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Business Information Search powered by Cloud

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PUBLISHED: 21 June 2021

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About the Customer

Our customer is one of the largest global Energy, Oil & Gas company with operations in more than 60 countries carried out by 30.000 employees.
The customer is very active in the support of energy transition programs all around the world.

 

The challenge

The customer needed a simple but powerful solution that would allow end-users to retrieve business information contained in a set of thousands of documents globally.

The customer’s goal was to obtain a centralized, modern textual search capability to obtain better usability and performance compared to the existing legacy system, an on-premise server-based application that was hard to scale and required a dedicated infrastructure team to be managed.

On top of business requirements, the new solution was supposed to reduce maintenance costs, improve information security, automatically scale according to workload changes and drastically reduce the management efforts.

 

The solution

We decided that to successfully address all the requirements, especially the technical ones, the solution should be based on a cloud-native architecture on Microsoft Azure that allows to:

  • Shutdown existing on-premise servers, with no more need of hardware and software upgrades or maintenance with a meaningful cost reduction;
  • Leverage best-in-class Azure services, avoiding storing sensitive data inside application configuration files, greatly improving overall security;
  • Scale-up applications without causing major delays or impacting performance and end-user productivity,  ensuring maximum operational agility;
  • Reduce the management effort of the infrastructure by using Azure DevOps along with other services such as App Service, letting the customer focus on the development of their apps rather than the management of the supporting infrastructure.

From a business user's perspective, we developed a very intuitive, easy-to-use web application. Searches can be managed in different ways, to provide the best support to different inquiry needs: from a powerful full-text search to predefined filtering (geographical areas, business topics, etc.) or simply drawing areas on the world map. 

The solution is fully based on PaaS services and Microsoft Azure technologies. 

  • Web Application: Python web application for the user interface, hosted on an Azure App Service.
  • Full-Text Search Engine: Docker image on Azure Container Registry with Python backend.
  • Information Security Management: Azure Key Vault.

How the solution helps

The new solution greatly reduced the time required for finding specific business information; the combination of better usability and improved performance made the life of end-users easier.

Moving to the cloud has made it possible for the customer to avoid management and maintenance of on-premises servers, saving time and reducing costs by delegating these activities directly to Microsoft services.

Through the use of agile methodologies, integrated within Azure DevOps, communication between customers and the development team has improved, reducing application release times.

Finally, the use of the Key Vault has improved security but also added the possibility of updating data sources and connections without creating service interruptions, in a safe way.