but also improve the efficiency and usability of the application. Together they aligned and optimized business processes, ensuring that each country could utilize the core platform while also being able to implement regional customizations.

The Lightwell Application Development team designed a modern application stack that utilized Google’s Angular Single Page Application Framework, RxJS reactive extensions, Redux state container, .NET core services framework, and SQL Server database. They collaborated with the internal architecture teams to build a modern application development framework that could be reused by other internal teams.

Lightwell also assisted the company and its design firm in the process of optimizing the dealer UI, incorporating User Experience (UX) work, style and branding guidelines into the solution.

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Throughout the process, Lightwell documented and trained the company’s team members on usage patterns and best practices. They also led training sessions for the client’s internal development resources and mentored them as they worked in conjunction with the Lightwell team.

Few, if any, long-term projects can be completed without challenges along the way, and this one was no exception. When a number of major challenges arose—including changing IT leadership, encountering more technical debt that was originally expected, and changing business requirements—Lightwell approached these challenges as a true partner would, responding to each issue with innovative solutions and guidance.

For example:

  • When one of the company’s partner’s offshore teams was struggling to meet the quality standards, Lightwell resources implemented a more rigorous code review and training policy for the team.
  • When large amounts of technical debt were found in the existing services, Lightwell resources rewrote the legacy services into a modern series of RESTful implementations
  • When performance issues arose, Lightwell engineers triaged and improved the speed and stability of the solution.

Furthermore, as culture is such a critical component of effective change, the Lightwell team helped shift the culture to embrace the agile tenets of iterative design and improvement. The client learned to embrace the iterative approach and move away from waterfall-style application development.

Results

Teamwork

Over nearly three years, Lightwell led a team of over 50 people on the project, providing all of the architecture, design, and development services needed to create the optimal solution. The final solution:

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Was rolled out to over 500 dealers across 4 countries, with over 12,000 total users

 

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Involved rewriting 150+ screens into a single, multi-tenant solution

 

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Consisted of 48, 3-week sprints and included almost 3000 story points of functionality

 

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Included over 70 web services

 

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Involved writing over 200,000 lines of Typescript code and almost 100,000 lines of C# code

 

This was the first agile development project the automotive finance leader had ever embarked upon, and this became the largest project they had ever successfully completed.

The company is continuing to reap the benefits of the new solution, as is its dealer network. The true teamwork and collaboration between Lightwell and the company were keys to success—and laid the foundation for the success of future initiatives as well.

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Lightwell's Application Development Services

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Our team is made up of experienced DevOps, Enterprise Architecture and Cloud professionals. By working with us, you’re working with experts that can help you meet a wide range of needs including:

  • Application Strategy and Advisory 
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  • Application Modernization
  • Cloud Transformation and Cloud-Native Development
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  • DevOps Enablement and Transformation
  • UX and UI Services
  • Mobile and Web Application Development
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