Case Studies

NexJ Systems Selects Kong to Facilitate API-First Transformation for Modern CRM

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Challenges

  • Large on-prem implementations with customization led to high-cost of maintenance
  • Moving from on-prem to cloud required standardization of test-driven workflows in order to reduce residual tech debt and accelerate development cycles
  • API enablement was needed to support ecosystem development and integration

Solutions

  • Flexibility to securely expose APIs and migrate to microservices architecture
  • Organization-wide adoption of API-first mentality
  • Development of reusable APIs for ease

Results

  • Launched managed cloud offering of CRM for Wealth Management product to provide customers with a lower cost of entry and broader product portfolio selection
  • Reduced API development time by templatizing the cloud application pipeline, all while using Kong to support the company-wide shift to an API-first, test-driven mentality
  • Introduced an additional stack into the suite of development tools to help

A Pioneer of Intelligent Customer Management

Based in Toronto, Canada, NexJ Systems sells financial service specific CRM products that are built to transform the way institutions maintain lasting relationships with their customers. As a pioneer of Intelligent Customer Management, NexJ Systems is helping firms gain a holistic understanding of their customers’ needs by providing a centralized view of the key data sources and tooling being accessed and leveraged by the advisors and bankers across the enterprise. From working with leading Wealth Management, Private Banking, Corporate Banking and Commercial Banking firms in well over 60 countries, NexJ Systems has developed deep expertise in customer and process management solutions that align business goals across geographies while setting a new standard for driving revenue, boosting client engagement and providing an uptick in the overall productivity of the CRM’s end users.

NexJ Systems Pursues Precision and Performance with a Modern Vertical CRM

As financial institutions strive to provide first-class service to their clients, the challenge may arise as to how they can proactively support the cross-cutting requirements of a rapidly evolving business, especially considering the varying use cases of internal stakeholders residing across distributed departments. As a solution, rather than serving up a one-size-fits-all horizontal CRM that may require heavy customization post-purchase, NexJ Systems promotes a vertical customer relationship model that enables clients to pick and choose from the precise use case required to tackle their immediate strategic business initiatives. In addition to this, the cloud applications team at NexJ Systems is pursuing a microservices transformation to further amplify the performance and flexibility benefits felt from the unique vertical CRM offering. “Our team had measured our goals by delivery of additional features inside the CRM product. Now that we are decentralizing our product, we can assess our individual products and modules for sale along with the added benefits of moving to the cloud – such as improved onboarding time, platform uptime, time to upgrade and the overall satisfaction of our existing customers,” said Owen Pond, vice president of software development at NexJ Systems.

Leveraging Kong Enterprise to Overcome Monolithic Challenges

After carefully considering how to best extend continuous business value over time to its customers, the decision to pivot to a full-cloud offering for its suite of solutions became the clear and obvious move for NexJ Systems. “NexJ started with large on-premise implementations. To support smaller clients on a managed cloud offering, our products needed to be even more API oriented and support more granular and independent deployments,” said Pond.

“We were feeling a lot of pain because customer customizations, along with required end-to-end deployments, created a high cost of upgrade for our clients.” In NexJ’s evaluation of solutions to reduce technical debt as infrastructure complexity increased, Kong’s service connectivity platform stood out as a compelling avenue to overcome some of the team’s hurdles. “Our customers have been asking us to provide modular features without having to upgrade core features, simplifying maintenance and reducing disruption,” shared Pond. “Kong gives us a lot of flexibility to expose APIs in the current feature set and then replace them with a modular service down the road.”

API-First Shift Delivers First-Class Developer Experience

Just as NexJ Systems empowers clients to pin-point their specific CRM use case and move swiftly towards achieving a desired business objective, the company similarly identified an opportunity to look internally and adopt an API-first mindset to help the organization move nimbly and accelerate its development release cycles. “We had all the normal challenges of a company that was moving to the cloud and offering customers a SaaS product for the first time,” said Pond. “From a development perspective, a lot of the tech debt we carried around was simply because our team didn’t yet adopt an API-first mentality.” The cloud applications team also discovered new-found pockets of productivity from using Kong to set up test-driven workflows and further instill standardization across the development pipeline. “Before using Kong, we had built an in-house gateway with Node, and it would take about 3-5 days to complete an API development cycle. With Kong integrated in with our NexJ pipeline and having the infrastructure and templating in place, it accelerated our entire process down to about 1-2 days and cut our API development time nearly in half. The API-first strategy we’ve adopted is resonating very well with prospects, legacy customers and other important stakeholders,” said Pond.

Championing A Third-Party Ecosystem

To reap the full benefits of moving to the cloud, NexJ Systems leveraged the Kong Enterprise API management platform to access existing back-end services and effectively transform them into reusable APIs, thus reducing time-to-value for customers while also setting the stage for a thriving ecosystem of third-party integrations. “We really believe in the concept of integration,” said Pond. “We’re working on building out a partner ecosystem that will make it easy for third-party applications to play nicely with our infrastructure. All the while, the plan is to have this enabled by Kong, which is a huge success criteria for us being an API-first organization that is using

an API gateway.” In addition to constructing the framework to enhance its organization-wide API enablement and integration, NexJ Systems is actively implementing plans to further facilitate digital innovation, and Kong is at the forefront of the company’s strong containerization strategy. “We are now mature with Kubernetes and using Kong’s Kubernetes Ingress Controller to support this,” said Jelena Duma, principal application architect at NexJ Systems. “From API management to hardened security, routing and service mesh, Kong offers us all of the precise features and configurable components that we need. For the most part, we have moved fully to the cloud, and our offering is now entirely managed by Kong.”

“We were on a quest for an API gateway to support our shift to an API-first mentality. From our research, we found Kong to be a nice mix of an economical choice built on top of technology with a good reputation.”

— Owen Pond, Vice President of Software Development, NexJ Systems

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