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Case study
ReadQ Systems

ReadQ Systems consolidates five platforms into one with Servoy 

ReadQ Systems 

ReadQ Systems, headquartered in New York City, is a technology and service company founded in 1968. Their focus is to help financial institutions reduce operational overhead and succeed in their automation objectives. 

ReadQ’s QTIX system reduces costs and errors by putting traders and back-office personnel on the same platform. 

In short // TLDR


Group 1385

The old solution lacked features users demanded, and was hard to use


Changes were hard to make, and user interface improvements were nearly impossible

Modern IDE

Version control and consolidation were impossible without a modern IDE


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Easy to use

Developers found the Servoy platform intuitive and quick to pick-up


The solution was built on top of the existing Sybase data model, with extended capabilities


Reporting was streamlined and integrated; users can securely generate reports with 1 click

Full version

ReadQ Systems is a software company that provides trade lifecycle automation to the securities industry. Headquartered in New York City, the company has 45 years experience in helping financial service providers reduce overhead and succeed in their automation objectives. ReadQ clients range from smaller broker/dealers with one or two traders doing a few trades per day to some of the largest regional banks in the US doing thousands of trades per day.

The beginnings of ReadQ’s applications portfolio date back to the early 1970’s, to a time when green screens were considered state of the art. Over time, more features and functions were added – and more technologies. When they decided to completely re-engineer their software, ReadQ was using five different platforms: 

>>  Green Screens for back-office personnel to enter static reference data and some trade input. 

>>  A Sun OpenLook platform that was their first foray into a graphical UI in the 1990’s for trading of Repurchase Agreements and Collateral Management

>>  A Sybase PowerBuilder platform that was their second foray into a graphical UI in early 2000 for mortgage-backed TBA trade processing.

>>  Reports written in C. 

>>  BusinessObjects reporting that replaced some hard-coded reports written in C. 

In the end, this technology mix was preventing ReadQ from keeping up with a rapidly changing industry, and they began to feel “trapped” by the technology: It became more and more difficult to meet customer demands and expectations. It was very hard to win new customers, and once a sale was completed, implementing the new system required a massive IT effort. 

Last, but not least, it was nearly impossible to make any significant improvements to the system. End-users and developers were equally unhappy with the applications. The customers found the system difficult to use. 

Changes and bug fixes took a long time to be completed. User rights administration was insufficient. Workflows were laborious, users had to look at multiple screens and reports to get the data they needed. Data was not real-time, so they had to continually refresh the screen. The development team had to work with “dead” languages and uninteresting technology. It took a long time to program the simplest of changes. Insufficient debugging tools made troubleshooting more difficult than it should be. 

The lack of a modern integrated development environment (IDE) made development cumbersome. There were no version control tools. So, it was obvious that ReadQ needed a new technology platform – one that would allow them to replace the aging architecture and consolidate their multiple platforms into one. They began looking for a modern technology stack that was quick to learn, easy to use and simple to deploy.

“The Servoy platform supports a lean approach towards modernization of existing applications. This enabled us to build, with limited resources, a very competitive and compelling offering for the financial industry, delighting our customers’ end users.”

Robert Cardone // President, ReadQ.

In 2006, ReadQ started to figure out a game plan for their re-engineering project. Basic decisions needed to be made with regards to the programming environment (Java or .NET?) and the type of hosting (data center, private cloud or public cloud?). Other considerations to be taken into account related to the cost and effort to introduce a completely new platform, the migration path for existing customers, and the manpower, training and consulting requirements. 

After evaluation of several alternative development platforms, ReadQ selected the Servoy Business Application Platform as their environment of choice. And they had many good reasons for this decision: The rapid application development and proto-typing, the ability to easily extend the product through custom plug-ins developed in Java, and the ease of deployment were major advantages of the Servoy platform. 

The ReadQ team also found the Servoy platform to be extremely flexible and future-proof: It is database-agnostic, can be hosted onsite or in the cloud on one single platform, and uses the same code for smart clients, web clients and mobile clients. Reporting could be streamlined and tightly integrated. While the old application required BusinessObjects for reporting – with a separate login, which represented a clear security risk, the Servoy platform offers integrated reporting, and the users can generate reports with one single click. 

ReadQ has always worked in Unix/Linux environments, so they felt much more comfortable with Java than they would have with Microsoft .NET, and appreciated the familiar IDE, built off the industry standard Eclipse. Given all these advantages, ReadQ was convinced that the development team would be able to adapt to Servoy easily. And they knew there was a large Servoy community out there to which they could reach out at any time. 

“A big key for our success was that our legacy developers were able to pick up Servoy quickly”

“A big key for our success was that our legacy developers were able to pick up Servoy quickly”, says Robert Cardone, President of ReadQ. “We are a software company first and foremost, so we knew that the development and maintenance needed to be in-house.” Therefore, ReadQ decided to phase out the consultants, whom they had utilized for training and the initial start of the migration, after several months when the on-site developers were comfortable with Servoy and able to rely on the forum and other sources. One major goal of the reengineering was to consolidate the five existing platforms – Green Screens, OpenLook, C reports, PowerBuilder, BusinessObjects – into one. 

The development team replaced each platform, one at a time, while the other platforms were still in use. In parallel, they designed a new user interface, as a smart client which met the user requirements better than a web client. 

As for the database, Servoy was put on top of the existing Sybase data model. The database was extended with new tables to support new features, while some tables were deprecated for improved performance. ReadQ’s new, Servoy-based platform was named QTIX and successfully launched in 2009 after only 6 man-months of development with only one developer.

Since then, a dedicated Servoy development team has been put in place – and thousands of improvements have been added since the platform was first launched. Existing customers have been upgraded to the new platform. And the ReadQ sales force is getting new wins on a regular basis. 
“The Servoy platform supports a lean approach towards modernization of existing applications”, says Robert Cardone. “This enabled us to build, with our limited resources, a very competitive and compelling offering for the financial industry, delighting our customers’ end users.” All of the separate platforms are now in the same architecture, providing a single system to the end users. With one login and the consistent look and feel of an intuitive user interface, they have easy access now to all the information they need, consolidated into specific views.

Maintenance and enhancements are much more manageable and completed faster. Bug fixes and enhancements can be made in a timely fashion, and a more sophisticated user rights administration enables better risk management. Training new staff on how to use the application is much faster and easier than before, because of the consistent user interface, integrated applications and streamlined workflows. 

With the new platform, real-time data is automatically displayed. No need to push the Refresh button all the time. Enhanced and integrated reporting is provided as a standard, using integrated reporting. 

The developers work with current-state technologies that are industry standard and have large active developer communities. The IDE is modern, extendable, and also an industry standard. The bulk of the coding work relates to business logic and process flow now, not to simple routine tasks. 

For standard functions, developers do not have to write their own components, but can integrate ready-made functionality provided by Servoy. This improves development productivity and accelerates the time-to-market. The Servoy platform is easy to learn and easy to use. At ReadQ, a Java developer is now up to speed in weeks rather than in months. Last, but by no means least: Servoy turned out to be an extremely cost-effective solution.
With the Servoy platform, the development team found exactly the environment they needed to successfully develop QTIX, the new ReadQ system which provides broker-dealers with a robust yet user-friendly solution that is easy to implement. But their ambitions do not stop there – the next enhancements are already in the works. Future versions of QTIX will, for instance, provide even more analytics. 

As Robert Cardone puts it: “The more reports we provide, the more our customers want. With the integrated reporting features, Servoy makes it easy for us to meet these requirements.” 

In the future, ReadQ Systems might also offer their QTIX platform in international environments, for instance to traders in India, South Korea or other parts of Asia. The necessary adaptations could easily be made, as the Servoy platform provides all the required flexibility – together with a range of valuable services and high-quality support that the Servoy team gives to their customers. And ReadQ is becoming part of this team, as the company recently decided to offer Servoy consulting services.
The end

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