Innovative email queuing and parsing automation service being one of the primary products in the portfolio of Greek telecom company AMD Telecom.
July 2019 - Ongoing
- Technologies used:
Java, Spring, C++, Redis, RabbitMQ, MongoDB
Client’s country: Greece
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I work as a product owner for a telecom company that focuses on the interconnection between mobile network operators. As a secondary function, we offer texting messaging, VoIP, Facebook Messenger connections, and other services to the global market. We have other projects that target mobile operators.
Opportunity / challenge
What challenge were you trying to address with Gecko Dynamics?
I worked with Gecko Dynamics on a service that provided an API over SMTP for secure communication. We wanted to grow the company’s reputation and be seen as a leading provider of enterprise solutions. Without our control, a lot of spammers could be included within the platform, so we needed a clever and expandable system.
The email service would be increasingly useful, generating more volume in the coming years. Our expectations were high because we wanted to provide a total solution for our enterprise customers. We wanted to give them security and a guarantee that a verified email originated from the bank. We’re essentially providing insurance to our customers.
We’re one of the major global hubs for text messaging. Our connection lines are secure in both physical and logical terms. We have direct lines with mobile operators, or we use a third hub. Our side connects to the hub, and we have contracts and assurances from their team. Both sides have credentials. Because of this, we can guarantee the route is not imperceptible. No one can create or launch a phishing attack against the recipients.
What was the scope of their involvement?
We needed to create an extendable rules machine that applied rules, regulations, and settings according to the destination domain and actual originator of the message or campaign. We also wanted to track the metadata of each message, ensuring its complaint with transparency requirements and GDPR and other regulations. Because we expected a huge volume of traffic, we needed a range of IPs, a fast pricing mechanism, and fast authentication.
With the standard telecom operation at the routing or core network level, we had the same challenges. While the worlds are similar, I had to lead Gecko Dynamics through the whole project until implementation. We also have time-critical components, namely the SMTP authentication and charging plug-in, which are both developed in C++.
The infrastructure is around Linux and Docker images. It gives us the ability to expand the infrastructure without investing in additional hardware. Docker allows us to create new environments.
What is the team composition?
I believe we’ve worked with five people, including a sales manager and a technical project manager. We have a two-person team for Java development. We also employ a part-time system architect and one senior C++ developer.
How did you come to work with Gecko Dynamics?
One of our previous project managers did extensive research on companies. We started a global RFP. After that, we spent a couple of weeks waiting for the request to reach interested parties. We went through an interview with Gecko Dynamics, and they demonstrated a competent response and approach. It was compatible with what I had in mind.
How much have you invested with them?
We’ve invested between $80,000–$85,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with Gecko Dynamics in July 2019.
Results & feedback
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
I’m very happy with them so far. We’ve managed to close the first phase of the project, and we’ve moved to the second. We went through phase one with forward compatibility. I expect us to be ready for production by the end of 2019.
There were some technical issues due to the system being incompatible. We switched technologies and moved to phase two. The same analysis and business requirements will be served by a different technological approach but will still be compatible with the phase one work.
They’re quite responsive, meeting our expectations. They’ve managed to fit into our team’s plans, incorporating into our own infrastructure. We plan on launching a few products at the same time, which is a daunting task, especially because they have to be integrated with an existing environment. We’ve managed to deliver a stable service that can be easily expanded.
How did Gecko Dynamics perform from a project management standpoint?
Despite my service, I’m not the biggest fan of emails. We have daily meetings over Skype, use Slack and have voice calls. One of the major demands we put in the scope was to communicate needs immediately, no matter what it is. As soon as those are communicated, we involve the specific team that can resolve the issue. It’s much better that we know a person is on the other side, rather than a machine.
The project manager is technical and competent. He understands our wants and concerns, keeping me informed at every turn. Another plus is that we can send the data directly from a computer or cell phone. The team at Gecko Dynamics works almost around the clock. They treat tasks as if they’re their own, and I quite like that.
We use an agile scrum for the development part, but the project management recording is on our side. We have to report on the status, budget, distribution, and other aspects. Thankfully, Gecko Dynamics help us with that as well. They provide us with fully detailed reports about their process and the deliverable.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Their team tries to keep their promises, and if they can’t, they simply say that. If there’s an issue, they let us know right away. As a product or project manager, we always have buffers or redundancies. In this case, I didn’t see the need for that. I’ve had projects that seemed easy to manage, but took longer than six months to start production. While this project was a major one, it took them four months to deliver. The technology issue we had will take less than three weeks to fix, which I consider a success.
Their most valuable quality is that they’re true to their work. Along with being transparent about issues, all of the stakeholders are aware of what’s going on and where the money is going. That makes it much more comfortable.
Are there any areas they could improve?
All development companies have more or less the same issue when it comes to delivering documentation. At the end of the project, we need to have their full documentation of the project in order to close it. All the APIs and administrative parts need to be documented.
If the developers are doing well in the early stages, they should start by putting comments on future ideas in regards to implementation. This will have when we have to create documentation for escalations and customizations. In any case, we have to have it at the end of the project, and Gecko Dynamics is not that strong with the documentation.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Any potential customer should dedicate a person to keeping track of the project, in terms of budget, tasks, and materials. If the outsourced team is managing itself, the client needs to have requirements clear. I suggest having a project manager on their side because that would help with the analysis. The good part about Gecko Dynamics is that they do offer their minds. It’s also important to have the budget assured.
We didn’t clear out contract terms, so I had an unexpected budget overrun. Their supportive team worked out a solution. It was a match made in heaven.
On time / deadlines
Value / within estimates
I’d give them this in terms of return value.
Service & deliverables