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Sherlock – Next Generation Taxi Management Solution

The Challenge

Addison Lee is Europe’s largest minicab service with a turnover in excess of £200m. The company’s incredible growth over the last decade has been founded upon Shamrock, its award winning proprietary enterprise IT system. With its long term software development partner, Haulmont Technology, Addison Lee wished to build a fully customisable end-to-end taxi management product to sell to taxi companies worldwide, with the aim of creating a global network of fully integrated transport providers.

Haulmont were given two years to develop the product and take it to market. The solution had to be built from scratch, but encompass all the experience of Addison Lee over the past decade. The product needed to be able to adapt to the differing market, regulatory and geographic differences of global clients, whilst supporting high levels of business process automation and scalability.

Solution

Because of the diverse needs of international customers, Haulmont required a development platform that could support high levels of customisation for each client without causing branching challenges for on-going support and new core updates. Speed of development was also key as Addison Lee’s priority was to target major international cities such as New York and Paris for initial expansion and customer demand for its services in these cities was growing fast.

Development started in March 2011, to a specification drawn from Haulmont’s years of experience working with Addison Lee.  The product was to be differentiated from the competition by its license model - with low up-front costs combined with an ongoing license fee charged per-vehicle. This model was designed to encourage fleets to grow quickly and enable ongoing development to deliver a constant flow of new features to the product.

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Result

In less than two years the first client went live – LeCab, based in Paris, launched in December 2012.  Thanks to CUBA Platform, development of the product to the point where it could be sold and implemented in a client business took just 19 months. LeCab’s impressive growth following launch is proof of CUBA’s ability to create business critical enterprise systems and equally important, its ability to support scalability.  Despite launching on essentially the beta version of the product, LeCab saw its fleet grow to 250 vehicles in the first year, 450 in the second and now boasts a fleet of over 550 taxis – just three years after launch.

As well as speed of development and scalability, Sherlock perfectly demonstrates CUBA’s Extensions feature. Most clients utilise Sherlock’s out-of-the-box functionality for approximately 80% of their business, with a further 20% bespoke functionality. Whether it’s seat sensors in Luanda, time based pricing models in Moscow, unique tipping features in New York or enhanced address search in Beirut, every installation of Sherlock has a high degree of bespoke functionality for each client. Despite this, Haulmont is committed to regular updates of the core product for all customers and manages to deliver this whilst retaining 99.98% uptime across clients across the globe.

Dmitry Odobescu, product lead for Sherlock, said:

“CUBA allows the team to focus on the development of application business logic and not get distracted by design, development and maintenance of low level, but enterprise-critical functionality such as access control rights management, support for highly available deployment configurations, full text search, etc.”

“CUBA’s extensions functionality is priceless for product development. The ability to customize the solution for every customer without changing core product, whilst keeping update procedure not just possible but simple is the foundation of Sherlock’s success in the global taxi market.”