At Admiral we recently built and launched a new car finance product in fewer than four months.

It’s also a market-first: the only fully online direct-to-consumer car finance website and the only place consumers can see car finance PCP and HP deals side-by-side with personal loans.

Most of us working in big brands will be familiar with new product launches taking years from feasibility studies to go-live; as companies grow so does the complexity across the number of teams involved. So how did Admiral car finance do it? Read on....

Thought and acted like a start-up

Admiral might have over 6,000 employees, but the Admiral Loans team is made up of around 50 people and it has that small company/start-up feel, which the following process was part of....

Set up a project team

We set up a project team and everyone met on a daily basis at scrums to review everyone’s progress against the plan. Everyone on the project had a significant workload, and this was on top of everyone’s BAU workload involved in running a successful personal loans business!

Outsourced the IT development

As with many start-ups, it was quicker and easier to outsource the IT build. We had two different IT companies to manage – one working on the front end, one working on the back end. Again, daily communication was key here.

Followed our intuition

There was of course a comprehensive business case backed with customer focus groups but ultimately when building a new product from scratch, a lot of the day-to-day smaller decisions are led by intuition. Reconciling everyone’s different intuitions was a daily challenge!

Launched a minimum viable product (MVP)

A MVP is very much a feature of start-up businesses; building a version of the product which allows a team to collect the maximum learnings with the least amount of effort (to paraphrase Eric Ries!), whilst still guaranteeing great customer outcomes.

Big brands have aims and expectations that a new product launch will be perfect from day one; it was refreshing to work somewhere that was realistic about what we could achieve but still did not compromise on providing excellent service to our customers.

Stuck to the launch date!

Despite (or due to!) the record-breaking speed of the build, the launch was delayed by about six weeks. Working in lending, we work in a highly regulated industry where positive customer outcomes are key – so the only ‘show-stoppers’ that were allowed to delay launch were ones that would cause a customer detriment. When it came to e-commerce and marketing, there were compromises and sacrifices made along the way so we..... 

Went straight into optimisation mode

Post-launch, make sure you have dedicated resource to fix live bugs and constantly test and optimise on the product based on customer behaviour (this includes the offline elements and processes off the product). In the first month post-launch, we made about 50 product improvements to the online journey.

You’ll see if you try out the website for yourself that it’s still in MVP and optimisation mode , but we did it!

From little acorns grow mighty oaks....

Related reading:

Heledd Jones

Published 2 March, 2018 by Heledd Jones

Heledd Jones is Marketing Manager at Admiral Loans and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter.

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