The current trend in the finance industry is complete digitisation and adaptation to remote work. Digitalisation aims to eliminate manual work, increase document processing speed, and refine reporting and controlling inputs. The need to remotely access data from accounting systems and work with it in real-time is growing. At the same time, there is pressure to increase the security of processed data.
Revolgy has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. The demand for digitalisation of all processes grew hand in hand. Some of the challenges the company faced were the ability to work fully remotely while maintaining the efficiency of each department and the sustainability of costs (material procurement, operations, maintenance).
Revolgy Finance and Accounting department have expressed the need to transform and digitise their work processes as much as possible because they needed to scale their data.
"We needed easy to manage and cost-efficient cloud solution for our accounting processes and data, which is scalable and available from everywhere because we need to support work-life balance of our employees,” says Chief of Finance at Revolgy, Vladana Štefková
The Delivery and Finance teams analysed the current situation and technical setup and discovered an opportunity for innovation with desktop accounting software called Flexibee.
FlexiBee is accounting software with a desktop client and REST API endpoints (product of ABRA). Our goal was to create a flexible environment in which the accounting system would be accessible to employees from anywhere without a negative impact on security. Revolgy redesigned and migrated the whole solution to AWS. This resulted in reduced management of the whole solution, reduced Total Cost of Ownership and enhanced security. Using the AWS cloud solution, Revolgy has increased the efficiency of work in the Accounting team by enabling more work flexibility for their team members. "
"Using the cloud for our accounting system and other services, we were able to increase the efficiency of work in the accounting team, reduce accounting processing time and provide the data needed to manage the company in real-time,” says Tereza Janíčková, Financial Control Analyst, Revolgy
Original state at Revolgy
The Finance department accessed systems only from a single Windows instance. Users shared system resources. Department uses a full FlexiBee stack with a client, server and database. The Instance was running even when unused. Users were in Active Directory. Login procedure was long and not efficient via local computer, remote desktop protocol (RDP) Thinfinity and FlexiBee itself. The company faced the need for regular maintenance of Windows and FlexiBee.
The solution from technical point of view
We identified and successfully solved several problems. FlexiBee needed Postgres cluster superuser privileges. But RDS provided access only to individual databases. The Delivery team contacted Flexibee (ABRA) support department, but unfortunately RDS wasn't available.
We expanded our original idea - to use a Postgres cluster on separate Debian instances, primary/replicas configuration with failover, send WALs (Write-ahead logs) to S3.
But how to set up a failover? We tried to use a Postgres cluster on separate Debian instances, Primary/replicas configuration without failover, and sent WALs to S3. You may think Primary/replicas without failover is a bit pointless, right? So finally we use a Postgres cluster on a single Debian instance and send WALs to S3 as extra backup.
- Image - This is where the FlexiBee client is installed
- Fleet - Windows instance group, on-demand
- Stack - Houses per-user configuration and files
AppStream quite smoothly handles printing, clipboard sharing, and running necessary applications.
Making up for AppStream's unstable feature
We realised that using the integrated Google Drive connection was unstable. Instead, we've put a samba share on the server instance. We wanted to use EFS as a back of the samba share, but smbd didn't want to be friends with NFS. We also tried mounting EFS directly on Windows, but Windows only supports NFS v2 and v3. The shared directory is periodically backed up to S3.
"By moving to AWS, our team has learned how to navigate the cloud environment. All processes are markedly different from the previous (desktop) solution. The file storage is different, the approaches are different," says Chief of Finance at Revolgy, Vladana Štefková.
“Our cooperation made my work significantly easier. I didn't have to care about technical details or location. The Revolgy team came up with a very reasonable solution on how to deploy and use AWS maintenance-free solution,” says Tereza Janíčková, Financial Control Analyst, Revolgy.
What we achieved?
The transition to the cloud had a lot of benefits: easy availability of systems while maintaining a high standard of security; increased work efficiency; the ability to optimize costs over time and much more. The availability and flexibility of the internal accounting systems has increased tremendously as well.
“It has important financial advantages. If we didn't have this cloud solution, we would have to buy a server and provide management, security checks and maintenance. And the annual cost would be more than 30% higher than it is now,” says Chief of Finance at Revolgy, Vladana Štefková
We've put the application's components (database, API server, and user client) onto separate services. The API server is running on an EC2 instance, the database is running on a separate EC2 instance as well, and the client is running on AppStream.
We have a unified interface with separate resources for the finance team. We also have an easier way to log in, because SSO is set up between Google Workspace and AWS and the finance team can log in from anywhere on any browser. The only thing the user needs to do is click the AppStream icon in the application panel. Users feel that overall it is more responsive. Each user has to go through only two logins as opposed to three.
Because of Revolgy’s wide experience with successfully implementing AWS cloud services for their clients, the company is also transforming the on the inside.
Even though this was an internal project, our Delivery and Finance teams cooperated with the same level of care we provide to our clients. Our projects are led and implemented by experienced, certified cloud architects and engineers.
“To take advantage of these benefits as much as possible and as soon as possible, it is good to prepare and implement the transition to the cloud with a partner who has the experience and can effectively help manage this change, ” concluded Chief of Finance at Revolgy, Vladana Štefková
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