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S&P Global Market Intelligence Delivers WSO SaaS Platform Using Amazon AppStream 2.0


S&P Global Market Intelligence delivers unrivalled insights and leading data and technology solutions. Its suite of WSO Software and WSO Services supports investment firms, banks, and other financial institutions. Wanting to improve its service, S&P Global Market Intelligence used Amazon AppStream 2.0 to launch a software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of its WSO suite globally to customers through a web browser without an
application rewrite.

Amazon AppStream 2.0 is a fully managed application and desktop streaming service that helps customers securely provision user access to applications and resources they need, anywhere, anytime, and from any supported device. By migrating WSO to Amazon AppStream 2.0, S&P Global Market Intelligence reduced its time to market and gained the ability to scale quickly without procuring or managing application streaming infrastructure.

Members of the IHS Markit team

Using Amazon AppStream 2.0, we can now perform upgrades in near real time during business hours with zero downtime.”

Michael Bland
Head of Cloud Engineering for WSO, S&P Global Market Intelligence

Driving SaaS Transformation Using Amazon AppStream 2.0

S&P Global Market Intelligence's WSO suite provides tools that help investment managers in the credit markets perform key functions such as compliance monitoring, reporting, and trade settlement. WSO Software includes customer positions, trades, and portfolios and provides multi asset-class credit portfolio administration solutions for investment managers. Customers can install WSO Software locally or outsource the deployment to S&P Global Market Intelligence. “We previously used terminal server farms for our outsourced model,” says Thomas Burgess, head of cloud solutions for WSO. “Multiple users were logged on to a single server, which caused performance issues when we were operating at peak volume.” This approach also made it difficult for S&P Global Market Intelligence to deploy consistent updates and for customers to take advantage of new WSO features.

S&P Global Market Intelligence realized that using a SaaS approach would help alleviate this complexity and streamline the update deployment process. Having used AWS services since 2015, the company engaged the AWS team and evaluated how Amazon AppStream 2.0 could help S&P Global Market Intelligence launch a SaaS model of its WSO software. S&P Global Market Intelligence was attracted to the evergreen model and self-managed scaling of Amazon AppStream 2.0. In 2017, it began to explore the solution using a proof of concept. “We wanted to see whether a streaming application like Amazon AppStream 2.0 would work well to serve content to our users,” says Burgess. “We found that this server model was both cost effective and scalable for the business.” Once S&P Global Market Intelligence proved that it would be able to run WSO on Amazon AppStream 2.0, it began migrating from terminal server farms to a managed service model on AWS.

Streamlining Deployment Using Amazon AppStream 2.0

Using Amazon AppStream 2.0, S&P Global Market Intelligence scaled WSO’s infrastructure without procuring or managing hardware, unlocking key benefits for its customers and business alike. By using Amazon AppStream 2.0, S&P Global Market Intelligence has reduced the time it takes to onboard customers to WSO from months to just hours. Because the company no longer needs to procure hardware to support onboarding, it also reduced operating costs.

The WSO team can deploy a high volume of new application releases within a short period using Amazon AppStream 2.0, decreasing time per release from 40 hours to just 3 hours. This solution has also improved WSO’s upgrade process. “Using Amazon AppStream 2.0, we can now perform upgrades in near real time during business hours with zero downtime,” says Michael Bland, head of cloud engineering for WSO. “When customers are ready to use our new features, they simply log out of WSO, log back in, and receive updates. This solution hugely improves our release process and helps us perform upgrades with no interruptions to our business or our customers.” By implementing Amazon AppStream 2.0, the WSO team has reduced its upgrade cycle from 18 months to 3 months, accelerating its speed to market. By November 2021, it had completed 600 releases during that year alone.  

S&P Global Market Intelligence's WSO is able to scale applications and desktops quickly using Amazon AppStream 2.0 to support any number of users around the globe. As a result, the company can facilitate customers’ access to critical applications from any location, including remote areas. “Having the ability to remotely access WSO through a streaming browser has been very powerful for our customers,” says Burgess. “And due to our ability to release code, patches, and new applications quickly, all our customers can access the latest functionality and regulatory updates.”

The WSO team has used Amazon AppStream 2.0 to federate end user access using single sign-on to provide applications access to its WSO users. The company gave customers Active Directory credentials that it managed on their behalf, separate from their corporate directories. It then used native functionality on Amazon AppStream 2.0 to facilitate secure communications between the system and the customer’s Active Directory identity provider. “We built a pipeline that passes federated Security Assertion Markup Language 2.0 messages to the customer’s identity provider,” says Burgess. “We consume those messages for user authentication. This process removes the burden of us managing Active Directory users and helps our customers self-manage any onboarding processes they may have within their organizations.”

Planning the Way Forward on AWS

Using Amazon AppStream 2.0, S&P Global Market Intelligence has modernized its WSO suite using a SaaS framework, unlocking benefits for scalability, performance, and time to market.

About S&P Global Market Intelligence

S&P Global Market Intelligence delivers unrivalled insights and leading data and technology solutions.

Benefits of AWS

  • Reduced time to deploy new applications from 40 hours to 3 hours
  • Reduced onboarding times from months to hours
  • Facilitates secure single sign-on access
  • Provides access to critical applications from any location
  • Reduced complexity for clients during remote working conditions
  • Reduced upgrade cycles from 18 months to 3 months
  • Migrated without outages affecting clients
  • Upgraded to AppStream 2.0 without interruption to users

AWS Services Used

Amazon AppStream 2.0

Amazon AppStream 2.0 is a fully managed non-persistent desktop and application service for remotely accessing your work. Deliver Software as a Service (SaaS) versions of applications without rewrites, special hardware, or device installs; ideal for training, trials and software demonstrations.

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