Developing and supporting an application infrastructure that is core to your business is a large effort. From skilled development staff to technology infrastructure, everything has to work to its best potential. When Intercard decided that they were going to look outside to develop a mobile application to meet customer demands, they looked to TDK Technologies, a long time trusted technology advisor. This was not TDK’s first project with Intercard. Our relationship with them and familiarity with their application platforms made us a unique partner to help develop this solution. That understanding had extensive benefits when it came to integrating a mobile application into Intercard’s existing .Net platform, which needed modifications in order to be mobile friendly.
Creating brand new mobile solutions requires many parts to come together. Not only did we have to determine all the needed parts, but Intercard also had a very aggressive timeline. It was apparent very early on in the project definition phase that an Agile methodology was going to be the best fit for designing and developing this application. It allowed TDK to get a working prototype very quickly while giving Intercard the ability to create a backlog of work that could be used for continuous future enhancements.
Our first step was to do a small up front analysis of the application requirements with Intercard’s team along with our designers and developers. Using just in time design and a small up front analysis, our designers added value throughout the project and adapted to the ever-changing needs that rapid software development can bring. This type of design approach in an Agile environment also allows developers to be a part of the design early on in the process because it’s focused on what we know now and pertains to what developers will be working on shortly. That kind of holistic collaboration is valuable to the success of the project, especially when timelines are short.
Intercard knew that the majority of their customers were using Android devices so their decision was to create an Android version first then follow it up with an iPhone version once the technology was proven. We determined that the application needed a way to add the customer’s cards they already had, manage select information about those cards, and be able to add money to those cards from within the application. While our designers worked with Intercard stakeholders to iterate through rapid wireframe prototypes, our development staff created the necessary framework needed to support an Android application. At the same time, we worked with with Intercard’s team to create the information architecture to support the development and deployment efforts.
Once the major needs of the application were determined through wireframe prototypes, some high level design artifacts were created and development began. Intercard had already begun using QR code technology to check status of card balances online via a web browser. We determined that the mobile application could leverage that existing technology. The application would feature a QR code scanner as the means to add individual stored value cards to a customer’s account. Once the cards were added, customers would be able to manage certain aspects of their card like nicknames, avatars, email addresses, but most importantly the ability to add money to a card from the palm of their hand.
Intercard already had a well-established application infrastructure that was using Microsoft’s .Net architecture to support their onsite systems around the world. TDK developed the REST web services to serve the needed information to the new mobile infrastructure.
In each Sprint, TDK and Intercard released working versions of the application. All of the team members worked at improving each level of the application to build an alpha version to meet Intercard’s timeline. We were able to deliver the product for Intercard and meet their deadlines, which allowed them to continue building customer’s confidence in their ability to innovate and provide quality solutions. In addition, by using Agile and keeping tabs on all the “what if we could do this” items, TDK created a working backlog of improvements that Intercard could prioritize and continue to release new features in the future.