Netrix Robotizes KOIN's Migration to AWS

The Customer

KOIN is a pioneer in pay later solutions and online loans, and was acquired by Despegar in 2020. KOIN is the first fintech to enable consumers to pay for online purchases in installments with ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ solutions, or (BNPL), in Brazil, securely and without bureaucracy. The company continues to expand its portfolio with financial solutions for B2B and B2C, with regional operations throughout Latin America. Currently, in addition to Pix, the company includes the Anti-Fraud System, KOINPay, a complete payment platform and, recently, expanded its offer to the final consumer by launching Akin Shop, a marketplace that brings together the main brands in the market and offers the end customer the facility to buy with a variety of payment methods. With it, the partner brand can be part of a high-traffic customer platform and connect more easily and effectively with its target audience. The company’s goal is to contribute to the growth of two businesses and improve people’s lives, democratizing access to benefits and services, offering a better buying and selling experience to its customers.

The Challenge

Emiliano Gutiérrez, Director de Cloud&Plataform at KOIN explained, “Despegar is a big group mainly focused on travel and tourism, and they had a rough time during the pandemic. Overnight we had to focus on customer service, rather than sales. The structure and systems for customer service support hosted in the private cloud were not prepared for the volume of customer demand and uncertainty. After some unstable months, where we focused on scaling solutions, we managed to achieve some stability.

“Three years later, the travel industry is not yet back to pre-pandemic levels of activity, but we managed to get our heads above water and start thinking about how we could innovate and be better prepared for a similar situation.

Despegar acquired KOIN to pursue a comprehensive service strategy where they could offer payment and anti-fraud services, complementing it with the BNPL solution that KOIN had been offering prior to the acquisition.

“Despegar had a mature, rigorous solution on a private cloud, which hadn’t been designed for two organizations to use. Our BNPL solution was hosted on our KOIN cloud, and our payments and fraud solution were in Despegar’s private cloud. For things to be truly in order, we needed an environment that could host all of KOIN’s solutions and be separate from Despegar’s environment.

“KOIN needed a different solution that would stay separate from Despegar. The existing BNPL public cloud solution was very difficult to iterate. We thought that the best path forward would be a cloud solution that would allow us to host our three products and wouldn’t rely on the legacy KOIN infrastructure or Despegar’s private cloud.”

Santiago Novoa, Lead Engineer, KOIN, added, “Our platform was divided in two, not just technically but also culturally. We had the challenge to merge those worlds and at the same time remain compliant. KOIN needs to be compliant with American data regulations such as PCI DSS and SOX.”

The Solution

“KOIN also struggled with not knowing where to begin. Understanding what was actually needed was the first challenge. . We sought a partner that would not only help us build the solution, but also teach us on the way, so that we could have ownership of the solution. We evaluated several partners and found Netrix through AWS. Together we managed to accelerate the building of our cloud solution, which we couldn’t have done in the same timeframe or with the team that we had before. We are very satisfied with our choice,” said Mr. Gutiérrez.

The Results

Found a Balance with Netrix

“During the first stage of this project, we evaluated several options, all with different tradeoffs. We had to choose between ad hoc solutions built for us that would entail a long-term investment, versus a more generic solution that wouldn’t solve all our needs. With Netrix, we found a balance with a solution that accelerates processes. We were also able to customize the solution to KOIN’s needs without unnecessary delays or long-term projects lasting three years,” explained Mr. Gutiérrez.

Robotize Control Tower Provides Automation & Standardization

Netrix also implemented Robotize Control Tower, a Netrix packaged product that allows creation and management of AWS accounts using infrastructure-as-code. Robotize provides simple automation and standardization, reducing time required to manage accounts and create resources in AWS. Automated workflows such as AWS account creation and governance enabled KOIN to achieve increased efficiency and fewer errors.

“In three to four months, we built a new infrastructure in the cloud from scratch after a thorough discovery process, design on the solution, and testing on the go. I think it says a lot about the collaboration. We did this with a relatively small team, who now owns and maintains the solution. Maintenance is not a burden now,” said Mr. Gutiérrez.

A True Collaboration

“We used Netrix Robotize products to build the environment and also migrate our existing workloads. We customized the solution to our needs. The sync between the Netrix and KOIN teams was ideal. Netrix would focus on the technical issues that were probably a weak point in KOIN, and we would focus on specific business things. This wasn’t the usual client-vendor dynamic, but a true collaboration where the teams worked as one,” explained Mr. Gutiérrez.

Delivering Earlier Than Deadlines

Mr. Gutiérrez continued, “The Netrix team showed flexibility and even helped us achieve internal deadlines that were earlier than the project’s deadlines by readjusting the project flow. Everyone was helpful and flexible. Midway, we basically discarded our initial schedule and redefined it according to new needs, which I think is a highlight of the project. Netrix was open and supportive, even if we were being painfully rigorous and demanding with deliverables, from the first to the last.”

Mr. Novoa added, “We truly worked back-to-back. There was a lot of change. On the Netrix side, instead of pushing to stick to what had initially been agreed on, they were understanding of our business needs. Together we found a way to make it work, maintaining order and quality of work. We even had a situation when someone from the Netrix team left and was replaced with great success. The onboarding was smooth and at no point did it compromise the flow of the work being done.”

Doing Everything with Code

Robotize Control Tower and Robotize EKS work as KOIN’s interface to the cloud. Rather than working directly on the AWS console, KOIN does everything with code, and nearly everything with Robotize.

Mr. Gutiérrez added, “We managed to have our dev teams fully own the app lifecycle, leveraging Robotize as an interface to the cloud in combination with a Backstage and Jenkins powered platform.. They do not need an external team to operate the solution. We know it works and meets our needs.”

Focusing on Building the Business, Not Technical Admin

“KOIN has a total of 600 instances, workloads, and programs that must be migrated. Our plan is to migrate them all in 13 to 14 months, whereas this kind of project usually takes two or three years. In the first year alone, we will have migrated 300 applications. In the meantime, we have started working on cost optimizations, something we always wanted to focus on. There is much we could do with AWS services, and we are hoping to leverage those in the future. That will enable our dev team to focus more on building the business instead of technical admin,” concluded Mr. Gutiérrez.

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