Appsbroker | Project Sentinel Announcement

Appsbroker | Project Sentinel Announcement

In 2007, the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) legislation was brought in to regulate how, and where, firms who provide services to clients can trade in financial instruments such as shares, bonds, and derivatives.

To strengthen the protection offered to investors, changes in this legislation are due to take effect from the 3rd January 2018. These changes are called MiFID II.

As announced in the recent press release, Appsbroker are delighted to be working with strategic partners Google, to deliver a MiFID II compliant solution, called Project Sentinel, to a consortium of global banks.

The Appsbroker and Google solution for Project Sentinel was selected from a list of over 70 vendors, and proves that Appsbroker are continuing to develop applications that transform the way information is surfaced, captured, and shared; delivering real-time insights on a scale never seen before in Financial Services.

Open Standards, Open Architecture; One SaaS Solution

An accelerated cycle of discovery has been completed to ensure that the full solution will enable voice and instant messaging initiated trades to be recorded, audited, and reported to financial authorities when appropriate, and will provide a fully compliant service which can be integrated into a variety of complex technology platforms. Additionally, Project Sentinel will provide components that can be used by other workflows that are impacted by the regulations, particularly around reporting.

With a focus on open standards, and an open architecture to enable interoperability with existing technology, Project Sentinel is committed to a flexible, future-proof solution that works for all of the consortium members.

Project Sentinel will leverage innovative technologies from Google Cloud, such as Cloud Dataflow, Cloud Pub/Sub, BigQuery, Container Engine, and Container Registry.  Coupled with the Appsbroker Appsflow platform, these technologies are enabling the engineering team to deliver this complex solution at pace. 

Google Cloud will also be the backbone for many supporting services, such as Logging and Monitoring, along with Cloud Identity and Access Management.

Compliance Through Agility

Project Sentinel is an Agile development project, which has already enabled the banks to integrate the initial components. Furthermore, each of the consortium members are able to elect which components they wish to integrate, enabling them to manage their own roadmap to MiFID II compliance. The project will continue to provide monthly releases, until a fully compliant version is available at the end of Q3 2017.

Red Nose Day fun at Appsbroker...

Red Nose Day fun at Appsbroker...

We’ve been getting into the Red Nose Day spirit today at Appsbroker; raising money for such a wonderful cause... and having some fun along the way!!

There were some fantastic treats in our cake bake (although, only crumbs now remain!).  It was an emotionally charged 'Great Red Nose Day Bake Off' competition, but as should be; the charity are the real winners!

People all around the office have been getting 'Red' in their own way!  From jumpers, to ties, to red hair... even red where hair used to be!!

Make sure you tune into the Red Nose Day show later tonight and give all you can to this charity!

Google Cloud Next is coming to town...

Google Cloud Next is coming to town...

Google Cloud Next ‘17 London is one of the biggest, most exciting events in the Google calendar.  Next ‘17, San Francisco has just wrapped, with some fantastic new announcements, and Next ‘17 London promises to be just as inspiring.  

What to expect at Next

At the London event you’ll hear about all the latest in Google technologies, including;

Infrastructure | The journey from complexity to simplicity
Data Processing & Architecture | Big insights from Big data
Machine Learning & AI | Automate everything!
Application development | Innovation has never been so easy
G Suite | Going beyond productivity

As you would expect, Appsbroker are going to be at Next London, along with some of our customers.  We will have a booth in the partner area, where you can come and visit us.  We would love to talk with you about your ambitions for embracing the cloud, and offer our advice on how to make your journey as frictionless as possible.

Solving the unsolvable

Some of our customers will be sharing their experiences using Google Cloud, and how Appsbroker have worked with them to solve business problems everyone else told them were unsolvable! 

So, why not come and join Appsbroker, and thousands of other Google Cloud experts from across Europe, at Google Next London ‘17?

Appsbroker Achieves ISO:27001 Certification

Appsbroker Achieves ISO:27001 Certification

Appsbroker, Europe’s leading Google partner, is proud to announce the achievement of ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification for Information Security Management. The scope of the certification covers the Information Security Management System for the provision of project, technical, engineering, and support services to businesses utilising Google Enterprise Services.

“2017 is a step change for Appsbroker from a large, small company to a small, large company with global ambitions.  I’m really grateful to the Board and everyone at Appsbroker for their unerring commitment to excellence, information security & data protection, and achieving ISO:27001.” 

Mike Conner, Appsbroker Founder & CEO

The certification is the culmination of over 9 months of dedicated effort across the Appsbroker organisation, from the UK Head Office, to the team in Iasi, Romania.

Security Matters

Whether you are a regular Joe, or a multi-billion dollar, publicly-traded, multinational corporation - in this modern world we all have to live with the risk of our private information becoming compromised.

The security measures that are taken to protect our information is a choice, and there are plenty of options: firewalls, encryption... you can even protect your tweets.

IMG - ISO Twitter Example [INTERNAL].png

 

The movies might suggest that the biggest risk to our private information are sophisticated hackers, exploiting backdoors and vulnerabilities that we never even knew about, but the reality is that many high-profile information leaks come from much more obvious, and preventable sources. The Information Security Management System implemented by Appsbroker has resulted in clearly defined processes and policies which now control activities such as document sharing, information classification, and office security for both Appsbroker employees & guests.

“When you achieve ISO/IEC 27001 certification you’ll be able to show customers and stakeholders your commitment to managing information safely and securely.”

British Standards Institute (BSI)

The ISO/IEC 27001 framework is a commitment to the safety and security of information assets, and attaining this certification ensures that Appsbroker have the processes and policies in place to manage and protect the confidential, sensitive information that is handled within the company, and on behalf of all customers.

Connecting the Mobile Workforce

Connecting the Mobile Workforce

It’s difficult to imagine leaving the house these days without at least one device that can connect us to the digital world. Whether it’s locating yourself on a map, or sharing your deepest thoughts in under 140 characters, information and interaction seems to be constantly within reach. Yet in the world of field engineering, this kind of mobile connectivity continues to be a challenge for many companies. 

Appsbroker has been working with a number of large UK based distributed companies, such as leading utility and transportation providers, to solve this very problem; how can they connect their mobile workforce to the essential data that they require in the field?

Uncovering a Hidden World of Information 

Mobile connectivity can often be misunderstood; while many companies offer BYOD (bring your own device) policies and the ability to work from home, some companies have employees that are constantly on the move and require access to up-to-date data streams and analytics from anywhere in the country.

Our first steps to understanding the real requirements of mobile connectivity for our customers is to send one of our Business Analysts (and on occasions a Cloud Customer Engineer from Google) to spend time on-site with key people in the organisation, and identify potential smarter working solutions.

For example, many of the challenges that face utility companies revolve around their mobile engineers and technicians, who work out in the field investigating technical issues and supply problems. Critical information about job and site history is needed when they travel to, or reach their destinations, but this is not accessible from their existing technology.

Over the last year we’ve been working with one of the largest UK utility providers on a mobile workforce project. During a visit to their head office, we witnessed reports coming in that a hospital had lost water supply, as had a nearby school and a number of residents. It turns out that a field engineer visiting the hospital had shut off the wrong valve:

“There was a period of confusion as reports were coming in, but the office could not reach the engineer, nor work out what had happened.”

The Art of the Possible, Now!

In this example, during the discovery phase it quickly became apparent that several Google technologies could be leveraged to connect the utility company with their widespread workforce. 

In response to the challenges uncovered, we developed a simple employee dashboard that presents data from several existing systems, and used Google Search to enable employees to quickly locate the information critical to them. Additionally, by using a Google login, these valuable insights are accessible on any device, anywhere. This dashboard was then extended, enabling additional lightweight business applications and additional business reports to be added over time.

Flexing the Muscles of the Google Platform

Appsbroker have now deployed more than 50 lightweight business applications onto the employee dashboard for our customer, all of which leverage Google Cloud technologies such as Drive, Docs, Sheets, Hangouts, and Maps.

Throughout the rolling deployment, our customer has transformed not only the technology they use and rely on, but the service that they are able to provide to their customers. The challenges that come with a mobile workforce still continue, but they now have an infrastructure that is accessible in the field, that will scale with new technology and wider connectivity.

Pablo Solera | Google Expert

Real-time insights on a MASSIVE scale

Real-time insights on a MASSIVE scale

From delivering music on Spotify, to delivering news at the Daily Telegraph, Google Cloud Platform is already playing a major role in helping companies get their products into the hands of consumers. Recently, we’ve been helping a top 5 UK supermarket to realise the vast potential of GCP with real-time data processing.

A common story with an innovative twist!

To tell this story, we need to illustrate the business problems that our client was experiencing which led them to our door. They already had a legacy system which stored data collected from their tills; item numbers, timestamps, loyalty card details, promotional discounts, to name just a few. As you can imagine, this data provides a wealth of critical insights for a supermarket.

The supermarket's rapid growth over the last few years had resulted in them outgrowing this legacy system, which could not be adapted or scaled to meet their need; to access data as quickly as possible in order to drive increased sales. Data relating to sales events are logged as transactions occur, but the legacy system would not allow this data to be accessed until the following day - to keep pace with their own growth they now needed to surface this information in real-time.

Identifying this as a problem, the Head of Technology approached Appsbroker to see if a proof-of-concept could show evidence that Google Cloud Platform could enable real-time access to their data. To achieve this we quickly put together a solution which would push till log data into Google Cloud Storage every 15 minutes, working within existing polling times. We then created a service, called Sales Service, which would write this data into Google BigQuery, enabling analytics at either basket level or item level. This exercise proved that till log data could indeed be made accessible in real-time using GCP technology - this was the proof that was needed, and signified the thumbs up for the full project.

Moving from proof-of-concept to full solution

The full solution, which is currently being developed, is not a million miles from the original proof-of-concept, although it now utilises many more Google Cloud Platform technologies to ensure that the Sales Service is fast and robust:

  1. The till log data is uploaded to Google Cloud Storage in batch loads, in 15 minute intervals (as per their previous architecture)
  2. A bespoke Google Compute Engine application manages the orchestration, and sends outputs via Google Cloud Pub/Sub
  3. The Pub/Sub messages are consumed by Google Cloud Dataflow, which processes and enriches the data (from reference data stored in Google Bigtable) before it reaches Google BigQuery

The end-to-end process within Google Cloud Platform, as illustrated below, does not take more than a couple of minutes:

Big data - big benefits

From this data pipeline, Sales Service enables the supermarket to trigger alerts and build custom reports. The data is grouped into item and time period windows, and Google Dataflow can keep over 30,000 of those windows active at any given time. Currently our client will continue to send till log data every 15 minutes, but the system would be able to manage data at a per-basket level if they chose to get even closer to a real-time data pipeline.

Future proofing for a smarter future

Identifying, defining, and developing a solution like this is typical of the kind of projects that Appsbroker get involved with on behalf of our customers. For this particular engagement, our background in technical consultancy, combined with our Google Cloud technology expertise, has enabled us to surface key information from within the discovery phase, that we think will bring added value to our client in the future - for example, while the existing solution focuses solely on sales data extracted from tills, non-sales data such as operator behaviour, performance, and queue length are all potential extensions.

One of the greatest strengths of a widespread adoption of Google Cloud Platform across an entire business is the potential to integrate with other downstream systems and microservices - and we’ll be working with our client to realise that potential. While Spotify and the Telegraph group are using the power of GCP to put music and news in the hands of their consumers, our client can now leverage that same power to provide their whole marketplace to their growing customer base.

Jon King | Google Cloud Expert

Introducing App Maker

Introducing App Maker

Google has announced a new feature to its enterprise users of G Suite, and Appsbroker is really pleased to be supporting them as a launch partner.

App Maker is a new component of G Suite, and offers customers access to a simple yet powerful application builder. It is the perfect extension to G Suite, and we think you’ll love it.

Smarter Working with G Suite

Smarter Working with G Suite

G Suite = Business transformation for all! Come and join the transformation challenge - you'll love it!