Santagostino is an Italian company that manages a network of outpatient clinics offering a wide range of high-quality specialist services at an affordable price. With 31 centers in Lombardy, Bologna and Rome, in recent years it has defined a continuous growth plan including opening new clinics and increasing remote medical care through mature and innovative technologies.
Creation of an Internal Developer Platform to increase internal DevX and to improve business support in terms of effectiveness
Although the existing tech stack already managed the whole ecosystem of clinics, doctors and patients, the continuous growth plan posed a new challenge in terms of organization and standardization of all internal digital services.
This challenge had two fundamental aspects. The first was to create an internal platform to centralize services and documentation, manage the entire lifecycle of services and simplify the work of the Santagostino developers. The second was to create a series of services to simplify the communication of the main internal products and allow the business to be supported effectively.
This would transform the patient experience by allowing individuals to book appointments, retrieve reports, among many other services.
Our collaboration with Santagostino began with an assessment which revealed that, despite their systems relying on one of the main Cloud Providers, their internal services did not respect shared standards. There were no CI/CD pipelines that could guarantee high-reliability releases and resource monitoring was not efficient. The preliminary analysis outlined an ecosystem not yet strong enough for releases and confirmed the need for a developer platform, something that the organization already perceived.
We chose Backstage to develop this application – an Open Source software released by Spotify that allows the creation of platforms to collect and register services, documentation and starter kits necessary to make the development teams’ work easier. The application was developed keeping in mind all the principles that make its use and maintenance quick and easy: the code and the CI/CD are on Github and the definition of the infrastructure is managed with Terraform. For the latter we have chosen the services of the Cloud Vendor already in use: AWS ECS, ECR, RDS, S3 e Cognito..
At the same time, we defined together with Santagostino the requirements of the starter kits that would allow them to create new microservices with shared and consolidated standards. The result was a list of starter kits developed on the basis these high-level requirements:
The new Developer Platform has allowed the Customer to collect all the documentation of the existing services and to speed up the development of the new ones without having to define, for each of them, CI/CD processes, infrastructure definition and monitoring. It also streamlined the process of onboarding new developers from the internal development team.
In about 3 months 20 services have been created with new features and which have replaced some old ones. Now they all share the same practices and are already being used successfully in production environments.
Chief Digital and Design Officer Santagostino