In August 2016, Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) learned that Google Search Appliance – a rack-mounted solution used for data indexing – was set to be replaced by a 100 percent cloud-based solution that would no longer be feasible in a financial institution environment due to data security and compliance issues.

In other words, DCU needed a new solution – and fast.

Jane Fontaine, VP of human resources and training at Digital Federal Credit Union
Jane Fontaine, VP of human resources and training at DCU

“We compiled a list of vendors to review, and after proceeding through the demonstration phase, we were able to narrow down our proof of concept to two companies,” said DCU’s Vice President of Human Resources and Training, Jane Fontaine.

DCU ended up partnering with the Marco Island, Fla.- based Yippy, Inc. The technology company, founded in 2009, specializes in enterprise search and data unification.

“Our product is an all-in-one solution that includes search technology, content connectors, security and user interface,” said Yippy’s President John Macartney. “Most of our competitors utilize third party contractors, which causes delays and security issues.”

Macartney explained that Yippy’s search technology uses the same algorithms that drive IBM’s Watson Explorer. To date, the company counts one CU as a client and is working with two large international banks.

“We offer our clients search as a service, which provides a totally managed system,” he said. “Nearly all our clients use this option and they are saving a lot of resources and man hours.”

Making the transition

The $8 billion Marlborough, Mass.-based DCU supports 688,664 members, 1,219 employees and 22 branches. When contemplating the switch from GSA to Yippy, Fontaine said she and her team had trepidations regarding data security issues.

“Security is extremely important to us. Yippy’s on-premise solution presented us with the option to keep our data onsite to meet our security and compliance needs,” said Fontaine. “Yippy also allows us to deliver permissioned based content to the appropriate users.”

To ensure the platform is compliant and secure, Macartney explained that Yippy has “flexible access control integration,” including Active Directory, SSO, LDAP and ACLs that provide “field level” security.

“This insures that only the documents a user or group has permission to access will be available in the search results,” he said. “This tool helps organizations lock down abandoned files from their legacy systems and giving compliance departments a window into all content.”

From a reliability standpoint, DCU “purchased a backup appliance” to have high availability. Following the installation of the appliance, Fontaine said the “proof of concept phase” was up and running in a day.

“We spent some additional time customizing the user interface to keep it consistent with our branding. At that point, thanks to the proof of concept, we were able to have an employee focus group partake in the process and provide feedback,” said Fontaine, who added that the solution was officially going live in early November 2017.

“We did a side-by-side comparison with our existing search to see how the new product would perform,” she said. “Our employees immediately loved the search experience, helping to solidify our decision.”

One of the reasons Fontaine said DCU selected Yippy was due to the company’s pledge to provide a 60 day “no fee” proof of concept. Macartney added that he wants prospective clients “to see the power of our technology” prior to making a purchasing decision.

“We offer a comprehensive on-site training program, user manual and walk our clients through the admin console should they want to self-manage the system after installation process is complete,” he said.

Search speed time dramatically reduced

From an in-house technology perspective, some of DCU’s 48 technology employees, the Information Systems team, completed the initial installation of the appliance.

“Our configuration took place via WebEx with the team from Yippy,” said Fontaine. “Our Information Systems team went through the process of setting up credentials for each of our data sources and assisted with the setup for our single sign on.”

DCU’s “proof of concept” test period provided tangible, proactive results. Prior to running the solution, for example, search speeds were cumbersome.

“We have significantly cut down the time to present a search result to our user from 21.5 seconds to one second, which is critical to our employees to provide the best member experience,” said Fontaine. “The indexing time for new or updated content has been dramatically reduced as well, going from 4-plus hours to under two hours.”

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