When Peter Hess took the reigns as CEO of Advent Software in 2012, he recognized an immediate need. Advent had built a winner with its desktop portfolio accounting software, growing a global customer base across 60 countries that used the software to manage a whopping $14 trillion of assets. But Hess knew desktop software was giving way to a new world of cloud-based business applications accessible at the desk and on the go via user-friendly interfaces. Advent had to move to the cloud to maintain their edge.

With investors watching the company closely, Hess knew he had to make the move fast. And with customers relying on the company to manage trillions in client assets, Advent couldn't afford service disruption during the move. Talk about mission critical.

So here's what happened:
 
Process

With little time for discovery or ramp-up, Presence hit the ground running, embedding a development team to work side-by-side with Advent developers and stakeholders. The team selected technologies, defined architectural designs, and prototyped new features as the scope of the project began to take shape.

Migrating a full suite of desktop software to the cloud is no simple task. Advent's product needed a complete design and UI makeover, new architecture under the hood, and a slew of new features and widgets. So Presence expanded its team, creating cross-functional groups with with Advent experts that allowed for rapid development, testing, and iterating on prototypes from early on in the process.

Results

Short agile development cycles with an emphasis on rapid learning paid off quickly, resulting in faster development yielding higher quality products than before Advent brought Presence onboard. A key part of the product development cycle was the inclusion of regular skill transfer sessions to augment daily side-by-side work. The sessions allowed Advent devs to increase their own skills and learn agile methodologies as they worked, leaving them better prepared to continue development after the Presence engagement had ended.

In less than a year, Advent built and launched a cloud-based suite of products without disrupting service to its considerable user base. Advent saw its stock rise nearly 10% over three days.The results were good, to put it mildly: Advent Direct launched at Advent's user conference in Fall 2013. After demo'ing the product to analysts at the conference, Advent saw its stock rise nearly 10% over three days. A little over a year later, Advent agreed to be acquired at a premium by SS&C in February 2015.

Constant iteration led to a desktop- and mobile-friendly design.
Advent Hero

With any client engagement, the goal is twofold: 1. Get the job done, and done well. 2. Leave the client in great shape to excel once our work is done.

Working with Advent gave us the opportunity to leverage agile methodologies and skill transfer sessions as part of daily client work. Embedding our development team within Advent's group let us do what we do best: Help a client build a killer product while also building its own technical and business process skills.