By Neil Boddy, DevOps Director EMEA, Technology, Link Group
Our Digital Services Framework (DSF) is the Link Fund Solutions Application Architecture standard.
Our DSF is how we describe our capability to extend our technology platforms and introduce new digitally-enabled and integrated online services.
The framework creates a ‘plug and play’ model to utilise methods, innovations and advancement presented by the evolution of our industry’s digital infrastructure. Our DSF offers smaller, shareable microservices that enable standard ways to integrate with new and existing systems and to develop new offerings for our clients.
The DSF architecture
The DSF architecture is highly scalable, flexible, robust and performant. It provides:
- More delivery options
- A library of shared and reusable services to reduce development overhead
- The necessary levels of security for our systems in our data centres in Dublin and Amsterdam to give us, our clients and prospects peace of mind
- Reduced business interruption risk
- Greater oversight and management tools on system performance
- New roles and enhanced team skills
A Centre of Excellence
As part of it, we’ve also introduced a Cloud Centre of Excellence (CoE). This enables us to standardise practices across geographies in the UK and Europe plus oversee and govern Cloud architectures. It also increases transparency, communication and collaboration across our business to help solve our clients’ problems.
How does it impact the day-to-day for our clients?
The DSF is now our ‘go to’ model for delivering changes and new features. It allows us to introduce new skills, technologies and tools, plus enhances our teams’ skills and creates roles within our business that are attractive to any technologist.
Our DSF drastically reduces the business interruption risk. If we face unexpected IT system issues or complex upgrades, we can fix the issue or deploy change immediately rather than wait for large, time-consuming updates and upgrades. In many cases, the DSF can be upgraded during the online day without users knowing it’s happening – removing the midnight flick of a switchover that would often be involved and risky.
The framework also gives us greater oversight and management tools on system performance, so we can foresee challenges within the system before they impact our business and clients. It makes it easier to collaborate with external parties to develop, test, and roll out digital solutions.
The DSF's flexibility has also transformed our document service into a library. Millions of documents are consumed and retrieved by our systems on daily basis from internal systems through to mobile applications in the hands of Investors. Services that allow any system to take advantage of these Lego blocks of functionality are far more efficient for users while reducing costs – so we can prioritise spending elsewhere to best serves our clients.
What does it mean for clients?
We believe in simplifying and developing our systems so that we can give our clients the best and quickest possible service. Our world-class technology is continuously reviewed and updated so we can help them focus on what they do best.
Our systems give clients a smoother, faster and more reliable service. The innovative, collaborative library of services the DSF provides a unique opportunity to test and learn themselves; they can control their own pace of change.
The Prudential Digital ISA is great example. The system was developed using the DSF, and its features and functionality were built and rigorously tested in a much shorter time period than previously. Our DSF’s agility enables it to evolve in line with user demand while continuously providing a market-leading service.
What does it mean for our business?
The DSF helps us become a market leader – giving us springboard for business growth.
Our team can develop and test solutions with greater ease. It also allows developers to work in a more insulated way, focusing on specific challenges rather than requiring a lengthy onboarding and education process.
Our DSF had a tangible impact on the mindset and philosophy of teams. It’s wonderfully collaborative, which is reflected in how our people are approaching problem-solving and how we’re perceived.
What opportunities do we have for professionals?
Our development approach is right at the forefront of application strategy across multiple industries. If an organisation isn’t talking about micro services, then the question from any keen technologist is ‘why not?’
Our DSF offers a modern technology approach to systems development that is attractive to anyone who wants to learn and apply modern practices. It’s the next step up that talented individuals want to use.
We’re building an open, innovative culture and community of developers and testers, and empowering them to challenge themselves. It’s an environment that the best people want to work in.
Get in touch to learn more about what we’re doing in this area. Or visit our careers page if you’re a technologist specialist looking to explore our career opportunities.