In February, we announced that MongoDB 4.0 will support multi-document transactions. Curious to know what this will look like? Aly Cabral, Product Manager at MongoDB, is excited to share an early version of the syntax:
Each feature we build is with users like you in mind. When you attend our events, you’re able to connect with the people who work on the database you use every day – like Aly. In sessions, Birds of a Feather meetings, and one-on-one in Ask the Experts, you get to ask questions, share ideas, and be heard.
Additionally, you learn tips and tricks from power users and companies that will allow you to optimize your deployments. To get your hands on new tools to accelerate your development goals, join us at MongoDB World, June 26-27 in NYC.
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Date: June 26-27, 2018
Location: New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 6th Ave, New York, NY 10019
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DarwinBox Evolves HR SaaS Platform and Prepares for 10x Growth with MongoDB Atlas
DarwinBox found a receptive market for its HR SaaS platform for medium to large businesses, but rapid success strained their infrastructure and challenged their resources. We talked to Chaitanya Peddi, Co-founder and Head of Product to find out how they addressed those challenges with MongoDB Atlas . Evolution favors those that find ways to thrive in changing environments. DarwinBox has done just that, providing a full spectrum of HR services online and going from a standing start to a top-four sector brand in the Indian market in just two years. From 40 enterprise clients in its first year to more than 80 in its second, it now supports over 200,000 employees, and is hungrily eyeing expansion in new territories. “We’re expecting 10x growth in the next two years,” says Peddi. “That means aggressive scaling for our platform and MongoDB Atlas will play a big role." Starting from a blank sheet of paper The company’s key business insight is that employees have grown accustomed to the user experience of online services they access in their personal lives. However, the same ease of use is simply not found at work, especially in HR solutions that address holiday booking, managing benefits, and appraisals. DarwinBox’s approach is to deliver a unified platform of user-friendly HR services to replace a jumble of disparate offerings, and to do so in a way that supports its own aggressive growth plans. The company aims to support nearly every employee interaction with corporate HR, such as recruitment, employee engagement, expense management, separation, and more. “We started in 2015 from a blank sheet of paper,” Peddi says. “It became very clear very quickly that for most of our use cases, only a non-relational database would work. Not only did we want to provide an exceptionally broad set of integrated services, but we also had clients with a large number of customization requirements. This meant we needed a very flexible data model. We looked at a lot of options. We wanted an open source technology to avoid lock-in and our developers pushed for MongoDB, which fit all our requirements and was a pleasure to work with. Our databases are now 90 percent MongoDB. We expect that to be at 100 percent soon.” Reducing costs and future-proofing database management When DarwinBox launched, it ran its databases in-house, which wasn’t ideal. “We have a team of 40+ developers, QA and testers, and three running infrastructure, and suddenly we’re growing much faster than we expected. It’s a good problem to have, but we couldn’t afford to offer anything less than excellent service.” Peddi emphaszied that of all the things they wanted to do to succeed, becoming database management experts wasn’t high on the list. This wasn’t the only reason that MongoDB Atlas looked like the next logical step for the company when it became available, says Peddi, “We were rapidly developing our services and our customer base, but our strategies for backing up the databases, for scaling, for high availability, and for monitoring performance weren’t keeping up. In the end, we decided that we’d migrate to Atlas for a few major reasons.” The first reason was the most obvious. “The costs of managing the databases, infrastructure, and backups were increasing. In addition, it became increasingly difficult to self-manage everything as requirements became more sophisticated and change requests became more frequent. Scaling up and down to match demand and launching new clusters consumed precious man hours. Monitoring performance and issue resolution was taking up more time than we wanted. We had built custom scripts, but they weren’t really up to the task.” With MongoDB Atlas on AWS, Peddi says, all these issues are greatly reduced. “We’re able to do everything we need with our fully managed database very quickly – scale according to business need at the press of a button, for example. There are other benefits. With MongoDB technical engineers a phone call away, we’re able to fix issues far quicker than we could in the past. MongoDB Compass, the GUI for the database, is proving helpful in letting our teams visually explore our data and tune things accordingly.” Migrating to Atlas has also helped Darwinbox dramatically reduce costs. We’ve optimized our database infrastructure and how we manage backups. Not only did we bring down costs by 40%, but by leveraging the queryable snapshot feature, we’re able to restore the data we actually need 80% faster. Chaitanya Peddi, Co-founder and Head of Product, DarwinBox The increased availability and data resilience from the switch to MongoDB Atlas on AWS eases the responsibility in managing the details of 200,000 employees’ working lives. “Data is the most sensitive part of our business, the number one thing that we care about,” says Peddi, “We can’t lose even 0.00001 percent of our data. We used to take snapshots of the database, but that was costly and difficult to manage. Now, it’s more a live copy process. We can guarantee data retention for over a year, and it only takes a few moments to find what you need with MongoDB Atlas.” For DarwinBox to achieve its target of 10x growth in two years, it has to – and plans to – go international. “We had that in mind from the outset. We’ve designed our architecture to cope with a much larger scale, both in total employee numbers and client numbers, and to handle different regulatory regimes.” According to Peddi, that means moving to microservices, developing data analytics, maybe even looking at other cloud providers to host the DarwinBox HR Platform. He added: “If we were to do this on AWS and self-manage the database with our current resources, we would have to invest a significant amount of effort into orchestrating and maintaining a globally distributed database. MongoDB Atlas with its cross-region capabilities makes this all much easier.” Darwinbox is confident that MongoDB Atlas will help the organization achieve its product plans. “MongoDB Atlas will be able to support the business needs that we've planned out for the next two years.” says Peddi, “We’re happy to see how rapidly the Atlas product roadmap is evolving.” Get started with MongoDB Atlas and deploy a free database in minutes.
Open Banking: How to Future-Proof Your Banking Strategy
Open banking is on the minds of many in the fintech industry, leading to basic questions such as: What does it mean for the future? What should we do today to better serve customers who expect native open banking services? How can we align with open banking standards while they’re still evolving? In a recent panel discussion , I spoke with experts in the fintech space: Kieran Hines, senior banking analyst at Celent; Toine Van Beusekom, strategy director at Icon Solutions; and Charith Mendis, industry lead for banking at AWS. We discussed open banking standards, what the push to open banking means for innovation, and more. This article provides an overview of that discussion and offers best practices for getting started with open banking. Watch the panel discussion Open Banking: Future-Proof Your Bank in a World of Changing Data and API Standards to learn how you can future-proof your open banking strategy. Fundamentals To start, let’s answer the fundamental question: What is open banking ? The central tenet of open banking is that banks should make it easy for consumers to share their financial data with third-party service providers and allow those third parties to initiate transactions on their behalf — adding value along the way. But, as many have realized, facilitating open banking is not so easy. At the heart of the open banking revolution is data — specifically, the infrastructure of databases, data standards, and open APIs that make the free flow of data between banks, third-party service providers, and consumers possible. What does this practice mean for the banking industry? In the past, banks almost exclusively built their own products, which has always been a huge drain on teams, budgets, and infrastructure. With open banking, financial services institutions are now partnering with third-party vendors to distribute products, and many regulations have already emerged to dictate how data is shared. Because open banking is uncharted territory, it presents an array of both challenges — mostly regulatory — and opportunities for both established banks and disruptors to the space. Let’s dig into the challenges first. Challenges As open banking, and the technology practices that go along with it, evolve, related compliance standards are emerging and evolving as well. If you search for “open banking API,” you’ll find that nearly every vendor has their own take on open banking and that they are all incompatible to boot. As with any developing standard, open banking standards are not set in stone and will continue to evolve as the space grows. The fast-changing environment will hinder those banks that do not have a flexible data architecture that allows them to quickly adapt to provider standards as needed. An inflexible data architecture becomes an immediate roadblock with unforeseen consequences. Closely tied to the challenge of maintaining compliance with emerging regulations is the challenge that comes with legacy architecture. Established banks deliver genuine value to customers through time-proven, well-worn processes. In many ways, however, legacy operations and the technology that underpins them are doomed to stand in the way not only of open banking but also operational efficiency goals and the ability to meet the customer experience expectations of a digital-native consumer base. To avoid the slow down of clunky legacy systems, banks need an agile approach to ensure the flexibility to pivot to developing challenges. Opportunities The biggest opportunity for institutions transitioning into open banking is the potential for rapid innovation. Banking IP is headed in new and unprecedented directions. Pushing data to the cloud, untangling spaghetti architecture, or decentralizing your data by building a data mesh frees up your development teams to innovate, tap into new revenue streams, and achieve the ultimate goal: Providing greater value to your customers. As capital becomes scarce in banks, the ability to repeatedly invest in new pilots is limited. Instead of investing months or years worth of capital into an experiment, building new features from scratch, or going to the board to secure funding, banks need to succeed immediately, be able to scale from prototype to global operation within weeks, or fail fast with new technology. Without the limiting factors of legacy software or low levels of capital, experimentation powered by new data solutions is now both free and low risk. Best Practices Now that we’ve described the potential that open banking presents for established and emerging industry leaders, let’s look at some open banking best practices, as described in the panel discussion . Start with your strategy. What’s your open banking strategy in the context of your business strategy? Ask hard questions like: Why do you want to transform? What’s wrong with what’s going on now? How can you fix current operations to better facilitate open banking? What new solutions do you need to make this possible? An entire shift for a business to open banking means an entirely new business strategy, and you need to determine what that strategy entails before you implement sweeping changes. View standards as accelerators, not inhibitors. Standards can seem like a burden on financial institutions, and in most cases, they do dictate change that can be resource intensive. But you can also view changing regulations as the catalyst needed to modernize. While evolving regulations may be the impetus for change, they can also open up new opportunities once you’re aligned with industry standards. Simplify and unify your data. Right now, your data likely lives all over the place, especially if you’re an established bank. Legacy architectures and disparate solutions slow down and complicate the flow of data, which in turn inhibits your adoption of open banking standards. Consider how you can simplify your data by reducing the number of places it lives. Migrating to a single application data platform makes it faster and easier to move data from your financial institution to third parties and back again. Always consider scale. When it comes to open banking, your ability to scale up and scale down is crucial — and is also tied to your ability to experiment, which is also critical. Consider the example of “buy now pay later” service offerings to your clients. On Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, financial institutions will do exponentially more business than, say, a regular Tuesday in April. So, to meet consumer demand, your payments architecture needs to be able to scale up to meet the influx of demand on a single, exceptional day and scale back down on a normal day to minimize costs. Without the ability to scale, you may struggle to meet the expectations of customers. Strive for real time. Today, everyone — from customers to business owners to developers — expect the benefits of real-time data. Customers want to see their exact account balance when they want to see it, which is already challenging enough. If you add the new layer of open banking to the mix, with data constantly flowing from banks to third parties and back, delivering data in real-time to customers is more complex than ever. That said, with the right data platform underpinning operations, the flow of data between systems can be simplified and made even easier when your data is unified on a single platform. If you can unlock the potential of open banking, you can innovate, tap into new revenue streams, shake off the burden of legacy architecture, and ultimately, achieve a level of differentiation likely to bring in new customers. Watch the panel discussion to learn more about open banking and what it means for the future of banks.