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Minicab company Addison Lee has used application programming interface (API) management technology from MuleSoft to enable it to keep up with competition and offer improved services to customers. The technology is helping the firm provide a more integrated service and has even allowed it to support a new global business contract.
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In 2009 Addison Lee produced the UK’s first taxi app, and keeping at the forefront of technology remains key to providing value to its customers. This is particularly important given competition from organisations such as Uber, which have reinvented taxi booking in recent years.
The move to MuleSoft has been driven by the need to extend the company's minicab booking services from businesses to consumers.
Addison Lee's existing technology platform, called Shamrock, is being complemented with new connectivity and a service-oriented architecture, which the firm's chief technology officer, Peter Ingram, said allows the company to “plumb together the old and the new, and integrate with affiliates”.
MuleSoft's technology is being used to help the minicab firm develop new applications. “MuleSoft gives us a system layer, business logic layer and presentation so we can present the booking application on a mobile device or a web page,” said Ingram.
In the past, everything was bespoke, but now software development has effectively become another business process that keeps Addison Lee running, he added. “We work in agile and do stand-ups every day,” said Ingram. “We have a development pipeline and take a view – some ideas are important for public relations reasons, others are good for the customer.”
The company has 25 in-house developers and spun out development of its back-end system, forming a company called Haulmont in 2012. This now sells Sherlock, the off-the-shelf version of Addison Lee’s Shamrock back-end system. Development of the Addison Lee iPhone app takes place in Cambodia, while the Android app is developed in Barcelona.
Of the in-house team, Ingram said half a dozen are dedicated to developing and managing APIs using MuleSoft, while the remainder provide IT infrastructure and support. He added that MuleSoft acts as police officer based on application logic, directing APIs to Facebook or Salesforce.com.
According to Ingram, the technology has provided the levers and switches needed to configure Addison Lee’s back-end system to support a new global contract, which runs across London, Paris and New York.
“We provide text messages to the the user with a fully integrated experience in New York, Paris and London," he said. "The system links directly with the customer’s travel management system, supporting their travel policies." Such configuration would have been bespoke in the past, but it is now managed via MuleSoft.
In 2014 Addison Lee offered integration with travel and expenses management firm Concur to provide electronic receipts of expenses. The company's focus on technology has enabled it to support systems such as this, as well as provide the ability to book mincabs across cities in different countries – an approach that is helping it to keep up with new competition.