Addison Lee is claiming market share back from Uber using innovative technology and API integration to provide seamless digital customer service for its passengers - no matter where they are in the world. Chief Technology Officer Peter Ingram explains how.
"When customers land in a different country we want them to pick up our app otherwise they will find another supplier on the ground or use a competitor", Addison Lee's Ingram tells ComputerworldUK.
The taxi firm knows that most of its corporate customers in the UK have offices overseas - and it wants to tap into this market. To do so, it is working with suppliers on the ground which "supply the wheels", but using its own technology will provide a seamless Addison Lee experience across the digital channels.
The company is in the early stages of deploying API management vendor MuleSoft technology to integrate its APIs so that its core IT systems can link to suppliers (like local taxi firms and travel websites) without using a manual email system.
"We're currently a halfway house where any supplier in a city has a web portal where they receive jobs (taxi requests) but we want a direct portal wherever you travel to. It will be uniform, monitored, on the same platform and able to scale in order to provide unrivalled customer experience."
While Addison Lee has plenty of resources - with a fifty-strong developer team that works specifically on its platforms and "were looking at APIs generally", it found "a number of challenges with regards to integration". To save time, it turned to MuleSoft.
During the proof of concept, the firm was able to build recyclable business logic to provide partition layers to help deploy integrations quickly whenever a corporate customer asks for a service from a new supplier (for example, if it wanted to use Addison Lee in New York, the firm would need to integrate with a taxi firm on the ground to provide a taxi under the Addison Lee service).
While it is only six weeks into implementation, Ingram says that in testing, the IT team was able to reduced integration time from several weeks to days.
Aside from external suppliers that "provide the wheels" in the global hubs Addison Lee want to infiltrate, it uses other platforms and websites plugins like Google Maps and Thompson Travel amongst others, to share information that will create a bespoke, seamless experience for its clients.
With Salesforce, for example, Addison Lee can now update a customer record, pulling a booking from its Java-based app into the CRM and check if a customer is on a loyalty scheme or their preferences, providing "a much more powerful, richer experience."
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