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Company Secretarial Software

Atlas worked with Inform Direct creating a prototype to identify and mitigate any risks inherent in their requirements

Inform Direct is award winning company secretarial software that helps companies keep their records up to date and remain compliant.

In 2012 Atlas began work with Inform Direct – initially creating a prototype to identify and mitigate any risks inherent in the requirements.

As Inform Direct continues to move from strength to strength Atlas works in partnership to provide flexible software development resourcing.

Customer Benefits

  • Access – 100% online with no need to download software, register, import, and go.
  • Advantage – Automated alerts keep staff and customers up to date on approaching deadlines.
  • Efficient – Get information right first time, as the system checks data as it is entered.
  • Powerful – The complete data of Companies House in an easier to use format and system.
  • Saves Time – Staff and customers can manage company data in minutes instead of hours.
  • Simplicity – Software wizards make it easy to manage existing company records and form new ones.

Mitigating risk


The Inform Direct system relies heavily on the Companies House API and the data it provides.

The information received from the API does not provide mechanisms to match duplicate people holding multiple appointments or holdings in a company.

This presented a significant hurdle to overcome before full development could proceed, as Inform Direct needed to ensure that the records returned from Companies House could be intelligently matched and where necessary de-duplicated.

In understanding this key requirement Atlas opted to create a prototype to extract company, people and appointment data from the Companies House API and de-duplicate that data using a process that would scale as the Inform Direct system grew in popularity and size.

Creating the prototype


We opted for a Model View Controller design pattern taking advantage of the Entity Framework object relational mapper for general database access along with Dapper for performance critical operations.

The prototype included integration with the Companies House electronic filing service using XML submitted via HTTP.

With the foundations in place for submitting and receiving information to and from Companies House, we were then able to develop sophisticated algorithms to match people and addresses based on specific criteria.

The finished prototype gave Inform Direct the confidence they needed in order to take their system, and their business forward.

Using the latest technology to drive a rich user experience


With the underlying technology now in place it was important that we gave the usability of the new system our attention.

The Inform Direct system takes complex company secretarial processes and presents them in an easy to understand and digest user interface. Dynamic multiple step wizards are the key to the simplicity of the user interface.

Building and maintaining the rich, responsive and dynamic interfaces was accomplished using the powerful Javascript library Knockout. This new technology allowed Atlas to provide all the flexibility but without the technical overhead usually associated with these complex user interfaces.

Powerful document generation and management


Another core feature of the Inform Direct system was the ability to generate and populate numerous PDF and Microsoft Word documents. The system could also prepopulate existing Companies House forms and also allows users to create custom bespoke templates of transactions for their own records. These are all huge time savers for Inform Direct’s users, making the system invaluable.

Atlas used EO.PDF and Aspose Words libraries to perform the heavy lifting for these features. We also developed a document management system to allow users to store and manage any system generated documents, as well as uploading any existing documents to store for safe keeping.

Test driven development


From the outset we have taken advantage of test driven development methodology to provide test coverage.

This has been especially useful in more complex areas of the system, ensuring that as development continues these complex areas are covered by unit tests to ensure they stay functional during future development and refactors.

Flexible resourcing


From time to time Companies House will make changes to their API that requires Inform Direct to make changes to their system by a specific deadline.

To assist with this, and any other deadlines, Atlas has a flexible resourcing arrangement in place with Inform Direct allowing them to ramp up their development resources at short notice in order to cater for these demands and stay ahead of their product roadmap.

Atlas’ ongoing relationship with Inform Direct continues to flourish, and we’re delighted with the success that Inform Direct and its team have enjoyed since their launch.

Technology stack

  • Microsoft ASP.NET 4.5 and Microsoft SQL 2012
  • Entity Framework
  • The Atlas Framework
  • jQuery
  • Knockout
  • RestSharp

The Atlas Difference


Atlas are expert software developers who can help you build your startup, like we did for Inform Direct. We can build you a prototype to identify and mitigate any risks inherent in the software requirements and then we will work in partnership with you to provide flexible software development resourcing for the future of your startup.

How Atlas Can Help You


If you’re interested in finding out how Atlas could help your startup with bespoke software development or you are looking to have a prototype created of new software you need, call us now on +44 (0)800 033 7569 for a free no-obligation consultation on how we can help you.

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