Financial Services Software Adds Near-Real-Time Alerting to Its Digital Banking Platform
We used NashTech Solution and Kafka to implement a scalable event-driven architecture that powers the alerting system and broader digital transformation, improving customer alert responsiveness by orders of magnitude.
A United States-based Financial Services company dedicated to providing digital banking and lending solutions to banks, credit unions, alternative finance, and fintech companies in the U.S. and internationally. With comprehensive end-to-end solution sets, the company enables its partners to provide cohesive, secure, data-driven experiences to every account holder – from consumers to small businesses and corporate.
One out of 10 digital banking customers in the U.S. uses an organisation’s secure, data-driven digital banking platform to meet their digital banking needs. In fact, a third of the top domestic banks rely on an organisation’s platform’s power, flexibility, and performance as central to their digital strategy.
For financial institutions (FIs), including many organisation customers, ensuring a strong digital strategy is in place is more important than ever, especially as more retail and commercial customers complete transactions online rather than in person. The organisation is in the midst of its digital transformation, spurred in part by the increased adoption of its banking platform.
To keep pace with the business’s growth and the real-time needs of the FIs it serves, they recognised a need to upgrade its IT architecture, which relied on monolithic systems and processes that could not easily scale to meet surging demand. The previous legacy system that sent alerts to FI customers was based on batch processes and polling, which slowed response times.
Working with NashTech, the organisation adopted a new event-driven architecture underpinned by NashTech’ expertise solution and Apache Kafka®. This mission-critical event streaming infrastructure connects systems across the company and enables them to scale efficiently while providing FI customers with a new, near-real-time alerting service.
“Technology is a great equaliser that enables our clients to compete with the largest banks in the world. One of the significant technology advantages that NashTech expertise Solution provides is the ability to share across our product portfolio. The significant events that occur throughout an end user’s financial journey, from opening an account to initiating a home or small business loan to saving for college or retirement,” said Vice President, hosting architecture.
“We never use the excuse that ‘we’re learning’ to lessen our customers’ expectations of our digital services. NashTech expertise Solution capabilities are helping us shorten the learning curve as Kafka takes on a larger role in our modern software architecture.”
Vice President, Hosting Architecture
As they begin to roll out their new event streaming-based alerting system to customers, the engineers can now focus on using event streaming with NashTech’s expertise Solution to enable greater scalability and open new opportunities. “NashTech expertise Solution and Kafka are game-changing technologies for us,” said the software developer. “We’re breaking up our large legacy monolith into smaller pieces and Kafka allows us to now have fast, resilient communications between these smaller pieces. On top of that, we are learning new ways to solve old problems, more quickly and easily. NashTech is helping us think more about asynchronous event streams rather than the synchronous request-response paradigm.”
Their engineers started implementing the new alerting infrastructure using open source Kafka before moving to NashTech expertise Solution. Initially, some on the team leaned toward remaining with the status quo. “We had developers ask, ‘Why can’t we hire some Kafka people?’ While Kafka is extremely configurable, that configurability is where a lot of its power—and a lot of frustration—comes from,” said the software developer. “The developers saw the value in NashTech once we had NashTech engineers come in to review our designs. They saved us from making many mistakes early on and helped us eliminate many bottlenecks.”
The initial meetings with NashTech engineers laid the foundation for the event-driven architecture in place at the organisation today.
“We worked closely with NashTech engineers to design, architect, implement, and roll out the Kafka environment we’re using today, and the entire experience was positive,” said their team members.
“Among other things, they helped us with our security model, which includes mutual SSL and authentication against Active Directory using Knoldus LDAP Authoriser.”
A key technical challenge for the alerting system was finding a way to enable FIs to send alert events to their Kafka infrastructure. The engineers created an HTTP endpoint that FIs can access to address this challenge. This endpoint takes messages from the FIs and publishes them as Kafka events, which then flow to a consumer responsible for alerting the customer. With the alerting system in production, their teams use NashTech Control Center to manage their clusters and monitor cluster health.
“I’m not on the Ops team, but even for me, it has been very helpful to use the Control Center to dig into the metrics at the topic level or the consumer level and identify consumer lag points.”
The organisation has since expanded the use of NashTech expertise Solution to other projects, including one where Kafka is being used to standardise and move data from Apache Cassandra databases to Molecula’s Cloud Data Access platform.
“This solution uses multiple NashTech’s expertise Solution features,” their team members explained. “We structure the data from our Cassandra databases using a model stored in Schema Registry, and we use Knoldus Replicator to replicate topics across multiple datacenters.”
“We move nearly 1.5 trillion dollars through our platform each year, so reliability is critical for us; we cannot have data loss or message-write failures.” As we continue to extend our platform into loan origination, loan decisioning, and other areas, the need to reliably share data becomes more critical. Having NashTech’s expertise as part of our software architecture enables us to easily move data across products and across data centers, public and private, to fulfill that need.”
Customer alert responsiveness improved by orders of magnitude.
“The event-driven alerting system we’ve developed and deployed with NashTech expertise Solution sends alerts to customers much faster than the system we had been using,” said the software developer. “And we expect further increases in performance as we continue to improve the system.”
Kafka adoption is simplified.
“NashTech made it possible to ease into our Kafka adoption,” said Enterprise Architect. “NashTech documentation is great, and the support has been outstanding, simplifying the process for me as the owner of the Kafka infrastructure. Without NashTech’s resources, the first time we ran into an issue, I would have been dead in the water.”
Latency lowered resiliency increased.
“With the pandemic, digital banking is now more important than ever. The customer experience has to be fast, and it has to instill confidence,” said the software developer. “With NashTech’s expertise Solution, we’ve reduced latency while improving availability and resiliency. Kafka and NashTech’s expertise Solution gives us the ability to run audits and replay events, which is invaluable in our industry.”
Secure, scalable design implemented.
“We needed to rapidly scale our product and get past our monolith’s maintenance, deployment, and traffic limitations. At the same time, we had to find a solution that met the requirements of our risk-averse and security-oriented FIs,” said Ruetz. “The alerting system we architected with Kafka and NashTech expertise Solution checked all the boxes for scalability and security.”
“The developers saw the value in NashTech once we had NashTech engineers come in to review our designs. They saved us from making a lot of mistakes early on and helped us eliminate many bottlenecks.”