Leveraging BPM to Automate Back-End Payment Rules
Bonita BPM is helping this ecommerce, mcommerce payment services provider scale with new offers.
About Loop, Inc.
LoopPay, Inc., dba “Loop” is a full service payment service provider (PSP). It is also the world’s first and only m-Commerce (mobile commerce) platform provider, with a mobile wallet solution that works at 90 percent of retail locations today. The platform allows consumers to securely and conveniently make purchases using their smartphones, and allows merchants to easily promote deals and offers to their customers’ mobile devices, without heavy integration or cost. Loop also provides the most advanced mobile Point of Sale (POS) and checkout solutions seamlessly integrated with its mobile wallet and promotions system. The company leverages its patent-pending breakthroughs to create a solution that includes mobile peripherals, mobile apps, and cloud-based services to facilitate truly innovative next generation commerce.
Business Needs and the Process to be Automated
Loop faced a series of business challenges serving the payment needs of its two distinct markets – mCommerce and eCommerce.
On the mobile side, the company provides the back-end processing for credit card payments that consumers make on their phones. The secured transaction is very complex. The credit card company and the card-issuing bank each set up a series of tasks to verify the consumer’s number and authorize the payment. In addition, each different credit card company configures its processes differently – which adds even more complexity.
“If we’re going to build a payment system and we have to have customized rules for every provider, that gets chaotic,” said David Meyer, VP of Software Engineering with Loop “That’s where BPM comes in.”
On the consumer side, the issues are similar. Merchants use Loop’s service to handle credit card payments, and there are back-end processes each transaction must go through. The merchant accepts a payment, the customer pays by credit card, the card is read, and the transaction gets recorded by one of the credit card providers. Loop starts the payment processing itself, but according to legal rules, the company can’t actually process the transaction. It hands the transaction off to third-party processor such as Litle & Co.
For example, when Loop accepts a credit card number, it sends the number to the issuer. This information is encrypted in a proprietary protocol and data format. It includes an IP address, to determine where the transaction is coming from, the amount, the merchant ID, etc. – all in a very specific format. Each issuer requires different information, in an entirely different format.
Ten years ago, when Loop’s predecessor company started accepting eCommerce merchant applications, its only option was to create a back-end service that was essentially “hard-wired” for a single third-party processor. The service was written in Java code, and any changes required a major programming overhaul.
“Because the legacy stack was very cumbersome and hard to change, discussions with other processors were curtailed,” Meyer said. “We lost some business because of it. It would have taken too much work to make the changes.”
The Choice for Bonita BPM
The challenge, for Loop, was to find the right Business Process Management (BPM) engine to create automated processes for its mCommerce and eCommerce payment solutions. Loop embarked on its plan at the end of 2011. The company was looking for a system that worked well, would be easy to implement and use while effectively addressing Loop’s requirements.
The company looked at two systems – Bonita BPM and JBoss’s jBPM. Both are built on open source technology and both offer scalable architectures. An internal team evaluated both in a two-week trial, and chose the Bonitasoft solution at the conclusion of the trials.
“When I walked in, my opinion was to go with Bonitasoft,” Meyer said. “I had worked with it before and always had good experiences. Others on the team said they’d heard about it and wanted to try it out. We had to get into production quickly, and the Bonitasoft solution was much easier to implement. After a while, it was clear we would go with Bonitasoft.”
The Loop team found that Bonita BPM scaled as well as the JBoss solution but offered the ability to build out faster. Plus, Meyer said, the tool was much easier for programmers to use.
“The number one reason Bonitasoft was chosen was for its graphic design engine,” Meyer said. “The others are just not as mature -- not as easy to use. They don’t have the drag-and-drop (capability) that Bonitasoft does.”
In a previous position with an insurance provider, Meyer had led his team in the implementation of a claims processing solution based on rules developed using Bonita Open Solution. His team got its application up and running quickly and was able to fine tune aspects over the following years to generate more value for the company.
As Loop prepared to roll out its digital wallet and payment processes in the fall of 2013, Loop has made great progress creating rules using the Bonita BPM engine. They’ve used many of the connectors that come right out of the box with the Bonita solution – starting with LDAP, database and web services – and they plan to build some of their own connectors over time. They have successfully created and deployed rules, and have also modified existing rules for different processes.
The next goal, they say, will be to ensure seamless processes as the services scale up dramatically.
“The number one priority is scalability,” Meyer said. “We expect to go viral. It will be a major victory for us, over the next six months, as we scale from 25 to 500,000 users without experiencing any major issues. With Bonitasoft’s help, I have no doubt we’ll get there.”
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