With more than 180 people in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Argentina, Information Tools (Infotools) provides data research tools and analysis for Fortune 500 companies, simplifying market research data consumed by these organisations.
Infotools’ core applications were produced in 1990, with software evolving over three decades to lead the industry in market research data visualisation.
Desktop application Harmoni is Infotools’ original flagship product, used by enterprises worldwide including Coca Cola, British American Tobacco, Anheuser-Busch and many more.
While this application is modernised, its licensing backend remained on legacy technology, creating technical debt and restricting Infotools from moving into the present, and preparing for the future.
“Our industry is evolving and so is our needs to consume applications that speak to our customer demands,” says John Mitchell, ICT Director at Information Tools, explaining why modernisation is necessary.
With the licensing application so old that it could not run on Windows 10, it was also noted as buggy. Finally, Infotools had no in-house capability to remedy or rewrite the application.
This backend plays a crucial role in the company’s revenue model: it equips licensing admins to check, renew and create licenses for thousands of users worldwide using Harmoni.
Lancom has partnered with Infotools since 2002, assisting it with the move from locally installed desktop applications to cloud-enabled web applications. Says Mitchell: “Lancom has assisted us to stay current by modernising our core application, moving us from a desktop deployment to a cloud enabled solution.”
As a result, Lancom was the first port of call to rewrite the licensing application; an understanding of the importance of task was crucial, as the upgrade had to take place without any interruption to or impact on thousands of licenses active for Infotools customers worldwide.
Lancom undertook the project from discovery to implementation and post implementation support. The rewrite to a modern web application used Angular, C# .Net and SQL Server as a full stack, leveraging the Microsoft Graph API to interact with Infotools’ Office 365 tenancy for productivity interactions (in other words, making it easy to use the licensing application in conjunction with Office 365 programmes, including Outlook).
To achieve zero disruption, Lancom created an intermediary service maintaining existing licensing interactions, while migrating the backend from legacy to the modern application.
Thanks to Lancom’s expertise in redeveloping legacy applications and moving them into the cloud, Infotools’ licensing administrators now work with a modern web application accessible any device. This substantially boosts productivity on a crucial business function, equipping administrators to address licensing issues ‘on the go’.
The web architecture also means more individuals can concurrently access the licensing application, which wasn’t previously possible. This improves customer service, with multiple representatives able to work with customers on licensing issues simultaneously.
A further indirect productivity benefit is that the rewrite has facilitated a long-overdue upgrade to the Windows 10 operating system, allowing retirement of out-of-support platforms. This delivers an improved work experience, while also eliminating a potential risk to the business.
Mitchell says the project was an obvious success. “Lancom’s software development skills, combined with DevOps and infrastructure architecture capabilities, give us peace of mind that we are future-proofing our technology.”