The “buzz” about Basel…

Sep 15th, 2020

In the banking domain, the Basel Accords provide recommendations to banks globally on banking regulations, specifically concerning capital, credit, market and operational risk. Set by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the Accords (Basel I, II and III) ensure that financial institutions have enough capital on account to absorb unexpected losses.

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Location, location, location – The benefits of utilising local cloud data centres

Aug 28th, 2020

Where are your cloud data centres located?

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How gender diversity makes financial sense for tech firms in 2020

Aug 11th, 2020

Increasing the percentage of women in the tech landscape, and more importantly, increasing the number of women leading in that tech world, can improve the prospects of tech firms in all these key areas.

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The art of accelerating your systems

Jul 31st, 2020

After so many years in the industry, you start to notice trends in what your clients are looking for. BBD found that consistently, their clients were looking to quickly integrate disparate systems, save costs and have the flexibility to scale up or down as business needs required. Clients want simplified architecture, integrated functionality, synchronised operations and happy customers.

Ripping and replacing legacy systems not only carries a negative connotation, but the realities of such projects are that they are costly, take time to implement, lose momentum over the duration and are prone to scope and budget creep. Because of this, projects of this nature often fail.

Vanguard was borne from this collective need to quickly implement solutions which offer sustained and real business value, without the risks of ripping and replacing working engines where not necessary. These underlying legacy product systems require a slower pace of change when compared to the front-end channels where customers have a much higher expectation of service and a higher rate of change. As an international software development firm, this vertical approach gives BBD’s enterprise clients the ability to rapidly service customers in new and exciting ways.

As their core business automation, case management, integration and workflow framework, Vanguard uses specific design patterns and approaches to meet the needs described above, while maintaining system integrity and quickly allowing BBD’s clients to meet changing market needs.

“At the heart of this framework lies powerful and customisable capabilities, or building blocks, that allow us to adapt the framework to each business and their omni-channel strategy. It is these building blocks that give us the ability to successfully implement the solution across numerous industries” explains Andre de Witt, executive and member of BBD’s strategic leadership team.

Streicher Stegmann, an executive and technical lead at BBD adds that “As with all BBD IP, we’ve taken a dynamic and fluid approach to Vanguard – developing and extending the capabilities as technologies evolve.” He reveals one such example is where Vanguard’s workflow and orchestration capabilities were reimplemented and enhanced using cloud technologies.

So what can Vanguard do?

In a nutshell, Vanguard can automate businesses and facilitate the enhancement and advancement of systems through:

  • Seamless digital delivery to customers
  • An integrated and intuitive ability for self-service
  • Consistent customer experiences across lifecycle
  • A human-centric approach to services
  • An inherent and essential ability in systems for adaptability, flexibility and speed

Meeting customers with good service

Leveraging the depth of their industry experience has allowed BBD to tap into market needs and best understand what enterprise clients are looking for. De Witt points out that as customers around the world steadily grow to expect seamless digital experiences, organisations have to evolve to attain and maintain a competitive advantage. This is where Vanguard really comes into play.

With cost saving and efficiency just the ticket to the digital transformation game, customers are placing a high value on service when making decision, meaning that good, human-centric service is essential in today’s digital products and services. This is not just in the initial sale or interaction, but also in how quickly inevitable issues can be resolved. Through its capabilities, the Vanguard framework automates processes, meaning that servicing staff are able to focus on value-adding activities and exception handling, while the system provides a consistent, secure and personable customer experience. “By allowing customers to feel valued and heard, we help increase customer satisfaction while arming organisations with holistic data and speedy issue resolution” reiterates Stegmann.

When is Vanguard the answer?

De Witt notes that when chatting about Vanguard, BBD is often posed the question: How do I know if Vanguard will work for my business? If nodding along to any of these questions, then the answer is Vanguard.

  • Are your customers looking for speed and efficiency that your current product delivery cannot meet?
  • Is your system architecture overly complex?
  • Are your system disparate, inflexible and not Agile?
  • Do you have a greenfields solution that requires a complex compilation of solutions?
  • Do you need a common front-end that consolidates data processes from multiple back-end systems?
  • Does your process include multiple actions, various systems and many users for each client interaction?

But does it work?

Yes. Vanguard has been successfully implemented across various industries and will continue to scale and balance workloads as these projects need it to. Stegmann knows facts mean more than them just saying it does, so:

  • For a new digital bank, BBD built an end-to-end service capability in 3 months while facilitating new customer onboarding in under 5 minutes
  • For a large services business, Vanguard creates over 145 000 cases, averages more than 300 000 workflow step transactions and handles tens of thousands of attachments on average per day
  • For a border control agency, Vanguard facilitated a full travel permit application-to-delivery process that increased turnaround from months to days
  • For a revenue service, with Vanguard, BBD enables more than 8 500 users across 98 offices

What about the tech stack?

Stegmann explains that the Vanguard framework comes with a diverse technology stack that is powered using a containerised, microservice-based architecture that is cloud-ready and built on open standards using modern tech approaches.

The stack includes Angular 8+ SPA or WPF and .Net UI framework. It is IdentityServer4, .Net Core, OAuth 2.0, OpenID Connect compliant and has a Python 3 service and orchestration layer. Vanguard has an extensible UI for bespoke modern integration and is database and cloud agnostic.

Vanguard rapidly accelerates business growth, efficiency and delivery through customisable, flexible capabilities. It artfully integrates and synchronises processes while allowing businesses to adapt and scale at speed. If you’re interested in learning a little more about Vanguard and what it can do, watch BBD’s demo at:

BBD achieves level 1 B-BBEE status

Jun 30th, 2020

Leading software development firm, BBD, has achieved a level 1 broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) contributor score as they continue to deliver on an energetic transformation strategy.

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So you want to conquer Mount Technical Debt?

Jun 24th, 2020

Many successful companies have crippled under the mountain of debt they have incurred. But it’s not traditional monetary debt. We’re talking about technical and legacy debt. This ambiguous term shares many similarities with the all-too-well-known traditional debt and, just like borrowing money from the bank, unless you are aware of it and have an actionable plan to pay it back relatively soon, you’ll eventually land up repaying the costs incurred with interest – and interest isn’t cheap.

If you’re wondering if this is knocking at your door, or know it is and are unsure of what do – BBD, as a software development specialist firm, can help you conquer the mountain.

What is technical debt and what causes it?

“Technical debt, also known as design or code debt, is a metaphor for the ‘cost’ incurred by a business on future development when software is either produced sub-optimally and very rapidly to satisfy customer needs, or is simply no longer effective,” explains Tony van der Linden, BBD’s head of the Research and Development team. He goes on to say that the term is often used to describe several underlying reasons for maintainability decreasing over time. These include concepts such as modularity, reusability, analysability, modifiability and testability.

“In a perfect world, you would have all the time to design and develop new applications and functionality, but chances are this is not the case. We live in a world that is dominated by fast-evolving technology, where keeping up to date is a matter of necessity more than luxury.”

New ways of working allow us to respond to change and deliver constant value. At this pace, the need to focus on quality control is vital to limit inadvertently allowing technical debt to increase. Van der Linden explains that it’s in this space of rapid development you often find a prerequisite to provide upfront mitigations and to plan for the occurrence of technical debt and overall maturity level as they are related to production readiness. SRE capabilities and prompt technical debt payback are advised to deal with the potential debt before it solidifies.

Perhaps you are under time pressure to release certain features to market and can hold off on others, or perhaps necessary shortcuts were taken to allow for your product to enter the market first. “Eventually, additional work will be required to complete or redo development in future, ultimately resulting in further expenditure.” This means that your technical debt would accumulate from this point onward and could scale out of control if proper planning is not put in place prior.

However, a quick turnaround time isn’t the only cause of technical debt. Some other causes include:

  • Modules that are written in technology that have become outdated. These modules will often need improvements that eventually cannot be made on outdated technologies, or will become more time (and resource) intensive to upgrade
  • Not partnering with the right company who do not follow development standards and best practices, resulting in rework
  • Software licenses that expire. If the software is not regularly updated, future costs will be inevitable due to software weaknesses and critical bug fixes down the line
  • Inhouse outdated skillsets due to technology progressing at a rapid pace
  • Ageing hardware and infrastructure

When it comes to the careful balancing act between delivering quickly and producing sustainable solutions, BBD has your business covered. With 35 years’ experience in the software development space, our ultimate goal is to empower your business through innovative technical solutions. BBD’s knowledge of industry-standard best practices and using the right methodology for your entity, ensure our teams are equipped to respond to scope and project changes accurately in order to avoid potential downfall later. With IT specialists constantly developing their skills, BBD ensures that we stay at the top of our game and future tech developments. “We believe that each unique project landscape requires a unique solution and often there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach” states van der Linden.

BBD’s guide to tackling Mount Technical Debt

It’s important to note that technical debt is not necessarily a bad thing when managed correctly, however, unmanaged technical debt is. “Not knowing what you’re getting yourself into, or simply letting your technical debt grow beyond the ability to recover, will get you into trouble. Quickly.”

With that in mind, here’s BBD’s guide to tackling technical debt:

Step 1: Know the altitude of your debt

“The first step is to spend some time understanding how much technical debt your organisation is in and the time you will need to get on top of it.” This can be achieved through assessments on your company or to find out what is still outstanding that needs to be optimised and how long it will take to fix.

This is often easier said than done and, is often easier with someone to help guide you along the way. “One of BBD’s offerings is to run a technical health assessment to accurately assess your software and hardware set up. This allows us to fully understand your position and put together the perfect expert consultants that can help you strategise a workable solution going forward.”

Step 2: Align and conquer

Once you fully understand the extent of your technical debt, you have various options available on how to start moving towards reducing this debt. Van der Linden explains that some of these strategies include:

  • Prioritisation, starting with the high priority debt items first – a technical triage if you will. This will allow you to get the important items out the way first, so that you are not caught off guard when the matters become even more pressing
  • Fixing the code that will be quickest to fix. Sometimes starting with the quickest fixes allow you to wean out the smaller hurdles, so you can focus your time and effort on the bigger challenges without interruptions
  • Updating any outdated software and/ or hardware, as well as streamlining processes to remove the need for dependency on old platforms and/ or applications that form part of your technical debt
  • If you are using an Agile methodology, consider adding all technical debt items to the product backlog
  • If your technical debt is future-based, identifying this early and addressing these concerns upfront with a calculated plan will allow for minimal impact down the line

The key to technical debt success is building an effective business strategy to align to. Using the correct technology and technical architecture to realise your business strategy is BBD’s forte. Based on the information gathered throughout your system’s technical health assessment, BBD works with you to devise a digital strategy that harnesses the power of emerging and existing technology to help you get the best out of your business, realise your business strategy, and get a handle on your technical debt.

Step 3: Hook the anchor and adjust the rope

Technical debt comes in all forms and shapes, from outdated software and processes, to badly written and unmaintained code. “The irony is that technical debt is often caused by the ever-evolving nature of technology and the need to keep your competitive edge alive. The challenge is to balance the debt with the necessity to keep your software current.” It is important to remember that ignoring technical debt will not make it go away but rather end up costing you even more in the future.

The goal is to minimise technical debt early on so that you can reduce risk, improve time-to-market and deliver best-in-class results in today’s competitive economy. Van der Linden concludes by stating that “the best way to reduce the effects of technical debt in future projects is to include it in the discussion early on. Not only will you be able to account for the impact it is going to make in the short term, but also create an efficient and reliable plan to pay it off from the get-go.” Remember, just like financial debt, technical debt gets more expensive the longer you have it. So the quicker you can ‘pay’ it off, the less debt you would have incurred.

If you’re dealing with large technical debt, would like to rid your organisation of inefficient processes, technology and mindsets, or are planning future developments and want to plan accordingly, BBD can help you summit the mountain ahead of you, instead of rolling in an inevitable avalanche.

Normalising the digital – the beginner’s guide to DX

May 21st, 2020

Digital transformation or DX is a term that strikes fear into the hearts of CEOs everywhere when forced to reassess the future of their businesses.

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BBD’s 6 tips to a strong distributed development culture

May 8th, 2020

With teams across Bulgaria, Cyprus, India, Netherlands, Poland, South Africa and the United Kingdom, BBD, a custom software development company, deeply understands the necessity for developing a culture that both adapts and thrives across distributed teams.

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BBD’s best tools for distributed development

Apr 24th, 2020

Knowing which tools and methodologies are best suited to your project environment has become its own art form.

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BBD’s fundamentals of distributed development

Apr 14th, 2020

Distributed development is not a typical company structure. BBD, a custom software development company with an international footprint, has been moving away from traditional work structures over the last 15 years and is now operating a mature and successful distributed development model.

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