PRIVATE EQUITY ANALYSIS

Scott Logic was engaged by a start-up company to design and develop its industry-revolutionising software concept for the private equity domain.

ANALYSE AND SHARE

Our client is a start-up company in the private equity domain with very limited software development expertise.  They initially approached Scott Logic’s advisory services to consider the technical aspects of their industry-revolutionising software concept, involving online analysis and sharing of track record information for both limited and general partners in the private equity space.  The advisory work soon turned into the complete delivery of the system, including design, development and project management.

TECHNOLOGY STACK

  • HTML5 / JavaScript
  • C# / ASP.NET
  • D3js, knockoutjs, jQuery, qUnit, Chutzpah
  • Azure

EXPERIENCE FIRST, TECHNOLOGY SECOND

At the beginning of the project we were able to instil the client with the mind-set that, in Steve Jobs’ words, “you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology”.  As a result, the client was fully bought into our suggestion that the project should lead with user experience design.

Early product discovery and user research workshops stripped the client’s concept back to its bare bones, ensuring both the client and the Scott Logic team had a thorough and fundamental understanding of the target users and the problem the concept addresses.  These workshops also established the highly collaborative approach that would see the project through to a successful conclusion, with strong communication and minimal wasted effort.  Subsequently, similar design sessions progressively and iteratively built up the entire product.

AGILE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

Scott Logic managed the development of the product for the client utilising an Agile/Scrum based approach which incorporated both UX design and development activities. The team was truly multi-site, with Scott Logic basing overall project management and user experience design close to the client in Edinburgh and software development from our Bristol office, whilst the client located product direction/marketing from Edinburgh and QA in Boston.

Despite the distribution of people across locations, our use of cloud-based Agile project management and collaboration tools enabled us to operate as one effective Agile team. 14-day sprint cycles created natural check-points, providing the client with good visibility and control of the project, allowing it to evolve as it grew. For example, the client was easily able to direct development efforts towards key features for a product demonstration at any given point, whilst not undermining overall progress on the system. Ultimately, this resulted in the team delivering a releasable product to market on schedule and in line with the client’s overall marketing plan.

HTML5 AND THE CLOUD

A web application was a natural fit for the desired experience, because of the ease of access for users wherever they are and the system being an evolving service.  The web, as a platform, is more than capable of delivering desktop-like functionality and performance for users.  Similarly, HTML5 development is suitably enterprise-ready these days, with comprehensive MV* and automated testing frameworks, such that large-scale applications need not become long-term maintenance nightmares for businesses.  The Cloud, in this particular case Microsoft’s Azure platform, is an ideal hosting solution for modern web applications.  It provides excellent technical benefits in terms of scalability, deployment and maintenance, married with corresponding cost and reliability benefits from a business point of view.