Mobile ate the world of Marketing

The client

London School of Marketing is a leading educational institution offering accredited marketing and business qualifications in the heart of London.

The brief

London School of Marketing needed to replace its existing monolithic system with a rapid innovation platform that allowed them to roll out new features quickly.

The design principles

  • Mobile first: The new platform feels like a native app on any device.
  • Cloud-based: The platform leverages the benefits of cloud - continuous smooth delivery of new features, global availability, seamless scalability - while delivering measurable outcomes.
  • High performance: The platform scales with the client’s business while remaining lightning-fast for users.
The challenges The solution The results  
A monolithic legacy system. A cloud-based microservices architecture. A new system that fulfils the client’s requirement for quick agile data delivery and delivers a seamless transition from the old to the new system.  
Tight project time frame: 12 weeks. “nearForm’s innovative delivery architect (DA) role combines tech expertise with project management and people skills. The DA is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the project up to delivery including schedules. A key factor in adherence to schedules is the weekly project demo. At this demo problems are addressed during development and improvements are made instantly.” Because problems are nipped in the bud during development they don’t get serious enough to disrupt the schedule. The project was delivered right on schedule.  
Geographically distributed project team: six countries 10.5 hours of timezone spread. The DA manages information flows and maintains productive relations between all team members. Cloud-based communication tools - such as GitHub and Slack - overcome the time zone issue. Weekly demos keep everyone honest and up to speed on the status of all parts of the project. Physical location is irrelevant. The team works together in a unified coordinated manner.  
Multi-organizational project team: nearForm client and third-party provider. As above. The DA is responsible for managing communication between all parties. All parties in the project team worked together as a single unit.  

nearForm is …

  • Transforming the way that software is built. We want software to actually work.
  • Putting the engineering back into software engineering. We use mathematical models and effective measurement, and create a sound architecture before coding.
  • Dedicated to evidence-based execution. We implement the highest level of engineering discipline.
  • Making distributed teams work. nearForm picks the world’s best developers, regardless of where they live. We appoint an delivery architect (DA) who keeps the distributed team on track, and we run weekly project demos that keep everyone honest, highlight issues during development, and allow improvements to be made instantly.

The bottom line

A modern, agile, ultra-usable online education platform that can quickly and easily adapt to business growth, changing markets and new business drivers, while continuously delivering new features to customers.

The key technologies

  • Microservices: Microservices are small, independent blocks of software code that do one thing, and do it well. Microservices at nearForm are used to create large, complex, flexible and scalable applications.
  • Node.js: Node.js is an open source, cross-platform runtime environment for server-side and networking applications. nearForm was an early adopter of Node.js. Its staff includes some of the world’s acknowledged Node.js thought leaders. The company runs the annual NodeConfEU conference, Europe’s only dedicated Node.js conference.

Quote

Paul Penman, chief executive officer, London School of Marketing:

“nearForm delivered a world-class platform for our business. We and our customers are delighted with the result.”

nearForm:

“The geographically distributed nature of this project team made traditional software project management approaches impractical. We overcame this challenge by focussing on sound engineering, deep initial design, and a microservices architecture that matched the nature of the remote team.”

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