Mytaxi for Business
2016-2018, Lead Designer, Web & Mobile
When I joined mytaxi back in 2015, the company was at the beginning of growth with no dedicated design team and a handful of product people. The scope was to meet the growing traction by enhancing the rider and driver app significantly.
At that time, ‘mytaxi for business’ wasn’t a case. In fact it was close to being shut down. Scattered sales managers were handling a rudimental web interface with minimal capabilities to match customer needs.
It was disastrous.
Finally, it all changed for the better when mytaxi merged with Hailo in 2016 to become the biggest ride hailing provider in Europe. Suddenly, business travelling became a priority topic with a dedicated product and engineering team.
Hailo and mytaxi used different technological standards which made it difficult to merge operations from one day to another. We had to rebuild the entire business product ecosphere in order to match the imminent and enormous business growth waiting for us once the merge was done. Technical issues and outages had to be avoided at all costs.
Each market (at that stage around eight countries) had its own requirements and operational strategies tailored to individual customer needs. The solutions that were established for some regional issues were mostly custom built hot fixes without consideration for a consistent and centralised framework. It was a cultural and operational clash.
It was decided to rebrand Hailo to become mytaxi. This meant that all business products were developed and operated within the mytaxi HQ in Germany. Not only did this increase the pressure of rebuilding the whole product experience; but also did it evoke thought and consideration towards the transfer of all onboard customers and users from the Hailo platforms to our service. We were talking about hundreds of accounts with major value to the company.
We had to merge businesses and products, share knowledge and rebuild the business experience for mytaxi with people we have never met before. The majority of them were let go or were likely to leave the company after the technical merge had been completed. One could feel a certain level of tension in multiple phases throughout the process.
Three months was all we got to be ready for pushing the button and make two businesses become one. It was tough in a lot of aspects. A little spoiler: We did it!
Discovery and Research
First, I took a deep breath and started to focus on a structured approach.
Together with the product owner I started to screen the existing products of hailo, mytaxi and selected competitors to compare the feature sets and technical requirements. This process was accompanied by workshops in order to dive into operational decisions and detailed Q&A sessions with colleagues from Ireland and the UK. We gathered all relevant data to see and identify usage patterns within the products.
In order to create a holistic picture, set product priorities and properly plan the design and development process; we needed to gather as many insights as possible.
A. We interviewed customers from company and hospitality backgrounds.
B. We talked to sales operations in Ireland, the UK, Germany and Spain.
C. We gathered feedback from the CX team to get an overall understanding of what business customers require.
The previous work led to a detailed step-by-step plan including a major overhaul and realignment of the business products as well as external and internal communications. We carefully crafted a release plan to gradually move from crucial to complementary features.
At its core we reimagined ‘mytaxi for business’ by enabling companies to have the full spectrum of business travel features with just one mytaxi account. They gained the ability to set up sub-accounts including settings for individual and group users. Up until that point it was a continuous struggle for multi-regional companies to organise business travel without creating and switching accounts on a regular basis. After our rework, administrators and managers were able to oversee their organisational processes without constantly logging in and out.
We took down the limitations which many companies had faced and enabled them to book one or multiple rides at the same time from any device at any location. It changed the way hotels experienced ride hailing for their guests or companies for their clients.
During the discovery and research phase, I started to explore ideas and sketched out some first ideas. I commenced an iterative process with small prototypes and discussed them with our regional sales operations. Quickly we extended that process to gather feedback from customers across Europe.
After dozens of workshops, several interviews and countless design iterations, I concluded a final design solution.
The technical merge occured without any major problems whatsoever. We merged hundreds of business accounts and thousands of users within a given timeframe. We were able to hit over 10K business accounts until my last day at mytaxi. We then further reached more than 100K monthly business rides booked through the business platforms in 2018.
We made business travel a core product at mytaxi again.
It was a wild ride. From the first video calls with Hailo discussing the operational future of both businesses to the first meeting I had with the B2B Team of Hailo in their London HQ, on the attic floor, in summer at 34°C with no A/C.
I enjoyed each second of that stressful time. I met so many smart, talented and passionate people over the course of only a few months. I’m thankful for this experience and proud of all people who have been involved.
“Merging both businesses was a stressful and tedious time. From day one, our teams collaborated closely: Alex played an essential role in this, with an amazing level of quality and consistency. It was a real pleasure working with him.”
Head of Sales & Strategic Growth at FREE NOW (formerly mytaxi)