by Poojitha Jayadevan

DSP Mutual Fund modernises legacy apps to enhance CX

Nov 04, 2019
Application SecurityBusiness ContinuityCloud Computing

How DSP Mutual Fund built connected enterprise apps with microservices architecture to transform into a true digital asset management company.

Ashish Bajaj, CTO, DSP Mutual Funds
Credit: Headshot of Ashish Bajaj provided by DSP Mutual Funds

Today’s competitive marketplace demands companies of all sizes to encompass a flexible and agile IT Infra that can adapt to new trends and market conditions. 

As the demand for real-time solutions for customers accessing the company’s information through apps, social and website rises, organizations have to ensure that they have engaging and personalized solutions for its diverse set of customers, including millennials. 

It’s relatively simpler for ‘born in the cloud’ start-ups to tweak their IT infra, but legacy companies find it a tad difficult for their age-old applications to keep pace with this rapidly evolving customer demand. 

Nevertheless, companies with legacy or decades-old apps have no choice but to join the bandwagon to transform to the modern IT infra through modernization of apps. 

India- based DSP Mutual Fund needed to transform its decade-old business software applications in this era of new-age start-ups in the financial services space. 

The premier asset management company DSP Mutual Funds with a large number of customers across India for its services is part of a 152-year-old Indian financial firm. 

DSP Mutual Funds’ transformation led by Ashish Bajaj – Chief Technology Officer at DSP Mutual Fund started with identifying the problems it faced with its longstanding business applications. 

Ashish Bajaj, CTO, DSP Mutual Funds Headshot of Ashish Bajaj provided by DSP Mutual Funds

Digital transformation mandates agility with cultural change. The microservices architecture, common data, and data ownership are well defined which in-turn helps expedite the adoption of changes required during various phases of the enterprise applications development. 

Ashish Bajaj, CTO, DSP Mutual Funds

With its rigid legacy software designs, the company faced every disadvantage that monolithic architecture had to offer– inefficient use of data management, pending enhancement backlogs, inflexible architecture and arduous integration with applications ecosystem, to name a few.

The traditional monolithic systems aren’t built to offer companies its competitive advantage. The tightly coupled architecture makes it difficult to make the smallest change without impacting the whole architecture, with the possibility or the fear of bringing the entire system down. This characteristic of monolithic architecture hinders the organization deliver quick response and personalized solutions.

To overcome these challenges, the team led by Ashish, decided to leave its monolithic architecture behind and implement microservices-based systems to modernize age-old business applications.

Microservices architecture provides a platform with interdependent applications that are developed and maintained separately. It breaks down large tasks into simple processes that communicate with each other only through assigned APIs. 

The team at DSP believed that with the advent of microservices architecture, the challenges could be resolved effectively as microservices offers the benefits of faster delivery, scalability, personalized and enhance customer experience.

Ashish explains why microservices was the best possible solution for DSP, “A loosely coupled design ensures that the changes in architecture were contained to a smaller unit instead of having a system-wide impact. And so is the ability to independently deploy a module without bringing down the entire app.”

– Ashish Bajaj, CTO, DSP Mutual Funds

Keeping a holistic view of interoperability and reusability, the app modernization journey modelling into building a ‘Microservices Farm’ – enhances the pace of deliverables along with standardization. However, the biggest concern to implementation of microservices is the right segregation of data and a clearly defined data ownership.

Abstracting data is critical to ensure that the external world has access only through predefined integration touchpoints. As a proposed solution, data is being replicated across all dependent microservices, keeping in sync with the golden source of data. 

The common reusable data and business logic between two main applications – compliance and operation – were identified to enhance competence at DSP. The applications were then broken down into multiple microservices and redundancy built using messaging queue. 

The custodian of microservices broadcast is more than often backed by an open-source software that helps maintain consistency. Kubernetes orchestrates flexibility of the architecture and effective response to spike in user sessions, according to him.

In addition to cloud-based microservices, the in-house development team at DSP embraced several open source technologies to support the process of modernizing business applications. These include building responsive web applications and API framework using various open-source software, JavaScript libraries, and data management systems.

Journey to Digitization: Benefits Continue  

The journey towards modernizing age-old applications wasn’t an overnight one, but an ongoing one. 

To start with, a new product development team comprising of number of full-stack and backend developers were built. The team is being led by a technical architect, with subject matter experts also being part of the development team. Internal IT infrastructure resources were trained to build a redundant infra using Kubernetes on a public cloud.

 Ashish says, “Digital transformation mandates the agility with cultural change. With the microservices architecture, common data and data ownership are well defined. This in-turn helps expedite the adoption of changes required during various phases of the enterprise applications development.”

“Building connected enterprise applications and its usage has inculcated a cultural mind-set change to let technology partner with business function to collaborate, impact the bottom line and save time,” he says. 

The approach towards simplifying processes also seems to change – from the old school method of rebuilding applications, business users are now re-engineering processes, saving both time and money. 

Ashish believes that the most important step to a successful digital transformation strategy and its execution is being open to change.

“These initiatives and execution is changing our team’s mindset, and help us become a true digital asset management company,” he adds.