sg-opinion-radoslav-ivanov
Industry Insights

Software Group achieved great success during Finastra’s hackathon

Hi Radoslav, ould you please tell us more about Finastra’s FusionOne Hackathon and Software Group’s participation in it? 

Software Group is a partner of Finastra and we are closely collaborating with their company’s product development team. One of the new platforms that Finastra is currently launching is called FusionFabric.cloud. This is Finastra’s take on Open APIs and, as part of building this, they organized a hackathon. This was an engineering event where we, as Finastra partner, were invited alongside many other teams to participate in. Some of the teams were from Finastra’s internal development and there were many external teams, including some of their clients. As part of the event, we and the other engineering teams had to work with the sandbox environment that Finastra had provided for FusionFabric.cloud.

Who was on the team from Software Group’s side and what was the project that you created during the hackathon?

The team from Software Group was composed of four people - Simeon Petkov, Kristiyan Todorov, Twan Burghouts and I. In the beginning, we had the opportunity to see the APIs that were going to be exposed. At that point, we had some initial ideas about what we can utilize from that technology in order to create a new product based on the Open API banking concept. We came up with the idea for an event payment ecosystem.
On the first day of the hackathon, we were introduced to the mentors from Finastra. Together with them, we were able to shape the idea in greater details. We managed to validate whether our idea was achievable with Finastra’s APIs. We got this confirmation and the encouragement from the mentors and after that, it was only a matter of execution. We managed to create a proof of concept of the event payment ecosystem.

It would be interesting to know more about the project. What were the main functionalities of the application that you created?

When we were designing the proof of concept for this event payment ecosystem, we utilized the Software Group’s experience in Agency Banking and building digital wallets. Using the concept of Agency Banking top-up of digital wallets, we created functionalities that allow the event-goers to top-up their digital wallet with real money and to use it to pay for everything at the event. We had customer-to-business (C2B) functionality which is “Pay to a merchant”. Our team managed to create also peer-to-peer (P2P) payments so that people could do things like split a bill or pay something on behalf of a friend. When the event is over, people using the app are able to refund the digital wallet into actual money through the agent concept. 

One of the key things for us was that the user experience was seamless and very intuitive. In order to achieve this, we created for all functionalities – either top-up, “Pay to a merchant”, P2P or refund – a concept in which we used QR codes for the interaction between the devices of the actors in the different use cases. We achieved this through a complex QR code that was handling most of the data transportation.

How much time did you spend in creating the proof of concept?

Actually, we had about 30 hours that we could use for development. Kudos to our colleagues Simeon and Kristiyan, they actually spent these 30 hours in coding.

Software Group was among the finalists. What were the criteria of the jury?

The first and most important thing was to utilize Finastra APIs as much as possible and the broader the set of APIs was used, the more points were gathered for the team. In addition to actually creating a proof of concept, we were also supposed to elaborate a business model and to describe what problem we were addressing, how we were different from existent solutions that address the same problem and what the potential revenue streams were that are associated with this solution.

We had to create a presentation about all these points and present it to the jury. The evaluation panel at the end of the event was divided into two sessions. Initially, each team was presenting their business plan, concept and product ideas and demonstrated to one of the jury members for around 5 minutes. We did this with six of the judges – it was like a repetitive speed dating experience. Since we managed to make the app fully functional and our concept had different actors participating during the demo, it was a lot of fun. 

We created event tickets for the jury, we asked them to pretend they were going to an event and each one of us played a role in it. I was usually the person who was carrying out the top-up or the refund at the end of the event. Simeon was a merchant, selling beer, crackers and coke, and Kristiyan was engaged in the peer-to-peer transfer. We managed to create an engaging role-play experience for the judges and I believe that this was our winning point.

What was the final ranking of Software Group?

After this initial round of evaluation, each team were given scores and there were five finalists from external teams. Software Group was in this group. There were also five finalists from Finastra’s internal teams. During the hackathon, they were working on expanding the FusionFabric.cloud platform and creating supplementary functionalities. It was great to see how a technology company is using an event of this kind to also boost its own development, the level of competition and appreciation for their internal development teams.

Thanks, Radoslav. And the last question - are you satisfied with the presentation of Software Group during the hackathon?

I believe that what we managed to deliver was a great success. Each one of us was very passionate about the project. We were confident that we were going to win, so this indicates our level of engagement and trust in our capabilities. Of course, the competition was really good, and not everyone could win. Software Group had the capability to present its ingenuity, the high skill set of our people and the technology that we utilize to do our daily work in such errands. I am sure that at the next event like this, we’re going to have similar or even better successes with another team.