Logicalis_CS_Spring_2013.pdf

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Gaining Customer Confidence and Winning New Business with Spring: Logicalis

Logicalis is a global value added reseller (VAR) that develops and implements technology solutions – partnering with companies such as Cisco, HP, IBM and EMC. Logicalis professional services builds custom applications for customers, especially for telecom and wireless carriers.

Challenge

“We created our own web framework,” explains David Knoernschild, Managing Consultant for Java and Open Source at Logicalis, describing the development environment previous to Spring – the de facto standard platform to build, run and manage enterprise Java applications. “It was well designed and we were proud of the functionality. But as it began to age it became a challenge because we were not in the business of maintaining a web framework.”

Just before moving to Spring, Knoernschild’s team worked on a two-year project, developing an application to provision and activate cell phones, and the complex framework developed in-house at Logicalis became an issue.

“We had to explain what we did and why, and show each customer how to maintain this complicated and custom infrastructure,” Knoernschild says. “It was a lot of extra work and time. Since the framework was homegrown, it did not have a standard architecture, and look and feel. It was unfamiliar to customers.”

“The custom framework was also a problem when hiring new developers,” he adds. “The code was different than what they were used to. So, as people were brought into the team, extra spin up time was required.”

In addition to building their own framework, Logicalis tried other tools – including Struts, JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Stripes – trying to find a best-of-breed solution. With these tools, Logicalis found it challenging to deliver applications that could be easily maintained by customers without a massive amount of knowledge transfer.

Solution

“Now, when we talk to customers about a new web application, it is safe to assume that a Spring solution will be well received,” Knoernschild says, noting that Spring MVC is Logicalis’ default model-view-controller framework, and the core data access layer is almost always Spring. When clients ask Knoernschild to implement a platform, he always uses Spring on the backend.

“We like to use open source software but we need to have enterprise quality,” Knoernschild says. “Spring has helped us balance those requirements.”

Knoernschild also likes Spring because of the large community of loyal Spring developers, which gives him the confidence that he is on the right path, and that the platform will continue to maintain its position as a leading enterprise Java development platform.

BUSINESS Benefits

Spring delivers the following business results to Logicalis:

Greater Customer Confidence

“Our new clients are all very comfortable with Spring,” Knoernschild points out. “Spring is a well-respected technology with quite a bit of critical mass, and it is well understood that this is a solid platform that is going to be around for a long time.”

Knoernschild adds that customer confidence in Spring has helped Logicalis because they no longer have to explain to customers why they chose a certain platform, or developed a framework in a particular way.

More Customer Wins

“Customer confidence in Spring’s performance helps us close sales,” Knoernschild confirms. “When we propose Spring as an architecture, new clients are very comfortable. When it comes to closing deals, there are typically fewer questions from customers if the application is built on Spring.”

Logicalis finds that it is easier to win repeat work from current clients, because they are confident and satisfied with what Logicalis delivered previously with Spring.

Successful Hand-Off to Customer

When it comes time to hand the application off to the customer, Knoernschild finds that he does not have to spend time defending the platform, explaining how it works or worrying about whether the customer will be able to maintain it. Customers can easily find people with Spring experience to administer the applications, because the platform is so ubiquitous. Since Logicalis’ reputation is on the line, if the application is hard to maintain, Knoernschild sees a smooth hand-off as a critical advantage.

Cost Competitiveness

“Spring makes it cheaper for our customers to maintain applications down the road, and it enables us to produce follow-up software enhancements for customers more quickly and less expensively,” says Knoernschild. “Spring helps us get follow on work from customers because we can price a job at a point that makes us a reasonable margin, while still being cost competitive.”

Rapid Project Ramp Up

Spring helps Logicalis maintain project continuity, even across different developers, by enabling rapid project ramp up. For example, when enhancing software for a customer, Logicalis does not lose productivity, even if the developers who worked on the original project moved on to other projects or left the company. The new developers can easily understand everything because Spring provides a common set of best practices and a well-known environment.

“Ramping up on a new project in Spring is a lot easier than before when we were rolling our own framework or using the framework du jour,” Knoernschild says. “If I start a project and my colleagues in another office have to work on it two months from now, Spring is familiar to them.”

Enhanced Application Quality

Logicalis finds that Spring makes applications easier to test, especially in devising unit tests around the components, which strengthens the quality of each application.

“Spring makes it very easy to create well-designed software,” Knoernschild concludes. “It helps us build complex applications that are architected in a well-understood way. That is huge for us. Logicalis has sharp developers and we can bang out applications quickly. But having a well thought out, standard way to develop applications increases our quality in the long run.”

At-a-glance

Key Benefits

  • Greater Customer Confidence
  • More Customer Wins
  • Successful Hand-Off to Customer
  • Cost Competitiveness
  • Rapid Project Ramp Up
  • Enhanced Application Quality

“Customer confidence in Spring’s performance helps us close sales. When we propose Spring as an architecture, new clients are very comfortable.”

— David Knoernschild, Managing Consultant for Java and Open Source at Logicalis

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