For almost 30 years, Starfish Computer Corporation, headquartered in Northeast Ohio, has been a complete technology solution provider for businesses in the Midwest. Realizing that it is critical to keep IT systems for businesses up and running, Starfish has earned a strong reputation for dependability, support, and quick response to its customers’ various technology needs.
As a “one-stop shop,” Starfish provides expertise for all aspects of IT infrastructure, including hardware and software management, security, data backup, vendor relationships, website management, network monitoring, and maintenance for an array of different technologies. They also design and deliver technology solutions grounded in a thorough understanding of the business value and benefits it brings to client organizations.
In mid-2021, an important client of Starfish—a regional bank—sought its help for a nettlesome technology problem that had been taxing the regional bank's resources for years without any viable solution in sight. They needed to automate an arduous manual process, preferably using a cloud service with little to no maintenance fees.
Given the complexity of the problem and the urgent need to get the solution right the first time out of the gate for this struggling client, Starfish decided to combine forces and partner with JBS Custom Software Solutions. Both Starfish and JBS Software had a long-standing relationship through their executives. Starfish also knew that JBS Software was very strong with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and cloud computing where the solution for the regional bank was likely to be deployed.
The major challenge faced by the regional bank involved the manual processing of nearly 30,000 client records per day for marketing and customer experience (CX) purposes.
The regional bank worked regularly with FIS—an organization that provides data solutions for banking and financial services. These services allowed the regional bank to get better insights about their new and existing clients to further empower and better connect with their needs. On a daily basis, the regional bank would work with FIS DataConnection by downloading approximately 30,000 client records per day in a comma-separated values (CSV) format.
These 30,000 records would then be manually manipulated by regional bank employees in colossal Microsoft Excel worksheets. Once the client data had been appropriately adjusted, it would then be uploaded to the regional bank’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform—ActiveCampaign.
ActiveCampaign provides email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM tools for creating an incredible customer experience. The regional bank relied on this platform for enhancing the data and attributes for their active clients or members. This in turn would enable the regional bank to provide better services and more effectively provide opportunities for targeted marketing campaigns.
Moving 30,000 records each day from FIS DataConnection to ActiveCampaign had become an expensive, laborious, and time-consuming process. For 2-3 years the regional bank had tried to automate this unwieldy, manual process to no avail. To further complicate matters, the data from FIS had to be transformed into a structure which ActiveCampaign could consume. This daily process had become a tedious roadblock to the regional bank’s CX efforts.
The regional bank desperately needed a solution for automating the movement of these records on a daily basis to further optimize its work.
How JBS Helped
In July 2021, as a technology partner with Starfish, JBS Software began working on a solution for this problem. Ryan Dale, Director of Delivery for JBS Software, said, “We knew that we were going to have to cost efficiently leverage a cloud solution to deliver a full integration that would automatically move files from DataConnection to ActiveCampaign.”
To make this happen, Ryan Dale and Robbie Robinson, a Senior Engineer at JBS, worked with two other IT professionals from Starfish including a software engineer. The project management methodology involved a form of “lite agile” that included iterating with a weekly sync up over a four-month period.
To fully eliminate the grueling manual process with complete automation via the cloud, JBS Software leveraged their expertise with the following technologies and services: AWS Lambda, Python, AWS S3, and Flask.
AWS Lambda—an event-driven, serverless computing service from Amazon that runs code and manages computing resources—ran the code, written by JBS Software in Python, that would process and move the files from FIS DataConnection to ActiveCampaign.
AWS Simple Storage Service (S3)—provided by Amazon for scalable object storage using a web service interface—was exclusively relied on for securing all client data and information for the integration between FIS DataConnection and ActiveCampaign.
Flask—a micro web framework popular among Python developers—was used to support the development of the integration application using a web site interface. It provided functionality without having to develop code from the ground up, making application programming interface (API) development easier.
The solution developed by JBS Software in conjunction with Starfish works just as it was planned. Every day at a pre-defined time, it automatically connects with FIS DataConnection using SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).
Once the connection is made, the solution looks to see if there are any new records or files with regional bank customer information. If so, the files are pulled into AWS Lambda and AWS S3 where the data is automatically processed and securely transformed. As a last step, the data is then pushed into ActiveCampaign for use by the regional bank on the CRM platform.
“It is in this way that 30,000 or so records get automatically processed each day for the bank,” said Robbie Robinson, “Without the time consuming and tedious manual process that they had to undergo for years.”
The cloud solution engineered by JBS Software requires no more manual intervention to process client records. Accordingly, the regional bank has been able to save enormous amounts of processing time as well as repurposing resources for more fruitful endeavors—all while saving on associated expenses.
Lastly, with this optimized solution in place—using AWS cloud services—the regional bank only has to pay for the time used which saves significantly on maintenance fees and expenses. According to Ryan Dale, “Both the regional bank and Starfish were satisfied with the quality results that finally solved a long-festering problem in just under four months.”