Our client is an online foreign exchange tools and services company.
This is primarily an online customer facing brand and provides an online currency exchange calculator which offers real time exchange rates. The service attracts 200 million visitors per year and is one of the Top 500 most visited sites in the world. Other services include historical charts and rate tables, foreign exchange service (Money Transfer) and a commercial currency data feed service (Currency Data) that offers accurate and reliable exchange rates for businesses.
The business was facing significant challenges due to a very high level of technical debt. This needed to be analysed from a number perspectives which included:
- Identification of the full scope the technical debt
- Why the current technical debt is a business challenge
- What is the severity of technical debt driven business challenge on overall business
Technical Debt Identification
It is straightforward to understand the concepts and principles around technical debt from a technological perspective, Technological perspective, however developing a business viewpoint requires completely new thinking in the management ranks and software development teams.
The company has made various acquisitions such as an online currency and dealing platform. They now have a facility that allows customers, in particular corporates, to trade directly on a self-service basis. This new capability propelled them to become one of the largest non-banking financial companies in the UK achieving tremendous success in foreign exchange / Money transfer markets. Despite the huge success of the online dealing platform it lacks significant capabilities that would enable growth through covering the whole of the customer journey. They particularly lacked
- Customer acquisition
- Customer Service
- Service Delivery
Technical Debt as Business Challenge
As with most organisations from acquisitions, the client has a two-way sync between their 3 systems, additionally each of the systems have been developed using different technologies, i.e.,
- Dealing Platform: Bespoke Application (Microsoft .NET, SQL Server DB)
- Client: PHP (contentful), Apache and Open SSL
- Middleware: Java, XML
The clients inhouse development team has developed various API and DB scripts to ensure that these different systems operate on a daily basis for the client. If the client requests a functional / technical change or new functionality, the development is delivered as a sprint over 4-6 weeks agile development cycles and sometimes longer. This puts immense pressure of technical resources who end up primarily maintaining the existing system to keep the business operational.
Severity of Technical Debt
With the acquisitions and integration of the systems across the organisation, maintenance and keeping the business operating becomes timely and expensive, as well as hampering the core money transfer business which heavily relies on speed of delivery. (due to the relatively high cost of transactions and agility in terms of time taken to achieve money transfers.)
Many Fintech startups are now offering money transfer services based on latest technologies, such as mobile apps and highly intuitive website designs, which were proving to be a major hit with consumers and the client losing out on business transactions.
Over a period of 2 decades the client has acquired multiple systems and processes which is becoming both expensive to maintain and to satisfy customer (both new and existing) requirements.
In order to maintain their Market leading position, they needed new highly scalable, modular and API driven Customer Engagement Platform, which not only covers existing functionality but significantly improves their existing infrastructure which essentially caters to:
- Online self-service customer platform for both consumers and corporates
- Compliance and Middleware Platforms
- Dealing and Trading Platform
- Customer Support (Telephone and Email Systems)
- Service Delivery (Dealing platform provides basic Customer issue management)
A lack of appetite for capital investment has driven the need for a subscription-based system.
Technology Fitment / Final Solution
As the client technology systems have evolved over a period of time,the client felt it would be impossible to find a system which would meet complete functional and technical requirements.
They finally concluded on Salesforce.com as their new Customer 360o Platform, this is because there were several functionalities which were met such following
- Leads (new functionality for the client)
- Accounts (Matches DFX and Xe.com functionality)
- Contacts (Matches DFX and Xe.com functionality)
- Opportunities (new functionality for the client)
- Cases (new functionality for the client)
- Vonage – Cloud-based CTI (new functionality for the client)
- Pardot-Salesforce Integration (new functionality for the client)
Business Benefits / Value
Salesforce implementation has brought several immediate benefits such as:
- Opportunity Management: This real time tracking of opportunities has led to greater scrutiny of Sales and Client Services Teams’s pipeline management, which was previously provided in Tableau Reporting Server where lag time was 12 hours. This is a huge win for Sales and front-line teams and immediately improved revenue tracking and some significant value deals.
- Telephony Metrics: Telephony and Agent Metrics immediately provided how the client was interacting with customers, the deep insights of various reasons led to immediate improvement of several functionality such as online registrations and hand holding of customers until they traded for first time.
- Case Management: This completely new functionality has enabled the clients customer support teams to keep track of customer issues and provide quick resolutions, wherever other teams support is required case management provided collaboration capabilities which extended sharing of case ownership and case escalations. This led to significant customer satisfactions scores
- Lean Software development Team: One of the significant cost savings for the client is employing fewer people for managing Salesforce when compared to the dealing platform. They deployed just two resources for daily maintenance and for development of new functionalities. They expect to deploy third resource at later date, but still 3resources versus 6 previously is significant cost saving
- Future Proofing: Salesforce being a leader in CRM Space provides a stable and matured outlook for future technologies such Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence. Companies like HiFX need not invest in R&D and development to harness such technologies instead simply choose subscription-based options from product vendors like Salesforce.