Performance & stability of Blue10
Last update: June 2022
The most important, yet often forgotten software features, are performance and stability. Unfortunately, we have been experiencing setbacks and technical malfunctions in our Blue10 software for a while now. This prevents us from delivering the service and quality we strive for every day. We are aware that this has to be improved. This is why we have started rebuilding our software from scratch in the Summer of 2020.
Our software dates from 2007 and it has been challenging to keep it all up-to-date over the past years. Moreover, scaling up and adding new features to the old software often led to an overload at peak times. We are now rebuilding our software with a cloud-native structure, which allows us to scale up automatically whenever we need to.
We are continuing to build, update, and migrate our software step-by-step. You can compare this to replacing the engine of a car while it’s driving, changing one part at a time. It has to keep moving, so we have to be very careful when taking our steps.
The import process – from receiving documents to and including validating (verifying) documents
The main issue with our old software was our import process. In other words, all processes between receiving a document and recognizing the data on this document. The import process consists of three important background processes:
- Import: Retrieving e-mails from the mailboxes of our customers
- Convert: Retrieving, converting and processing PDF documents included in these e-mails
- Recognise: Recognising and interpreting these documents and presenting the results to the user
These processes are located on our Dashboard in the steps Import, Classify & Verify. The import process is completed when a Blue10 user successfully validates a document. In all sub domains of the import process Blue 10 has experienced delays, mainly during peak times. With the rebuild of all parts in the import process, we no longer experience any delays. In fact; the time of processing a document – from receiving the document to recognizing the document – has been reduced from minutes to sometimes hours to seconds.
In the summer of 2021, we phased out one of our recognition engines, the traditional OCR technology. Since then, we rely on a self-developed neural network that improves recognition quality and works many times faster than traditional OCR. This was the first step in the complete rebuilding of document recognition.
In the meantime, we have been developing a completely new recognition domain for over a year, which is future-proof for Blue10. Being: a platform that can scale up and down with the growth of Blue10 and is able to recognize other document types in the long term.
The roll-out of such a completely renewed recognition domain is a diligent process that is rolled out in phases. The current recognition engine is used until we are fully migrated to our new recognition platform, expected to be in Q3 2022. It goes without saying that the current recognition engine is continuously monitored with the aim of having and maintaining insight into whether the recognition engine functions at the desired quality and reliability level.
We have noticed that unfortunately, a considerable amount of our users have been experiencing problems with the speed of our websites. For example, navigating through the daily Blue10 screens such as Verify, Post and Approve, or searching for specific documents in the Archive. Back in 2007, we did not take the current +-25k active daily users into account. We are continuously monitoring our websites, but sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint the causes of delays on our old websites. Most of the time, our system catches up automatically.
In May 2021 our logging and monitoring showed instability in the performance of our website. This led to short malfunctions for our users. Our logging and monitoring showed us some parts of our websites were using too much memory, which made them slow or sometimes even unreachable. We have added a fix at the start of June 2021 to improve the performance of our old websites. This fix stabilised the websites.
Rebuild of our software: New websites
Since the summer of 2020 we have been working on a long-term solution for the technical challenges we have been facing: a complete rebuilt of all Blue10 websites.
Most features on our new sites will be similar to our old ones. Our primary focus is the performance and stability as mentioned before. Our new websites will also introduce our new interface – similar pages with some small improvements.
Users with the roles Check and Approve have been migrated to our new sites and interface in the first quarter of 2021. Initially, our plan was to migrate all users with these roles to the new interface. However, we quickly came to the conclusion that we needed to migrate environments in one go. This is also the reason why we haven’t posted an update in a while about the developments of the new interface.
For this group of beta customers we have also migrated the users with the roles Post and users with Administrator rights in November 2021.This group of customers now fully make use of the new Blue10 environment.
In the first quarter of 2022, we migrated customers who work with the integrations Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Finance & Operations, Microsoft Business Central and FinMaster to the new interface. In the second quarter, we have migrated customers with the remaining integrations. At this moment, June 2022, a significant amount of users are working in the new interface. In the new interface, the performance is stable and we have greatly improved logging and monitoring so, at the moment delays occur, we can quickly identify and solve these problems. The remaining customer environments will be migrated in phases in the upcoming months. Read more about the rollout of the new interface in this blog.
Last but not least
We started the complete rebuild of our software in 2020 to ensure the stability of our product in the future and to continue the growth of recent years. For you as a customer, this can make it seem as if the development of new functionalities has come to a standstill. As you have read in this blog, we are currently working hard on a stable base, so that we can add new functionalities in the coming years. An example of this is the addition of contract management in May 2022. We were able to add this to the new interface, because it has a stable base. In the future we will therefore add more functionalities, such as the link between an invoice and contract. In addition, we are hoping to improve our user experience of frequently used screens in Blue10 – because we know they could use an update. When approving invoices, we will also show smart insights that help you check and approve invoices. We have plenty of ideas, but first we will make sure that you can rely on the most valuable feature of a software solution: the daily availability and speed of Blue10.