GlobalX: Enabling digital transformation for lawyers and conveyancers with automated workflow

About GlobalX

Founded in 1994, GlobalX is an award-winning technology provider with operations in Australia and the United Kingdom. The company specializes in innovative software and legal support services used by legal, conveyancing, accounting, property, and financial professionals. Sixty percent of law firms in Australia use GlobalX.

Industries: Technology
Location: Australia

GlobalX migrated to Google Cloud to deliver robust, user-friendly applications for identity checks and information searches.

Google Cloud results

  • Improves development process with daily releases rather than a six-week work cycle
  • Enhances usability on GlobalX search portal, resulting in 30% higher than market search volumes
  • Saves more than AU$20,000 a month in licensing costs by moving to Google Cloud
  • Gains operational efficiencies by developing microsites in parallel, without merge conflicts

Speeds up time to market without dedicated QA resources

The property market is in constant flux, which means that legal and conveyancing firms need to leverage technology to stay competitive and minimize business risks. Deloitte expects that by 2022, the majority of Australian conveyancing transactions, from customer on-boarding to post-settlement notifications, will be conducted electronically.

GlobalX knows that it needs to move quickly with improvements and new products to meet customer needs. But the company was experiencing challenges to innovation in its legacy environment, which was a mix of disparate systems and data sources. It weighed its options: stay on-premises and try to work around its issues, or migrate to the cloud and take advantage of new technology. In 2018, the company decided to move its entire data center to Google Cloud.

“Fiscal year 2019 was the most successful year in our company’s history. We experienced revenue growth of 30% in the fourth quarter with the launch of our SaaS-based workflow software on Google Cloud.”

Peter Maloney, Chief Executive Officer, GlobalX

“The ease of dealing with Google Cloud is second to none,” says David Hobley, CIO at GlobalX. “From a cost perspective, Google Cloud offers pay-as-you-go pricing without up-front commitment. Running microservices in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) requires less space, so we don’t need a dedicated VM for each service.”

Since moving to Google Cloud, GlobalX introduced two new cloud-native solutions to help lawyers and conveyancers improve efficiency and reduce risks. Matter Centre Projects is an industry-first project management tool for large-scale multi-lot property developments while IDSecure is a verification of identity (VOI) app for practitioners on the go.

“Fiscal year 2019 was the most successful year in our company’s history,” says Peter Maloney, Chief Executive Officer at GlobalX. “We experienced revenue growth of 30% in the fourth quarter with the launch of our SaaS-based workflow software on Google Cloud.”

Managing a smooth transition to Google Cloud

GlobalX migrated from on-premises to Google Cloud in a five-month sprint. The company consolidated 48 on-premises servers to two GKE clusters. The team transitioned the development, staging, and production separately.

“Our developers embraced the move to Google Cloud once they discovered how easy it is to develop and deploy .NET Core apps with their existing C# language skills,” says David.

GlobalX uses Terraform, an open-source infrastructure as code software tool, to automate software delivery on Google Cloud instead of manual deployment. The environment is completely scripted, so the team can fire up an environment at the click of a button.

“Google Cloud speeds up developer tooling and gives us the ability to release solutions via continuous integration pipelines,” says David. “We can now spin up an environment from automated scripts, rather than spending months hand-rolling a solution.”

“A major benefit of deploying microservices to Google Cloud is segmentation. Our developers can now build loosely-coupled microservices with Kubernetes that reduce dependency conflicts and speed up time to market.”

David Hobley, Chief Information Officer, GlobalX

Improving speed to market with microservices on Google Kubernetes Engine

“A major benefit of deploying microservices to Google Cloud is segmentation,” David adds. “Our developers can now build loosely-coupled microservices with Kubernetes which reduce dependency conflicts and speed up time to market. In our legacy environment, applications shared code and resource requirements so changes could impact other components, but this is no longer the case.”

“When we identify market opportunities, we need to act fast before competitors fill the gap. On Google Cloud, we’re able to build high-quality products in a shorter time. Matter Centre Projects is a case in point,” says David.

Lawyers and conveyancers used to manage 100-unit projects on complicated spreadsheets, until GlobalX introduced Matter Centre Projects, a project management tool for tracking large-scale property projects accurately on demand. Users can generate reports with real-time data such as purchase prices and deposits, instead of manually compiling and sharing spreadsheets.

“We used to take 12 to 18 months to build new software. Because applications were tightly coupled, different product development teams had to agree to merge codes and hope nothing falls over in the process. In comparison, we took three months to design, develop, and deploy Matter Centre Projects on Google Cloud,” says David.

GlobalX uses a contract-first approach for building applications such as Matter Centre Projects on GKE, meaning that the product delivery team writes out the API documentation before writing the software. Publishing the API design helps other team members understand how the system works.

From the documented design, developers scaffold the APIs and then jump into implementation with automated testing to validate that it all works. The team then builds the UI for those services from the same APIs that our customers use. Building microservices applications helps GlobalX save development time and costs, since the code for common features can be reused in other projects.

Minimizing cybersecurity risks and property fraud with Google Cloud

Research by GlobalX and the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association shows that 79% of Australasian legal professionals are concerned about cybersecurity, but only 21% have confidence that their firm would be able to handle a cyberattack.

“During our cloud discovery process, we found that public cloud is inherently easier to secure than on-prem solutions,” David shares. “For example, Google Cloud protects customer data at rest and in transit with encryption and ciphers. In terms of availability, we run workloads and store data within Australia across multiple Google Cloud zones to ensure no single point of failure.”

In GlobalX’s legacy environment, developers had to authenticate five times against the different endpoints. GlobalX reduces security complexities by using Cloud IAM to grant access to cloud resources. On Cloud Console, users can only access what they need based on their project scope.

At the same time, GlobalX has introduced its IDSecure App hosted on Google Cloud to help clients minimize personal data risks such as identity theft. The app, previously available as a web-based system, provides a robust single entry point to conduct VOI on mobile devices.

“We’ve had great feedback about user experience since moving to Google Cloud. One customer shared that the IDSecure App looks great and provides an easy workflow to record proof of performing a Verification of Identity.”

Lara Paholski, Executive General Manager, IDSecure Australia

VOI is a vital part of the house-buying process to prevent fraud in property transactions. Clients minimize risks to personal information by uploading VOI documents, such as photos and ID documents, to a secure cloud platform instead of trusting them to their own servers and physically storing data in filing cabinets.

“We’ve had great feedback about user experience since moving to Google Cloud. One customer shared that the IDSecure App looks great and provides an easy workflow to record proof of performing a Verification of Identity,” says Lara Paholski, Executive GM at IDSecure Australia. “IDSecure allows lawyers and conveyancing firms the flexibility to conduct a VOI from anywhere and at any time, offering peace of mind to buyers and sellers that their personal information is secure on an encrypted system.”

The IDSecure App can be used offline, unlike its previous web-based system that requires an internet connection to operate. Users save valuable time by conducting VOI offline when there’s little or no internet connectivity. Once connectivity is restored, the app encrypts the VOI information and completes the VOI process. The information is then transferred from the app to Cloud Storage for secure archiving.

Creating value from big data in Google Cloud

“The next piece of our project is moving legacy workflow solutions from a legacy cloud to the modern Google Cloud. Once we’ve migrated our SQL database to Cloud SQL, our AU$22,000 a month licencing fees will drop to zero,” says David.

GlobalX currently stores 60 GB of data across multiple databases. The data volume grows with each search query. When a customer orders a title search on GlobalX, the result is stored in the cloud for the customer’s historical record. Moving forward, GlobalX plans to store and analyze metadata to improve product offerings.

About GlobalX

Founded in 1994, GlobalX is an award-winning technology provider with operations in Australia and the United Kingdom. The company specializes in innovative software and legal support services used by legal, conveyancing, accounting, property, and financial professionals. Sixty percent of law firms in Australia use GlobalX.

Industries: Technology
Location: Australia