Software development company DVT has developed a mobile app for Glacier by Sanlam, a financial services offering that helps affluent clients build and preserve their wealth. Glacier brought DVT on board to develop the app in February 2012 and it was built in six-months, including all the mobile and back-end services. The app is available from Google Play for Android and from the iTunes Store for iOS platforms.

Glacier brings together niche experts and financial services companies to meet the financial needs of affluent clients. It offers local and international investments, saving for retirement and income during retirement, stock broking, short- and long-term insurance, estate planning, wills and trusts.
The app gives clients and intermediaries a window into the financial world through Glacier. In addition to providing intermediaries access to information on their clients’ portfolios and daily fund fact sheets, it also gives clients access to financial news from News 24, Bloomberg, Business Day and others.

“Glacier asked us to develop a mobile application that could be used by clients, intermediaries and staff on Android smartphones, Android tablets, iPads and iPhones,” says Johan Pieters, manager, enterprise mobile solutions at DVT. “The mobile application had to align with Glacier’s corporate identity including look and feel, logos, and colour schemes. It also had to enable users to access fund information, publications and client investment portfolios.”

“Glacier’s philosophy is to ensure it has partners who are able to deliver best practice and in turn develop world class solutions,” says Samkelo Zwane, investment product manager, business solutions, at Glacier. “Considering the market and future growth, DVT proposed a strategy to develop both for Apple IOS and Android using a shared development platform which suited Glacier’s vision. Both teams were equally willing to invest in the venture and it proved to be a successful learning curve for us.”

DVT is experienced at software development and solutions integration and has for the last year been specifically skilling up on mobile solutions development. The company has delivered native iOS, Android and Blackberry solutions as well as solutions using cross platform frameworks.

The Glacier application was developed using PhoneGap, an open source framework which allows developers to easily create apps on a variety of different mobile platforms, and the Sencha Touch HTML5 mobile application framework. The project was delivered using an agile approach with short delivery cycles and regular client interaction.

“DVT was supportive and was always willing to accept changes that improved the end product,” says Zwane. “Due to the agile nature of the project, Glacier was able to make numerous changes to the product. DVT provided ongoing technical insight and when we were unable to solve an issue, they would research and present alternatives.

The Glacier team were keen to try to create a solution with a single code base to service the two relevant mobile platforms, with the possibility of expanding to other mobile platforms later. “That’s why PhoneGap was an obvious choice,” says Pieters.

The app offers both public and secure access. Simultaneously, it provides any new potential client or an existing client with access to information about Glacier along with the latest news and publications. Due to the design of the App, certain information can be downloaded and accessed locally, providing users with offline access to information.

“We are the first linked investment service provider (LISP) to provide this functionality, and our aim is to monitor the usage, get feedback and decide how we can further enhance the product to be able to supply world class service,” says Zwane.