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Delivering cloud mobility solutions globally

Timezones

We’ve been working on a global project to deliver a digital ecosystem for one of the biggest automotive companies in the world, battling time zones and task lists. Breakfast at 7AM in Shanghai means bright sunshine in Los Angeles at 3PM the day before. London hopefully already fell asleep at 11PM at night while Detroit picks its favorite from the dinner menu. Nevertheless, we’re continuously syncing between the awake teams and making sure that everyone, everywhere in the world, is up to speed and on top of their tasks.

One has to stop and think: what does it mean to deliver globally? We’ve all been there, or a version of there, right?

It is not just about overcoming the time differences. It’s about building a product that is modular and flexible enough to meet the current and future requirements in each region. It’s also about the endless stream of details and tasks, like arranging a test team to be ready and available to test region-specific features after being deployed by another team on the other side of the planet. Automation ends up playing a big part in the success for our on-demand delivery of features. This includes various tests, pipelines to different environments and regions with specific settings, and the list goes on.

Our solution is a collection of cloud-native applications that bring advanced mobility services to the customer using the front-end application. Whether it is the customer logging in or searching for the nearest point of interest, like parking lot or fuel station, the front-end application talks directly to our service. That is just a glimpse of the included services. Add payment services, pick-up and delivery features, or internal services like push notifications and notifications inside WeChat for China, financial reporting, badge collection, analytics etc. and we get a little closer to understanding the big picture.

The front-end application is the main consumer of the services, though not the only one. For example, the customer services need to use the data stored in the system to help customers when they require assistance, and that requires its own interface. Any new integrations, whether for incoming or outgoing traffic, add to the complexity of the system. We’ve put a lot of effort into designing the system and the ever-evolving API documentation. Truth is, a well-documented system is easy to work with, troubleshoot and explain to new colleagues whether they are working at the same office or abroad.

There are plenty of invisible details that need to be present and operating in order for any solution to work for a customer. Technologies such as geospatial calculations, aggregation and standardization of content from a handful of different providers, connecting systems between China and rest of the world with reverse proxies and much more.

The customer only sees the front-end application and whether it is working or not. The magic behind it is not magic. It’s a carefully orchestrated software project using real developers, solution architects, devops, testers and project managers. Our team is working together from different locations to deliver a solution that will work seamlessly for customers all around the globe including Germany, UK, Brazil, Canada, USA, China to name a few.

Many companies are trying to deliver software projects globally, a task where some fail and some succeed. We see a smoother process and increased efficiencies when using approaches like continuous improvement and continuous delivery with a fast feedback cycle. But the real key to success is a strong and motivated team with the mindset that it can be done.

We can claim that we’ve been there and done that.

And no matter if it is breakfast, afternoon coffee or a good night kiss – the cloud connects us all at any time.