eCabs Technologies Product Owner Stephanie Farrugia gives an insider’s perspective on how she and her team navigate the ever-changing landscape of the mobility sector and how her pivotal role allows her to indulge on her love of continuous development and research.
Can you provide an overview of your role as a Product Owner at eCabs Technologies?
My role within eCabs Technologies is quite dynamic. I am the Product Owner of Data, which is a crucial business enabler, as it empowers key stakeholders to take timely and informed decisions from both a strategic and operational viewpoint.
To achieve all this, the primary responsibilities include that of making sure that the underlying data infrastructure is operating smoothly. As well as performing ongoing prioritisation of incoming data requests by validating the respective business impact.
In my role, I also need to provide support to all my fellow Product Owners in providing the necessary data analytics as a pre-requisite to designing new features.
As a Product Owner, and together with the team when specific data reporting requirements pose a technical challenge, we make sure that we investigate and seek the right technical approach to deliver the expected level of visibility.
During the first part of my exciting journey with eCabs I worked on the Customer App mainly in identifying and analysing new features that would facilitate the customer journey.
Supported by our UI/UX team, we facilitated the pickup process, making it easier for customers to select pickup points within busy areas and on special events, amongst many other innovations.
It is most satisfying to make use of the same features as a customer eventually, which I definitely did!
How does eCabs prioritise which new features or products to work on, and what role do you play in shaping these decisions?
As a Product team we are responsible for devising the roadmap of all our products.
We base the order of priority for developing listed features on the scale of impact a feature would have on its stakeholders, supported by market research and data analytics, since we want to deliver the features and products that matter most.
We also consider the cost and effort involved in developing any given new feature compared to its business value.
Can you discuss any recent innovations or technology trends eCabs is embracing to stay at the forefront of the mobility sector?
eCabs and Google, with the support of TIM Italia and Noovle Malta Ltd, recently partnered up to exploit the use of machine learning and ways how through this technical concept eCabs would be able to provide a unique personal experience to our esteemed customers.
This would be achievable through the application of algorithms on both historical and real time data that would predict customer preferences based on identified behavioural patterns and external dynamics that affect these patterns.
We also take pride in being among the first global ride-hailing platforms to leverage the distinctive capabilities of the Google Maps Mobility Platform. By harnessing real-time data, we ensure precise dispatch, accurate estimated time of arrivals (ETAs), hyper-intelligent route optimisation, and dynamic pricing. This approach not only facilitates expedited rides but also enhances cost efficiency for the benefit of our valued passengers and drivers alike.
Could you tell us about your interactions with other eCabs Technologies teams?
This is one of the most rewarding aspects of our role in that we first devise an idea and translate it into a Product Requirement Document inclusive of a detailed analysis as how we plan to fulfill the given requirement.
Once reviewed by the respective Product Owner within the team, we initiate a chain of communication with other teams starting from the Solution Architect going on to the developers when we start discussing our product from a technical viewpoint, possibly discussing specific recommended adaptations.
Eventually once the product is developed, our Quality Assurance (QA) team would be involved to ensure the product has been delivered as based on the ‘Behaviour-Driven-Development’ (BDD) scenarios that we would have documented previously which describes the expected behaviour based on a given action.
Once QA completes their testing, the product is ready to be released and all the work comes into fruition!
What challenges have you encountered while working on product development at eCabs, and how did you and your team overcome them?
Prioritisation is always a tricky game as the mobility sector is a fast-paced industry. Being ahead of the curve is the only way to remain ahead of competition and setting the trends rather than following them.
As a Product team we remain sensitive to market developments and by following the prioritisation criteria previously explained, we do adapt our product roadmap when this is evidently required.
eCabs Technologies operates in various markets. Can you share some insights into how you adapt your product strategy to suit different geographic regions or customer preferences?
Investing in localisation tools, starting from language translation, is key while researching on specific regulatory compliance requirements relevant to targeted regions is crucial.
Our vision underlying our product strategy is to ensure ease of adaptability in offering a dynamic platform aimed to empower our prospective tenants to let them decide on the deployment or not of certain features including the support for different pricing strategies suiting different market landscapes.
Our operational strategy is focused on speeding up and fine tuning the process to bring changes and country specific product requirements to market quickly.
Can you highlight any memorable success stories or milestones from your time as a Product Owner?
As a Product Owner and ably delivered by the data team and well mentored by the key stakeholders, we devised a reporting dashboard that leverages our 14 years of operational experience to support both our current and prospective tenants.
This way, once onboarded, they immediately gain visibility on their operational performance in almost real time.
How do you keep yourself updated on industry trends and best practices to ensure your products remain cutting-edge?
Ongoing competition and market analysis while subscribing to relevant technical resources is key to keeping up with the momentum of this fast-moving industry.
Knowledge sharing across teams is also extremely helpful, which is a concept well encouraged and facilitated by the company.
What excites you about eCabs Technologies’ future in the mobility industry?
The seamless integration of cutting-edge technologies from industry leaders such as Google Cloud empowers our platform to not only navigate and capitalise on prevailing market opportunities but also ensures our readiness for the challenges and innovations that tomorrow may bring, such as autonomous vehicles, for instance.
The fact that there are increasing pressures for sustainability and environmental policies to be in place means that I perceive the mobility industry to play a key role in supporting this crucial mind shift supported by serious commitment from all stakeholders.