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Leveraging on Microsoft to Take Diligent Decisions

By Harsh Sood, CTO, Fareportal

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Harsh Sood, CTO, Fareportal

Fareportal is currently the fastest-growing online travel brand. As a world’s leading online travel company, we are able to host world’s top visited travel sites with multiple brands (CheapOair.com, OneTravel.com), multiple devices (adaptive designs for tablets and mobile), multi – country sites (CheapOair.ca, CheapOair. co.uk), multi lingual (CheapOair.mx) using Microsoft’s MVC platform and Web Forms platform to serve millions of customers every day. CheapOair is currently the fourth largest online travel agency in the U.S., so that ability to serve millions of queries to millions of travelers in different languages, site or device they prefer, is critical.

Microsoft has provided technology and products and solutions which power our massive growth. It's an end-to-end solution from application development on .Net, ALM on TFS with geographically dispersed teams, Orders data collection in SQL Server, reporting / BI on SSAS and SSRS and then easy integration with AX makes our lives very easy. Both of Fareportal's brands, CheapOair and OneTravel, are a Microsoft.net shop and 95 percent of our development and infrastructure is on Windows. We use full stack of Microsoft from Server Softwares, Visual Studio. Net for Development, TFS for ALM, ASP.Net for our applications and MS SQL Server for our databases, SSAS for BI and reporting. We made a very conscious decision to go with Microsoft as it provides significant gains in reducing costs and raising productivity compared to using Open Source Technologies. We are able to manage large database clusters with just one onsite DBA, launch applications faster with TFS Scrum Templates and produce high quality code using Code Coverage tools. We also use Azure to reduce costs by storing our blob objects.

We are able to deploy our multi faceted applications built on Microsoft stack easily in new geographies and languages. CheapOair currently has more than 30 different language sites and we add new ones every month.

“We made a very conscious decision to go with Microsoft as it provides significant gains in reducing costs and raising productivity compared to using Open Source Technologies”

From inception, Fareportal has been a very data driven organization, and we would rank ourselves very high on the lag side of the Analytics. But there is so much to do on the lead side of the Analytics – which is the predictive analytics, forecasting real time revenue optimizations and one to one user personalization. Ecommerce organizations like ours have to maintain an edge on Big Data technologies and Data Science to make the right offer at the right price to the right customers at the right time. CIOs should be looking the organization more from the data standpoint and use Data as a Product to drive biz value and competitive advantage.

Implementation of ERP has been a challenge. Since ERP is a specialized area, my recommendation is to look to engage experts in the area to avoid costly delays. TFS is a great ALM and global team collaboration tool. Also, the new versions of VS.Net with Web API, MVC and Web Forms give our developers a blend of technologies to work with. The Integrated approach of complete full stack of Asp. Net, Visual Studio.net, TFS, MS SQl Server from one vendor really makes rapid development and innovation possible, while maintaining your code.

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