Cabot Financial

Delivering digital transformation via intuitive user-facing portals and an app

Cabot Financial is a group of leading credit management service organisations covering several services, including debt purchasing and business process outsourcing. They required new digital channels to give users more control of their experience. Since 2015, Cyber-Duck has been there to help. Transactions worth over £40 million have been made inside the portal we created so far, and it was nominated for the Best Use of Technology with The Drum Agency Business Awards.

What we did

  • technology

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Key stats

£40M

Value of transactions made to date

20,000

Customers signed up in the first 12 months

20%

Year-on-year growth in account signups

cabot 1 v7

Objectives

Back in 2014, we delivered the award-winning mydlc platform, which helped customers to resolve debt in the best way for them. It generated a 75.2% increase in the amount of online transactions made – and won a UXUK Award for the Best Transactional Experience. 

Cabot Financial is a group of leading credit management service organisations that cover several services, including debt purchasing and business process outsourcing. After acquiring dlc in 2015, Cabot chose Cyber-Duck to kickstart their digital transformation.

Our technology team prides ourselves on our continuous agile development approach; we have worked as an extension of Cabot’s team for four years. We developed a new website, mobile app, e-commerce and system architecture that could give Cabot’s users better, more intuitive control of their accounts. Our objectives were to:

1

Design and deliver a new, user-friendly MVP in just 6 weeks.

2

Continuously improve the app through an agile methodology.

3

Establish a solid platform so we could white-label apps.

Data-driven design

Through Google Analytics, extensive user interviews and by mapping raw user journeys and actions, we identified how users interacted with the product. Knowing what users expect and how they engage with online products is crucial for delivering quality user experiences. For Cabot, we based the entire project on data-driven design principles.

Making sure the entire project was based on data was especially vital for Cabot. The organisation’s users are already stressed – they are interacting with Cabot because they are in debt – so the onus had to be on making a streamlined, easy-to-use app. Our design helped users to navigate their finances and experience a better relationship with Cabot.

User testing sessions analysed and validated the need for and usability of each feature; we combined eye tracking with user interviews to understand the user experience from end-to-end and therefore ensure key tasks could be completed with ease.

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Continuous agile development

Initially, we developed a new website, mobile app, e-commerce and system architecture. We deployed a working product live to the world (with core required features) in just 6 weeks, charged with daily standups.

Before we worked with Cabot, they were not familiar with agile methodologies. As agile was new to them, our certified ScrumMasters guided them through the process, running agile workshops and provided ScrumMaster training to their team of product/project managers. Cabot have now completely implemented agile methodologies throughout their 400+ person organisation because of the formal and informal upskilling we provided throughout our working relationship.

Over a year since launch, we continue to adapt the product to the needs of the field, meeting changes in the market head on. This constant innovation ensures Cabot keeps their customers satisfied while remaining compliant with various industry bodies, such as the Financial Ombudsman Service. Our agile development is enabled by automated testing, via continuous integration.

We setup continuous integration on three environments; testing (for QA), staging (alpha) and production (beta). Once QA was complete, we provided a limited number of customers with access to the closed alpha environment and gathered feedback, before making improvements ready for public beta testing; offering users the choice between the previous payment platform and the new beta environment. Once satisfied that the new environment provided a better user experience and was a stable, quality product, we launched from beta to live successfully.

cabot 3 v2

A bespoke system architecture

Our new, customer-facing application for Cabot also needed to communicate seamlessly with the existing Cabot data stores and infrastructures. Operations had to continue without downtime for system updates. Cabot provides a 24/7 service to its customers, so the hosting environment must be configured to maintain a consistent service.

To accommodate this, we designed a system architecture with no single point of failure, to ensure customers didn’t experience issues if a service went out of service. Cyber-Duck is responsible for hosting, security and takes full ownership of this mission-critical customer-facing portal.

Working with Cabot, we used the open standards REST API, and integrated their web platform with the Sagepay payment gateway, although we’ve also integrated with Stripe too. Our application also communicated seamlessly with other technologies hosted by 3rd party API such as Salesforce CRM. We provide ongoing support packages to continually upgrade, patch and refactor the application framework to avoid technical debt. 

We developed comprehensive hosting documentation (including performance, backup, Disaster Recovery and security), as well as a dedicated runbook / escalation plan with their team to cover all potential incidents / use cases.

Web and native apps

The plan was to build upon the existing app’s strong UX and technical foundations to introduce more features and improve the user experience through data-driven design. Our work has digitalised one of their manual offline processes, helping improve the overall speed and quality of the process.

During our work, we used Cabot’s backend API to expose data to the user which allowing them to self-manage their account and make payments with ease. We also included the integration of their digital assets such as online statements and financial documents in a responsive website.

Thanks to the application being built upon a strong API, this web application has been white-labelled and rolled out to 4 other brands in their group. This means that every application shares the same core business logic and even allows for some custom branding and functionalities.

We recently rolled out a native mobile app to give customers another channel to self-manage their accounts. Built using hybrid technologies, one single Javascript-based code can be used to manage the native app across multiple platforms, such as Apple iPhone and Android. We then further enhanced the user experience by incorporating native features like touch ID login.

Results

Our technical team has worked closely with Cabot for over four years; our success is evidenced through the 20% month-on-month growth in the new account signup.

Over £40 million value of transactions have been made to date. 20,000 customers signed up in the first 12 months. Cabot is one of our key Laravel case studies; we have been chosen by the PHP platform to become the only recognised partner in the UK.

We look forward to continuing to develop more features in partnership with Cabot’s team. In 2019, the project was nominated for the Best Use of Technology with The Drum’s Agency Business Awards.

Key stats

£40M

Value of transactions made to date

20,000

Customers signed up in the first 12 months

20%

Year-on-year growth in account signups