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Rakuten outsourcing software development to Motomtech


Jan, 2018

Utah, United States

Rakuten is Japan’s top e-commerce and financial service provider. It has established a comprehensive Rakuten ecosystem in Japan, which includes Rakuten Ichiba for e-commerce, Rakuten Travel, Rakuten Card,Rakuten Bank, and Rakuten Securities . It has planned to become Japan’s fourth mobile network operator , with full service beginning in April 2020.

Its businesses include financial services utilizing financial technology, as well as digital content and communications services such as messaging app Viber, e-book distributor Kobo, and Japan’s fourth mobile carrier Rakuten Mobile, which is centered on Rakuten Ichiba, its business-to-many e-commerce platform and one of the largest e-commerce sites in the world.

Rakuten’s Purpose is to contribute to society by producing value via innovation and entrepreneurship through the implementation of high services that assist its users and partners in succeeding.


The Challenge


Outdated software systems

Digital technologies evolve quickly, and applications developed years ago may no longer suit current corporate requirements. When upgrading obsolete software , rehosting or rewriting the system will not solve the problem. However, rebuilding can restore the program to its original state. There were several reasons for Rakuten to rebuild its software, ranging from costly system upkeep to outdated software and data security threats

High Maintenance Costs

Previously, on-premises solutions were the only choice with no alternatives. However, the situation has significantly changed.Old systems need a large technical support investment, including maintenance fees, personnel costs, hosting hardware costs, etc. New hosting and cloud options, such as the SaaS model, have likely addressed this issue in recent years.

Cloud migration is the best way to save their software and databases without needing to rebuild the entire system for a business that spends too much on an ineffective in-house solution. They can move to a more convenient and cost-efficient platform that works by the subscription model.


Finally, one of the biggest reasons to reengineer Rakuten’s old software was the desire to increase competitiveness in the market. They wanted to keep up with the latest trends and offer users up-to-date services.Moreover, the outdated code was also insecure, which meant Rakuten could lose 47% more money in data breaches than updated IT systems.

The Solutions

Extended team for Back-end Development

Bringing mature developer teams for the back-end development helped Rakuten reach tight development deadlines while minimizing expensive hiring practices. Best of all, our senior devs became a true extension of their team, working together seamlessly.

Rakuten already had a core in-house technical team, so it was important that any remote developers were highly capable of easily working together. This strategy proved the correct one, and the devs went on working together to build Rakuten as a cloud-native web app that can efficiently adapt to surges in demand, thus avoiding high latency and long loading times.

Software Rebuilding

Software rebuilding began with an in-depth study of the business, its needs, and its goals. The developers’ team found the weak points of the existing solution and decided whether to leave some parts or rebuild everything from scratch. Of course, partial rebuilding was a much more efficient option with all the new requirements taken into account.

The outdated tech stack’s developers community is often not large enough. Thereby, finding good specialists for Rakuten’s legacy software maintenance and optimization was hard. Rebuilding the system with a more relevant and future-proof technology was much more efficient and gave Rakuten the upper hand in the market.

“Motomtech was well aware that redesigning a legacy system is a massive endeavor with linked timelines. They rapidly understood what we needed and delivered on schedule while modifying and reacting to difficulties and new requirements in real-time.”

<p>The Results</p>

We significantly improved the quality of the repository code and eliminated all bugs. After these changes and the architecture introduction, the platform is a lot more stable and uses fewer resources.

Our cooperation with the customer is not over, and we are still working on product development . We have shown that we are able to effectively introduce improvements, thanks to which we have gained a project that has turned into a long-term cooperation.