How eCabs’ empowered technologists are engineering the growth of the company.
Very few people know that behind eCabs’ complex operation there is a fully-dedicated team of developers and in-house technologists, building and developing the company’s international-grade IT systems.
“When I came to join, I did not even know that the company had its very own team of developers who were running the eCabs App. Honestly, I was blown away when I was introduced to the whole set-up and was immediately offered the first project to work on the drivers’ app,” said Mark Spiteri, one of eCabs’ in-house developers.
“I wanted a new challenge and eCabs clearly want to go places with their technological efforts. More importantly, I realised the dynamic and technologically disruptive nature of eCabs in which I saw a company that was committed to harness the power of technology and was willing to invest in order to claim its rightful leadership position.
“Looking back, it has been an amazing journey. But what’s more amazing is the fact that so much more is coming up our way as this sector is going through many important changes,” said Mr Spiteri.
Luca di Michele, who heads eCabs’ team of developers, explained how, this year, eCabs founded Cuorium as its very own captive logistics software set-up which is now tasked with not only developing all the technology behind eCabs’ new IT infrastructure but to transform this into a platform to enable the company to take its operations into the international market.
“Although owned by eCabs, Cuorium operates on the same engaging lines as those of a start-up. The structure is flat and communication between us and management is extremely dynamic. We source ideas, explore them together within the team, shape them in our programmatic plans, put them forward to the CTO and CEO and we evaluate them together until the way forward is identified,” said Mr Di Michele.
“Up to two years ago, eCabs was running on a system built on outsourced software which served its purpose to enable the growth of the company but was increasingly limited to match the growing needs of the operation. In parallel, the company’s strategy was evolving at a very fast pace in which technology was the centrepiece enabling its execution,” added Mr Di Michele.
“This is what led us to rebuild our platforms, with the medium-term objective of opening up the platform to other operators and the international market.
“We, therefore, set out on a long-term plan where the first target was to build our own system to fit the evolving operations framework of the company. Subsequently, we redesigned the whole interface, gave a new look that reflected the company’s evolved identity and plugged the system on to the new platform. The app’s success was instant.
“In the first four months of this year, 26,000 new users downloaded the app which eventually saw over 80,000 booked rides in the same period. To date, there have been almost 215,000 downloads of our eCabs App,” he added.
Today, eCabs’ mobile app is a recognised best practice and is highly rated for offering a very straightforward method of booking a ride within a few seconds.
The app runs in parallel with three other methods of booking namely, phone bookings, e-mail bookings and web bookings, with new tech-based booking channels on the horizon in 2020. All these channels are operated from a fully-fledged contact centre handling hundreds of customer interactions on a 24/7 basis.
“We have been watching the technology behind our app revolutionise passenger mobility and how people decide and choose to commute. The app is also acting as a great tool that is helping us collect data to be able to improve our service by aligning our operations to the changing mobility trends. Having our own team of developers is now allowing the company to focus on solutions that cater for Malta’s unique needs,” added Mr Spiteri.
“One of the main features of the eCabs’ App is that once you book a cab, you can monitor in real time the location of the cab. Another smart feature is that when you pre-book a cab through the app, customers enjoy highly-beneficial rates.
“Our technology, together with our contact centre, are the heart of the company. Now that the app and our platforms have been completed, we are ready to move on to the next level – that of fuelling innovation across all our operations.”
“Developers are usually the ones working behind the scenes but at eCabs, I am proud to say that we constantly play a central role not only in the company’s IT evolution but also as protagonists in its commercial way forward,” the duo remarked.
Both are now already looking at some very exciting projects for next year.
“Being part of the eCabs’ tech team is a truly exciting place to be at this point in time. We are busy improving our tracking system whereby passengers will also be able to share their vehicle’s tracking with others. We are working on a gamified loyalty scheme proposition to reward our customers more. We are adopting cutting-edge geo-spatial technologies, flirting with the application of AI and looking at better ways how to consume our huge data bank to enhance trip optimisation capabilities.
“We’re on the right track. This year, we managed to bring down the booking processing time from six seconds to one second and we want to review the post-booking phase in a more transparent way that reassures customers that their cab is actually on its way and at the best price possible. We could easily say that technology is enabling us to commit a much stronger value proposition to customers even on a day-to-day basis,” they added.
What’s most exciting for the future of the tech team of eCabs? “Invariably, reckoning that our platform will now be exposed on the international market is a unique experience for all of us and an opportunity of a lifetime,” Mr Spiteri and Mr Di Michele concluded.