How REI Systems enhanced trademark applications, registrations, and systems processes
Faced with growing Trademark1 demands, monolithic and siloed systems, complex user experiences, quality decision-making, and the need for a comprehensive end-to-end electronic workflow, a large civilian agency trusted REI Systems to modernize and develop a custom application, decommissioning 20 mission-critical systems to alleviate their cumbersome Trademarks applications, adjudication, and registration processes.
The Challenge: Optimize Trademark Timeliness and Quality
The agency’s end-to-end processing consisted of more than one dozen fragmented legacy applications that functioned independently of each other without effective or efficient coordination. With nearly 90 percent of trademark applications processed electronically, the agency’s reliance on those legacy applications created costly inefficiencies, slowed its work, and occasionally produced internal inconsistencies. Resulting in a 10 to 12-month waiting period for final registration decisions, quality decision-making, and overly complicated systems. Processes around Trademark applications also grew from 673,233 in 2019 to 943,928 in 20222 – equating to a 40% increase over the last three years.
1A Trademark or service is a word, name, symbol, logo, design, or any combination thereof that distinguishes the goods and services of one seller or provider from those of others.
2From Trademarks Data Q4 2022 At a Glance, by Trademarks, 2014.
REI’s Solution: Mindful Modernization® Delivers Next-Generation Applications, Teams, and Methodologies
From the beginning of the project, to help remedy these issues, REI took the approach to what we refer to as Mindful Modernization3 – streamlining the software that the agency used to manage Trademarks applications, adjudication, and registration.
The agency’s CIO, Trademark Product Line, and its finance and acquisition teams agreed that the agency needed a comprehensive end-to-end electronic workflow to boost efficiency, reduce costs, and simplify the user experience. In tandem, our Align step found the modernized, Trademarks processing solution should reside on the agency’s preferred AWS cloud infrastructure and should interface effectively with commercial intellectual property research tools. These decisions made at the onset of the modernization project directly led to the success the agency would eventually achieve.
By aligning with the agency, REI leveraged its breadth of expertise to help the agency develop a strategic IT roadmap that made sense for the agency to achieve its desired goals. For the agency, the broad goals were to improve efficiency and reduce costs – so REI worked with the agency to develop specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that could be measured to keep track of progress and ensure the modernization efforts were providing a benefit.
The purpose of the Align step is for REI and the agency to develop a roadmap framework that outlines the high-level objectives and goals, provides a backlog for ongoing iteration, and prioritizes the positive outcomes. All of this is then well-communicated and agreed-upon, with dates and timing attached, defining what success looks like and what KPIs will serve as measures of success. Some of those measures will relate to technology implementation, cost, and efficiency, while others will relate to business objectives and outcomes such as quality, customer satisfaction, and effectiveness.
3 REI’s Mindful Modernization® is an iterative approach look at our customer’s challenges holistically while combining our business acumen, modern technologies, and best practice delivery approaches into a comprehensive solution as is defined by three key steps: Align, Assemble, Advance.
Partnership Impact: Delivering Enterprise-Wide Innovation
REI retired 20 legacy applications and transitioned 200+ users to a modern platform to a comprehensive end-to-end electronic workflow solution that allows our high-performing agile teams to mature the agency’s DevSecOps process to release new features quickly and efficiently. Our Quality Assurance (QA) engineers created a testing strategy that incrementally writes automated test cases at the initial submission of the contract. Doing so ensures that robust and reliable applications deploy new functionality only after passing rigorous QA checks.
The modernized workflow increased Trademarks processing 56% after the soft launch and 175% within the first four months and allows the agency to complete paperless processing of trademark applications without switching between different applications, increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and providing a simplified and streamlined user experience.
Our REI team provided a more stable and efficient next generation offering for adjudicating trademark petitions through application modernization, creating the following benefits:
By 2023, REI will migrate the modernized application suite into production, but today, we deploy code daily using an established CI/CD pipeline. We have successfully deployed applications using automated DevSecOps pipelines with minimal support from the agency’s Platform Services group. REI’s strategy is to continually mature the existing automation pipelines for code quality, unit, functional and regression testing, security scanning, 508 compliance, and development of stage-gate thresholds to define a clear definition of done for self-certification process. We have built automation pipelines to improve capabilities by adding more security testing, software patching, database maintenance, and supporting zero-downtime blue/green and canary deployments to production.
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