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Building a Data Management System for the Business Development Bank of Canada

Financial Services | Application Development

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The Business Development Bank of Canada partners with TEKsystems to build a robust data repository system.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is a financial institution owned by the government of Canada. BDC has been serving Canadian entrepreneurs in various industries for more than 65 years. With over 100 offices across the country, BDC offers highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services; and as a complementary lender, offers loans and investments that supplement services available from commercial financial institutions. TEKsystems has partnered with this client since 2008.

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BDC operates under a mandate to provide policy direction and guidance to the government of Canada, to ensure Canada remains competitive within the world economy and to assist Canadian businesses in competing internationally. In order to meet this mandate and provide their clients with the best products, BDC began a pilot project to collect and catalog funding product  information offered by development agencies around the world. Over time, BDC had amassed a comprehensive Excel workbook that housed thousands of data points on the products and services offered by the world’s banks. BDC soon realized that not only was this knowledge base valuable to them, but that is also had the potential to be marketed to other development agencies that wished to leverage the data contained within to assist in their research and decision making.

In order to make this data repository attractive to a broader audience, BDC realized they would need to build a system that is simple to use with functionality beyond that offered by Excel. They engaged TEKsystems to create a prototype application that the company could use to demonstrate the value of the information to key members of the banking community and get buy-in from potential partners interested in development of a full-blown application that could be marketed to development agencies worldwide.

TEKsystems began by deploying a business analyst responsible for collaborating with BDC management to analyze the current database and identify the new features and functions desired by the client. In addition to housing the data, this tool needed a user interface that displays the data in a visually appealing format. With his keen understanding of the client’s end goal, the business analyst was able to provide guidance on value-added features like newsgroups, message boards and other interactive tools that garnered additional value from the underlying data analysis application and ultimately facilitated a more interactive and collaborative community for the development agencies.

After building the requirements, a lead developer was deployed and tasked with governing the overall technical direction of the project. the lead developer leveraged three additional resources from our Montreal Innovation Centre. This talented team decided to build upon a .Net platform and used our proprietary TEKsystems Agile process to begin construction. Microsoft’s silverlight Pivot Viewer was integrated to achieve strong visual appeal and to provide dynamic, graphical data analysis. The team opted for an iterative approach to development, which enabled the client to give incremental and continuous feedback on the functional and aesthetic aspects of the system. Coordinating efforts among all resources, the project manager managed the client relationship including tracking progress and communicating status to BDC management.

Meanwhile, BDC scheduled a prototype demo with representatives from various institutions around the world, including the World Bank, to present the potential capabilities of a full-blown application. With this meeting just a couple of short months away, it was very important that TEKsystems deliver the fully-functional prototype as early as possible so the BDC presentation team had enough time to prepare and script its presentation.

This project was completed on time and within budget and executed from start to finish in less than two months. The successful completion of the prototype enabled the client to validate their assumption that there was strong demand for the tool in the marketplace. The development of this new system satisfied a long-standing need, not only for the data itself, but also for the data to be centrally stored and easily accessible by a widely dispersed user population. 

Upon completion of the prototype two goals were met:

  1. The prototype is in use today and being used internally by a 30-person BDC team
  2. The prototype demo that BDC scheduled with representatives from various banks was a success

BDC is now using the prototype system in a “road show” that involves traveling to banks around the country to sell the idea and build enhancements that will ultimately be used to feed requirements for the next phase—a full-blown enterprise-wide system. BDC anticipates that the next-generation application will serve a community of thousands of users from more than 250 institutions around the world. Moreover, BDC credits this new capability with raising their profile in the market and allowing them to emerge as a forward-thinking and innovative financial services organization.

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