With 25 years of collective experience and over 1000 mortgage brokers across Australia, Aussie Home Loans (hereby referred to as Aussie) has established itself as a leader in the financial services industry with multiple awards, a testament to their ability to secure the best deal for their customers looking for home loans.
Aussie chose to engage Sourced in 2014 as its strategic partner in its effort to extend its digital capabilities and migrate off a six-year-old legacy content management platform on physical hardware with little to no redundancy. Aussie renewed its commitment to Sourced’s offering of Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) hosted on AWS with further innovative features developed to meet the business agility that Aussie aimed to achieve.
Fostering a collaborative multi-vendor ecosystem, Aussie succeeded in leveraging cutting-edge cloud services to provide up-to-date content on their website to their network of brokers and to everyday Australians.
In June 2017, Aussie and Sourced worked together to further optimise the AEM offering by addressing specific challenges that the business was experiencing at the time. While the service was outperforming its availability and resiliency targets, the business was looking to significantly increase its business productivity in terms of go-to-market velocity, decrease the hours invested by the developer team in content release activities and lower the risk of releases.
The Sourced Solution
Sourced has continuously leveraged its industry experience, the latest cloud technologies and outcome-driven innovative ideas to lower the bar of entry for customers seeking to leverage AEM in a scalable manner. Sourced has proven delivery capabilities using a DevOps model with agile project management prioritising features and service enhancements based on client priorities.
The AEM service that Sourced provides to Aussie leverages DevOps principles to ensure an Enterprise-grade secure platform; these principles are listed below:
- Infrastructure-as-code to ensure consistent and repeatable outcomes whenever a production-like environment is spun up to test content release;
- Auto-healing components to reduce service restore time and operational overheads;
- Highly available auto-scaling web tier across multiple availability zones with dynamic capacity;
- Multi-region deployment allowing failover to secondary region to minimise brand impact in case of a region-wide outage;
- Multi-year backup data retention with restore process tested and validated during each environment build or new release;
- Content delivery optimisation using CloudFront to serve content from edge locations nearest to the customer;
- Threat mitigation via Shield and Web Application Firewall (WAF) for both Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and malicious payloads.
According to Aussie’s senior web developer, Nick Van Doninck, “a partnership with Sourced Group is about looking to the future. We are a small team and asked ourselves what we can do in the hosting as a managed service area that will make us industry leaders. The answer; to have a relationship that is extremely collaborative and focuses on our priorities as a company, which is to provide a client facing website that is highly available, cutting edge and risk averse. This can only be done by having a collaborative team environment that is based on research, design and outcome driven results to constantly improve our solution.”
Nick Van Doninck
Aussie was able to significantly increase the velocity of content releases while lowering the risk profile, infrastructure cost and developer effort required through the introduction of Sourced’s AEM blue-green deployment methodology. These benefits were achieved by enabling full stack testing before release date with immediate roll-back to a known consistent state.
Sourced also developed a proprietary process to allow synchronization between authors across the two distinct builds. This capability allowed Aussie developers to make changes to live content during release development and testing periods with the added benefit of minimal disruption for content authors during go-live cut-over. This on-demand production-like development experience increased the overall business confidence and risk appetite in the release process due to higher testing coverage, an immediate rollback option and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) due to the transient development infrastructure. Ash Jonceski, previous Aussie web development and design manager, stated that “we can actually spend more time focusing on the things that we are really good at, which are the things that impact the customer”.
Security conscience design was at the fore-front of this service since its inception due to Sourced’s specialist background in cloud deployments for high-regulated industries. Defined recovery pathways underpinned by secure storage has enabled multi-year backup retention for audit purposes, continuous restore validation and industry-standard encryption in-flight and at rest.
Return on Investment
Key to the project success was the value for money and the return on investment that Aussie achieved through this migration project. The innovation used by Sourced delivered tangible financial outcomes for our client; some of these are:
- By moving off physical hardware, Aussie was able to realise an 80% reduction in hosting fees;
- The Sourced AEM service enabled a 300% increase in go-to-market velocity for Aussie which allowed their digital team to capitalise much faster on business opportunities;
- To further reduce cost of traditional physical development environments used by Aussie, on-demand development environments are created and destroyed at will; these transient environments that simulate the Production deployment ensure that infrastructure cost is only incurred for the number of days it is required hence moving the organisation towards a true OpEx model.