Architecture Discovery Identifies Platform to Address Client Requirements

The client is a global biopharmaceutical company—with more than $4B USD annual revenue—that produces medical products focusing on neurology and immunology. The client’s affiliates are located around the globe to support products in local markets.

Business Challenge

Over the years, the company’s divisions have created more than 100 websites dedicated to individual products, company affiliates, and product support campaigns. The majority of the client owned websites were developed without a centralized strategy or technological approach. Each department used different approaches (outsourcing, internal team development), different technologies (PHP, .NET, and Java), and platforms (Drupal 7, WordPress and others).

As a result of the different approaches, it was difficult for the client to gain efficiencies in time to market, implementation costs, maintenance costs, and overall quality of the existing websites. This led to the client’s decision to streamline its website development approach and improve their overall stance in these areas.

Additional business challenges with website migration and platform development included specific industry and business governance limitations. As part of platform unification, the client decided to improve the technical and business constraints—work with the PHI/PII data, site isolation and control, standardize content review and publishing process, administrative personnel usability, and security improvements (SSO, UX). The new platform would need to integrate with the newly created secure infrastructure platform— implemented by the client—to host all public facing sensitive applications.

Project Description

The SoftServe team managed the discovery project, which focused on two primary streams:

  • Architectural discovery and design for the platform and website migration.
  • Analysis of the scope and definition of requirements for the pilot site’s migration and a high-level analysis of the website portfolio.

Architectural discovery was executed using SoftServe’s proprietary methodology based on the Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Attribute-Driven Design (ADD) technique by a team of three architects:

  • Senior Solutions Architect – generalist responsible for overall project execution and coordination of the discovery team.
  • Web CMS Architect – subject matter expert in the CMS system considered for the platform implementation.
  • DevOps Architect – subject matter expert in the operation of the solution including development lifecycle practices like CI/CD and Azure—the operational platform of choice.

The project was completed over a five-week period.

Week 1 – the first week was spent analyzing the provided requirements and technical documentation. The agenda and scope were also finalized following calls with the main stakeholders.

Week 2 and 3 – during this two-week period a series of onsite meetings, interviews, and brainstorm sessions with business and technical personnel were conducted.

Week 4 and 5 – the final two weeks of the assessment were dedicated to finalizing the deliverables, presenting the results, and hosting follow-up clarification meetings with the departments affected by or participating in the platform development and approval process.

Value Delivered

SoftServe successfully completed the discovery project and provided a comprehensive description of the platform needed to address the client’s business and quality requirements. The proposed approach built the platform based on the CMS distribution model and containerization technology for individual site isolation and better operational efficiency. This approach fully met organizational security requirements and fit the internally built secure operational environment.

A set of new technologies was also introduced to achieve better control over site levels and improve resource efficiency of the underlying computational resources. The team proposed a standardized approach to work with PHI/PII data on public facing business sites, address security concerns, and potentially provide additional business opportunities for the client by centralizing information for analytical and exploration purposes.

As a result, the client decided to use the proposed approach to implement a set of pilot sites as a short-term goal. After validation, all existing portfolios would be migrated to the new platform.

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