AnandRathi

AnandRathi Innovates “at Breakneck Speed” on AWS

2021

Growing Demand for Modern Financial Services

India is expected to be the fourth-largest private wealth market by 2028. Rising income and proactive government reforms are driving demand for financial services in previously untapped sectors of the population. Established in 1994, AnandRathi is a financial services conglomerate with offices across the country. The firm has business interests in several verticals, including investment banking, insurance, and wealth management.
 
In mid-2019, the firm began overhauling its IT infrastructure to enact digital transformation. It had a large data center running multiple data-heavy workloads but wanted to move much faster to develop new digital services—without the maintenance burden and inevitable delays involved with provisioning new hardware. “We wanted to innovate at breakneck speed, and the cloud makes it very easy to prototype and experiment,” says Arpan Sen, chief technology officer at AnandRathi.
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Accuracy and scalability are at the heart of everything we do, and by using AWS and several of its off-the-shelf solutions, we can further our agenda significantly.

Amit Rathi
Managing Director at AnandRathi

 

Enabling Industrial Experimentation at Scale

AnandRathi began migrating to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in early 2020, choosing AWS for its reliability and breadth of cloud-native services. “By using AWS, we can conduct industrial experimentation at scale,” Sen says.
 
The firm also recognized that AWS services are secure by design, with sensitive financial data encrypted at rest and in transit. Furthermore, the ability to integrate on-premises workloads with AWS to extract maximum value from AnandRathi’s existing infrastructure was important. While the firm’s vision is to eventually go all-in on the cloud, some of its on-premises applications still have 3–5 years of remaining life and associated sunk costs.

Serverless Automates 24/7 Scalability

AnandRathi adopted a serverless approach to automate provisioning, using AWS Lambda with Amazon API Gateway. This approach enables the firm to scale around the clock without dedicating hardware or staff time to the task. Sen says, “Solutions like AWS Lambda ensure we can scale resources concurrently on demand, which provides a smooth user experience.” AnandRathi currently has about 150,000–200,000 API hits per month on its new serverless modules, with a failure rate of near zero to date.
 
Serverless architecture has been key in boosting performance for AnandRathi’s private wealth division, which has been experiencing 30 percent annual growth for three consecutive years. Serving the requests of thousands of clients simultaneously would have created a system bottleneck in its on-premises environment. “With serverless and AWS monitoring capabilities, we can scale as much as we want without worrying that a workload could bring the system down,” Sen says. 
 
AnandRathi’s new private-wealth transaction portal that was built using AWS serverless features is on track to notch almost $1 billion in annual mutual fund transactions, which is a significant sum in the domestic market. Additionally, uptime for the portal has been consistent at 99.9 percent. Achievements such as these give the firm’s salespersons confidence to pursue more private-wealth clients, who are discerning in their choice of provider.

Slashing Time Required for Big Data Processing

Investors often check their portfolios first thing in the morning, anxious to view how their assets have moved overnight. Waiting around for reports to download is not a viable option. Especially for the firm’s high net-worth clients, time is money. Number crunching is much faster on the AWS Cloud, with Amazon EMR  at the heart of AnandRathi’s big data processing.

Critical asset calculations are now performed 50 percent faster. With a completely new architecture built on top of AWS Lambda, asset reports are generated in a few seconds, down from 15 minutes on premises. This helps retain high-net-worth clients with busy schedules.

Clients and internal stakeholders such as wealth advisors are also benefiting from improved performance on AnandRathi’s service portals. AnandRathi has implemented Amazon CloudFront for low-latency content delivery on its websites and mobile app, and feedback has been positive. Most of the firm’s clients interact with their portfolios via mobile phones, so creating a consistent user experience across platforms was important. Operations team members now experience up to 40 percent faster navigation on internal sites, which has dramatically improved their productivity and ability to respond to client requests.

Improving Efficiency and Database Performance

Though the firm manages assets worth several billion US dollars, AnandRathi’s Wealthtech division runs with a nimble engineering team of 50. The team is now juggling more projects than people, thanks to the automation possible using managed services such as Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS).

Since its inception, the firm had been using a proprietary database, but it found that open source and AWS cloud-native databases offer the same—or better—performance for less engineering effort. “Amazon RDS is a great solution because we don’t have to invest precious engineering bandwidth in maintenance,” Sen says.  

Agile Delivery with Controlled Costs

To support its innovation agenda, AnandRathi has adopted an agile continuous delivery model. Every Friday, something goes into production, which the firm believes is key to retaining its edge in light of today’s dynamic business environment. “It’s a very tight ship and we can only run it this way because we rely on AWS services to keep us moving. Without AWS, it would take at least double or triple the time to get things to market,” Sen says.
Engineers at AnandRathi are encouraged to experiment and innovate, but experimentation is cost-controlled, with budgets set on a daily basis. Management, as well as engineering team members, have visibility into line-item costing so they can understand how much was spent on what projects each day. Since migrating to the AWS Cloud, the firm says engineers have a healthier appreciation of the total cost of ownership their applications incur. If a design requires a massive budget, chances are higher that it won’t be approved, which pushes teams to find more efficient means to the same end.

Chatbots and a new high-volume transaction system are prime examples of innovations that AnandRathi has launched efficiently on the AWS Cloud this year. Sen concludes, “Not only has AWS accelerated our digital transformation, but it is also helping us craft a vision for our future.”

AnandRathi’s positive experience with AWS extends beyond the company’s technology team. According to Amit Rathi, managing director at AnandRathi, “We are focused on building world-class technology solutions that can scale. Accuracy and scalability are at the heart of everything we do, and by using AWS and several of its off-the-shelf solutions, we can further our agenda significantly.” 

About AnandRathi

AnandRathi, one of India’s leading financial services firms, offers a range of services across wealth management, investment banking, and other sectors. Established in 1994, it takes on a client-centric approach that includes providing digital tools to improve the user experience.

Benefits of AWS

  • Ensures 99.9% uptime for private wealth transaction portal
  • Reduces processing time for client reports from 15 minutes to a few seconds
  • Enables weekly deployments and encourages experimentation
  • Provides detailed visibility into costing for management and engineers
  • Secures sensitive financial data at rest and in transit
  • Scales resources concurrently with serverless architecture
  • Supports 150,000–200,000 API hits per month with near zero failures

AWS Services Used

AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.

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AWS API Gateway

Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service that makes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale. APIs act as the "front door" for applications to access data, business logic, or functionality from your backend services.

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Amazon EMR

Amazon EMR is the industry-leading cloud big data platform for processing vast amounts of data using open source tools such as Apache Spark, Apache Hive, Apache HBase, Apache Flink, Apache Hudi, and Presto.

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Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment.

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