In 2014 we started working with one of the leading experts of international fleet management and leasing, Alphabet, a subsidiary of the BMW Group. Alphabet provides Business Mobility solutions in Europe, China and Australia that meet specific corporate requirements and bring the greatest benefits – offering multi-make products, tailor-made services and end-to-end consulting for all brands and models.
Alphabet came to us with the task to completely redesign and re-launch their app for company car drivers. We started with a consideration of the core value proposition for both current and future users before creating the all new AlphaGuide, what is now the essential business travel app whatever the mode of transport.
The Approach: Going Deeper
Alphabet currently manages a portfolio of around 650,000-leased cars and light commercial vehicles of all makes in 18 countries but also wanted to make the app available for any business traveler. As a result, we knew that we needed to find a solution that met very different needs in various situations. These needs would evolve over time so future proofing the app was a priority, a clear point of differentiation to other solutions on the market.
Our starting point were traveler needs, which helped us overcome feature-centric thinking. Together with Alphabet, we looked at the company car driver’s experience from every perspective, for example by digging deep into the services that Alphabet delivers, meeting with experts and drivers and reviewing internal processes and systems. We also looked more broadly at travel market trends and transformations, for example at the implications of Uber and autonomous cars.
Alphabet’s clients are all people who travel long distances any given day. We created a companion app that, like Alphabet itself, makes their lives easier and helps them focus on their main task – getting their real jobs done. This is a concern for them that transcends whatever mode of transport they use. We therefore developed the app to focus on helping the company car driver focus on their main task but, crucially, made it inherently adaptable so that it would be equally useful across transportation modes. To realise this objective a new digital architecture ensures that the back-end can work well with current and future front-end services.
In terms of developing the features for launch, we targeted pain points in traveler’s routines, identifying where they would spend a lot of time, for example having to plan their travel, checking their calendar and so on. We wanted the app to know our users’ appointments, give them driving directions and notify them when they need to leave to make an appointment. The feature set also included ‘Points of Interest’ (finding nearby car services), damage reporting, mileage tracking, hotline service and mobility options.
Further down the line, we could suggest another means of transport based on green criteria, time, cost or real-time traffic and weather information. The ultimate objective is a more intimate awareness of individual user preferences: Do they like to drive fast, do they like to have more time to find a parking place etc.
The AlphaGuide project involved Alphabet and studio working in close collaboration to create the feeling of being one team. We know from experience how investing time in creating playful yet serious relations and collaboration pays off. Working together as one team helps us keep momentum and also understand different circumstances on both sides. It also gives the people in the team a greater sense of accountability and ownership. Ultimately, everyone takes more pride in their work.
We are certainly proud to be a digital partner to Alphabet across concept, design and production to co-create a full-scale, seamless solution with a completely new and secure back end. The first version of AlphaGuide is now available in multiple markets for the biggest mobile platforms – iOS and Android.
The insight both partners have gained is vital precursor that, in combination with learning from how clients perceive and use the app, will help us towards the vision of unlimited mobility experience. This will further advance Alphabet’s strategy in its market, contribute to future revenue streams and assist business operations.