As one of the world’s largest and most respected financial services companies, with partnerships that include over 60 best-in-class companies and brands, BarclaycardUS is dedicated to making the purchasing experience simple and rewarding for its customer community. A key part of serving those customers is working with backend service providers using multiple protocols at very high volumes, explained Alex Brown, BarclaycardUS group lead, in his presentation at WSO2Con 2013 US.
For BarclaycardUS, the solution has been to integrate to integrate WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (WSO2 ESB) with its existing service-oriented architecture (SOA), and leverage REST APIs with the ESB to boost performance and monitoring across 10 distinct environments.
Different Partners with Different Domains
BarclaycardUS’ partnerships involve handling credit cards for large companies such as Apple and LL Bean, and specializing in the backend services for these types of businesses. Additionally, BarclaycardUS works with different vendors to conduct its credit checks, rewards and fulfillment.
“This creates an interesting perspective, since we have to integrate with a lot of different partners with unique and different needs,” Brown said.
According to Brown, the company has to accommodate applications and services relying on SOAP, REST, Android and Apple iOS mobile operating systems, Voice XML, and OFX, along with many different APIs. In the wake of increased cross-domain orchestration, BarclaycardUS realized the need for an ESB to serve as a common backbone for connecting these different services.
After exploring various offerings on the market, BarclaycardUS decided on WSO2 due to its ease-of-use and comprehensive middleware stack, which represented endless possibilities for growth.
“The other open source platforms we looked at during the time didn’t have that, and WSO2 was very complete and robust and supported all the modern protocols, which was a big advantage for us,” Brown explained.
Strengthening Services with WSO2 ESB
Today, Brown noted, “We’re leveraging the ESB and different parts of it, and we have a lot of different use cases.” At WSO2Con he reviewed three of those use cases to highlight how WSO2 ESB is enabling BarclaycardUS to optimize business services.
Prepaid Platform is a new service the company has rolled out, which works as a mobile application available on iPhone and Android application stores. It supports balance inquiry and mobile application and origination, Brown noted. The mobile bill payment platform also is leveraging external prepaid vendors.
“To do that, we had a mobile app that was talking in REST to the ESB, and behind the scenes, we had to orchestrate to many different systems,” Brown explained.
Core Domain Services: are hosted in many locations and pull data from data sources and different vendors. As a result, company wants to gain control over what is happening and have a cohesive view of service APIs in the organization, Brown explained. The company’s goal is to have customers, accounts, devices and some of these core domain services facades with each other. Working with the ESB, the company has an effective intermediary to do this.
“In the ESB, behind the scenes, it’s talking to many different things like partners, existing services we have, and different vendors—this is what we’re heading towards and is in production now,” Brown said.
Account Aggregators is a new service that is currently in development and will go live soon, Brown noted. It will address the challenge of screen scraping, programmatic collection of visual data, which can often be a heavy process that requires aggregators to login, pretend to be a customer, go through and load Web resources. BarclaycardUS didn’t want these aggregators to take valuable processing away from its regular customers. With the WSO2 ESB, BarclaycardUS can have its aggregators support the OFX standard used by banks and boost performance.
“In the ESB, the aggregators are coming in and are authenticating themselves, and I’m loading all of this data at exactly the same time. So the aggregators were able to get the info off of our website, scraping it in a minute or two—this takes less than a second, around 900 milliseconds—we’ve loaded 100% of that customer’s information and given it to the aggregator,” Brown said.
He added, “We’re also using the throttle, so if they’ve indicated they won’t go above a certain threshold but there are multiple aggregators, we need to make it so they don’t accidentally go above that threshold.”
Investing in the Future
In addition to WSO2 ESB, BarclaycardUS takes advantage of WSO2 Governance Registry and WSO2 Business Activity Monitor. Looking ahead, Brown noted, the company plans to further enhance existing services and the use of composite services.
“The goal is to make this a cohesive API,” Brown explained. “We’re finding that we have a lot of services that had to be handwritten, which involves talking with our backend service providers and developers, and taking the time to test and deploy.”
BarclaycardUS plans to integrate the WSO2 Identity Server into its system to implement OAuth for RESTful services, which will be important for mobile applications. Additionally, the company is looking at the potential to leverage the WSO2 Complex Event Processor to help manage business operations and events streams and the WSO2 API Manager to gain insight into metering and monitoring of different service consumers.
“It sounds like we’re going to get exactly what we need with WSO2 in 2014, it’s a very cool product we’re going to be playing with more.”
For more information about how BarclaycardUS works with different backend service providers across 10 distinct environments using the WSO2 Carbon enterprise middleware platform, see Brown’s WSO2Con 2013 full presentation.