Case study


A fresh Perspective for the pension industry
  • Tech: Django, React
  • Time: 9 years and counting!
  • Team: 2 devs, 1 UX, 1 QA
  • Host: Kubernetes, AWS
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The challenge

Pendragon, a specialist provider of legal and regulatory information services to the UK pensions industry, is rightly proud of its flagship product, Perspective. But this indispensable electronic information service was showing its age – and resisting attempts to drag it up to date.

To hang on to its position, cloud-based convenience was a must. But two previous attempts to shift it from desktop to SaaS had failed for being too slow. How could we overcome the technical barriers to bring Perspective up to date without losing performance?

Users loved Perspective’s rapid desktop access, but had to use a local database and a proprietary browser. Cloud migration was essential, but meant transforming hefty legal documents into a digital format

The big question: Could cloud technology replicate those impressive desktop speeds?

The proposition

In the desktop version of Perspective, users accessed data via a local database and a lightning fast proprietary browser.

But moving to the cloud would mean documents (we’re talking hefty tomes such as acts, bills and statutory instruments) would have to be parsed, rules established, and rendered. There was no chance of matching those desktop speeds.

Until we came up with our solution: to break down the complex data into smaller, manageable blocks. Each block would be the right size to fill the user’s screen, with new blocks loading as the screen scrolls up or down. This approach should transform otherwise unmanageably large amounts of data into sizes that a browser could work with quickly.

The project journey

Perspective subscribers include the country’s leading pension law firms, benefits consultants, regulatory bodies, trade organisations and government departments – Pendragon’s largest customer is the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

In pensions disputes, precise dates are critical, as is the need to have the latest legislative documentation to hand. Perspective provides that quick, convenient and timely access, with added features, including extensive cross referencing.

In other words, a vast amount of data and very exacting customers. And Pendragon had clocked up two unsuccessful attempts to move to the cloud.

But the block idea was the breakthrough they needed.

The next step was for Isotoma to migrate Perspective to the cloud, onto the AWS platform, ensuring it was cloud-native.

The new version of Perspective went into beta in 2017, and Pendragon had successfully moved all of its existing customers onto it by the end of 2019.

The impact

The result has been to reinforce and consolidate Perspective as an indispensable information service for the pensions industry.

Pensions professionals can access its comprehensive library of legislation and documents anywhere and anytime.

For the Isotoma team, the project has been technically rewarding and has demonstrated how tactical problem-solving supports product enhancement.

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