In-Depth

Lydian Trust: It’s the application framework, stupid

“What we’re doing is building an app framework,” said John Studdard, CIO at Lydian Trust. “We include all of the basic functionalities, security, auditing, Web-based schema validation, self-documenting interfaces and even subscription capabilities where you can make a Web service so that if a request comes in, it sets up a virtual tollbooth for every request that comes in.”

“What we’re doing is building an app framework,” said John Studdard, CIO at Lydian Trust. “We include all of the basic functionalities, security, auditing, Web-based schema validation, self-documenting interfaces and even subscription capabilities where you can make a Web service so that if a request comes in, it sets up a virtual tollbooth for every request that comes in.”

Lydian Trust is a mid-sized financial services company based in Palm Beach, Fla. Although it was only founded in 1999, its services, including private banking and wealth management, had expanded by mid-2002 to the point where it had outgrown its original IT systems built on Microsoft Windows .COM. Studdard’s job was to move to the .NET platform with a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) that would allow development teams to build Web services applications without having to worry about the basic XML-based standards or architecture.

“Instead of each of the business units having to develop not only their specific application and then all of these generic functions within these applications over and over again, we provide them with a framework to build their applications that includes all of these utility-type functions,” said Studdard.

With the Web services basics covered in the framework, Lydian’s 90-person IT staff -- which supports 500 employees in 14 offices nationwide -- is reaping productivity gains with the reduction of development costs, faster time-to-market for new financial services and simplified maintenance.

“We’re able to shave about 30% off the time-to-market cycles for some of these projects,” Stoddard said. “By inheriting these framework objects into their projects, we can make adjustments or upgrades to those core pieces of code and the systems that use them are just inherently upgraded.”

He points to the example of a Web portal build for Lydian’s wealth management division that allows investment advisors to remotely access data on clients’ portfolios and performance.

“That application was built with our core framework and with application core services built into it,” Studdard explained. “All [the business unit’s developers] had to do was essentially build the Web site and then they snapped in security, configuration and auditing.”

For those contemplating building this kind of Web services framework, the Lydian CIO urges patience and perseverance.

“It took us about a year of investment in time and design to get the basic building blocks in place,” Studdard said. “But it’s actually starting to pay off. We’re able to roll out applications with significant amounts of standardization and consistency, so maintenance costs are actually lower. Once we identify and solve a problem, we’ve solved that problem everywhere.”

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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