South Staffs Water PLC

We worked with South Staffs Water to deliver a new self service portal that provides a better experience for their customers.

Business challenges…

  • Allow customers to self-serve.

  • Give customers confidence through providing a positive online experience.

  • Improve performance against regulatory KPIs.

Technical challenges…

  • A way for customers to interact with a complex proprietary backend system.

  • Complex business logic.

  • A fault tolerant system capable of handling significant peaks in traffic.

“Razor’s design, development and implementation expertise and experience was fundamental to the success of our project.”

Dharmender Rai - IT Project Manager, South Staffordshire Plc

    • Workshops

      We conducted a number of stakeholder workshops in order to capture and validate complex functional and technical requirements and co-create solutions.

    • Technical investigations

      We carried out technical investigations into existing systems and potential new software to be included as part of the solution.

    • User story mapping

      We developed user story maps as way to visualise our shared understanding of the solution.

    • Technical architecture

      We created an architecture that was applicable for the internal infrastructure leveraging the latest technology to reduce load and minimise security attack vectors.

    • Project approach

      We devised an approach that balanced robust governance to manage the large and complex stakeholder relationship with flexibility for continual improvement and efficient delivery.

    • Prototypes

      We created functional and technical prototypes including wireframes and technical integration code spikes to test the complex integrations early in the project.

    • Security, PCI DSS & hosting consultancy

      We advised on the best approach to reduce attack vectors and social engineering attacks, and worked closely with a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) to develop a more effective security position.

    • Umbraco

      We selected Umbraco to provide a content management facility. Umbraco was selected as it allowed the user experience designers to specify the interface, while providing the flexibility to integrate with custom elements of the application.

    • Bespoke ‘My Account’ application

      We developed a bespoke ‘My Account’ application, into which we baked all of the necessary business logic required to complete each process.

    • Performance testing and tuning

      We conducted performance testing prior to launch to ensure that the system could scale up to cope with high loads, and to prove that our circuit breaker architecture worked when we pushed the external systems to breaking point.

    • Support & maintenance

      We provide ongoing support and maintenance in order to maintain a continued high standard of service.

    • Integration of 8 systems

      We integrated the bespoke application with 8 other systems:

      • Rapid (proprietary billing system)
      • BT Thistle Payments
      • Arc GIS
      • Umbraco
      • eGain – Knowledge base, case base reasoning and chat systems
      • Proprietary file interoperations for reconciliation and validation
      • AFD Address validation
      • Custom incidents system
    • Circuit breaker

      We applied our circuit breaker framework to ensure that third party system issues caused by high load didn’t affect the rest of the application.

    • Built to specified standards

      We built the system to all necessary security standards and validated its resilience through our internal security testing.

    • Externally validated by a third party

      The system was penetration tested by a QSA who confirmed that it was compliant.

“If we experienced any issues, Razor’s ‘whatever it takes’ and ‘can-do’ attitude made all the difference and got us through some difficult patches.

Projects become easier to execute, changes become easier to implement and problems become easier to solve with these guys on your team.”

Dharmender Rai - IT Project Manager, South Staffordshire Plc

A recap of the challenges…

Business challenges:

  • Allow customers to self-serve.

  • Give customers confidence through providing a positive online experience.

  • Improve performance against regulatory KPIs.

Technical challenges:

  • A way for customers to interact with a complex proprietary backend system.

  • Complex business logic.

  • A fault tolerant system capable of handling significant peaks in traffic.

So, what results did we achieve?

200% Increase of functionality available online
10 hours soak test with 75% Of responses within acceptable time frames
4 Issues raised in the first three months after launch (all low priority)
96% Increase in system availability
4 × As many systems integrated
Able to cope with > 3000 Concurrent users per instance @ 30 requests per min
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