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The Challenge

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.

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.

Requirements

  • 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

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.

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.

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.

Hymans Robertson API Solution Architecture Blueprint

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.

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.

The DevOps processess that were configured inside Azure DevOps 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.

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.