How We Helped BlackHawk Network with Distributed Systems Unification and Integration 

# AWS infrastructure # Data migration # Fintech # Legacy Application Improvement
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Highlights

  • Enterprise-Grade Consolidated Platform Development: unified BlackHawk Network’s 8 different newly acquired eCommerce software platforms and added a large amount of diverse new functionality.
  • The Platform with 80+ Services: delivered custom functionality that includes an advanced reporting BI system with 40+ million records per day and 100+ supported report types.
  • Leveraged Consolidated System Architecture: created an opportunity for massive cost savings by streamlining processes, minimizing redundancy, and eliminating the need for additional resources for our client.
  • Conducted Data Migration and Reconciliation: used modern tools to move data of any complexity, while ensuring its integrity for a company with a $30 billion annual load value.

Client

BlackHawk Network Inc. (BHN) is a U.S.-headquartered, globally leading provider of branded payment technology solutions, whose history spans more than two decades. The company employs around 4,000 people and serves 28 countries. BHN has thousands of clients and partners, including such market leaders and iconic brands as Kroger, Simon, Disney, Staples, iTunes, BestBuy, Target, and eBay.

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Product

The product is a high-scaled, consolidated enterprise platform, as BlackHawk Network’s main market expansion strategy was to increase the volumes of their online gift card sales by expanding the company’s business reach and acquiring smaller companies working in this field, such as NimbleCommerсe and Cashstar.

Goals and objectives

  • Consolidate 8 Different eCommerce Software Assets: Connect into one single unified system the assets of acquired companies, each of which includes several different services like onboarding, accounting, finance, fraud detection, and risk management. These software assets must also be aligned with BHN’s primary business model.
  • Develop a Cost-Effective Solution: Reduce exceedingly high costs for required multi-platform support and the need to add any new features to the multiple software assets. The client also had to maintain a separate infrastructure for each of the platforms, which, in turn, entailed significant maintenance costs. Finally, the in-house data center support was quite costly too.
  • Modernize Legacy Systems: Optimize business processes and achieve maximum automation, as some of the legacy business processes remained manual.

Project challenge

  1. Disconnected User Experience: integrate different UI/UX and software architectures, since BHN and the client’s newly acquired eCommerce businesses had their software. Moreover, each eCommerce merchant had different onboarding, accounting, finance, fraud detection, risk management, and other software.
  2. Large Amount of Manual Work: automate the functionality of the new platform, since there was a large amount of manual work that caused delays and operational ineffectiveness. For example, BHN’s financial department of 10–20 employees had to extract data from one system, put it into Excel files, process these files, and then send them to another system.
  3. Logic Duplication: fix the logic duplication problemin the product catalog purchase flows, orders, and order management, as well as some other parts of the functionality.
  4. A Lack of Strategic Consolidated Knowledge: retrieve and combine data from multiple platforms to make report generation both time- and effort-effective, to reduce the constant risk of data corruption and loss that could result in financial and reputational losses.

Solution

To kick off the development, SPD Technology put together a total of 6 project teams that were split into two main groups. The first three teams were tasked with developing the core functionality of the client’s system, while the other three worked on an ecosystem that comprised more than 30 microservices.

Although the domain model was more than once modified during the implementation process, most of the time our project teams followed its initial main concept. They identified the critical data, prioritized the migration tasks, and provided timing and performance assumptions.

To achieve the project goals, we have developed a centralized console that is used to manage around a hundred connected services. We have also designed and integrated an advanced BI reporting system that provides millions of records per day and supports more than a hundred report types. This system constantly generates valuable information for data-driven insights.

In developing the solution, our project team fulfilled a spectrum of data-related tasks. They developed five ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) microservices for obtaining data from the client’s systems (including legacy ones) and transforming this data to fit the new domain model.

Besides, our experts developed four microservices for the monitoring of changes and updating of data across all the ecosystems and an array of financial reporting microservices.

The functionality our project teams have developed includes the functions that allow presenting information from across the entire system in the form of easy-to-understand business reports. These reports contain information on the overall progress, sales, and new clients.

To streamline and facilitate the client’s global customer management, our engineers created the Aggregated Merchant Portal (AMP) from scratch. This platform offers a wide range of functionality for the rapid onboarding of account-managed clients. It provides the full cycle of transaction decisioning and decline management, settlements, fraud control, and reporting. Furthermore, the Original Content platform also provides self-service portals for the onboarding of SMBs, administration, and consumer engagement.

In parallel with developing the new functionality, our experts were also engaged in maintaining the client’s legacy platform.

Tech Stack

Web Development
  • Java Web Development Java
  • Kotlin Web Development Kotlin
  • JavaScript Web Development JavaScript
  • TypeScript  Web Development TypeScript
  • Angular  Web Development Angular
  • Spring  Web Development Spring
  • Spring Boot  Web Development Spring Boot
  • GraphQL Web Development GraphQL
Infrastructure
  • Amazon AWS Infrastructure Amazon AWS
  • AWS Redshift  Infrastructure AWS Redshift
  • AWS Lambda Infrastructure AWS Lambda
  • AWS S3 Infrastructure AWS S3
  • AWS Athena  Infrastructure AWS Athena
  • AWS Elastic Search Infrastructure AWS Elastic Search
  • AWS SNS Infrastructure AWS SNS
  • AWS SQS Infrastructure AWS SQS
  • AWS Kinesis Infrastructure AWS Kinesis
  • Kubernetes Infrastructure Kubernetes

Our results

We accomplished set goals and efficiently supported the client’s strategic and extremely complex business expansion, making it as smooth and productive as possible.

  1. Restructured Mission-Critical Business Systems: our team delivered a custom consolidated platform without any business disruption for the industry-leading company with 37,000+ corporate and government partners. 
  2. Successful Data Migration: we have migrated data of varying complexity from the client’s less efficient platforms with the help of proprietary data migration and reconciliation tools. 
  3. $200,000 Per Month in Operational Savings: replacing the legacy systems with a new consolidated platform has created significant savings for the client, reducing server, database, and tech staff support expenses. 
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