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Digital ecosystem restructure for a leading estate agency

Client challenge

The digital ecosystem of our client - a leading estate agency - had evolved in a silo outside of any formal governance. Many projects had been executed with applications built and deployed with no documentation - and with many of the authors having left the business there was no knowledge within the firm of what existed, and of the key dependencies. No DR had ever been considered so there was a real threat to the business should any failure occur.

Coupled with this were various acquisitions that had driven the growth of the group, resulting in >50 disparate brands, all with separate digital properties, CMS, CRM and DB’s - creating redundancy, latency, inconsistent data, issues with MI (no single truth) and doing nothing to address the impending GDPR challenge.

Their digital environment and applications were tightly coupled to a 3rd party to which the had no IP, nor a clear understanding of its operations and architecture; effectively a black box.

Applications did not conform to a standardised architecture, with point-to-point connections creating problems and long time-to-market for new digital products or features.

What we did

We undertook a 12-week initial discovery engagement to:

  • Evaluate current state middleware architecture
  • Provide detailed as-is blueprint of all known and discovered services, applications, data and process flows
  • Evaluate current architecture for operational scalability and service efficiency
  • Recommend and propose Future Target State Architecture
  • Provide recommendations for a hosting solution for retail brands and corporate websites
  • Provide recommendations to reduce the overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
  • Define the Target Operating Model (TOM)

Following this we implemented the recommendations and:

  • Replaced the ‘tightly-coupled’ black box
  • Standardised application architecture and applications across the group
  • Created a single CMS across digital properties
  • Consolidated databases
  • Rationalised reporting to a single truth across the business
  • Implemented a TOM with a mix of in-house, nearshore & offshore, all under the governance of IT, with a single point for all support

The result

  • Created a future-ready, Cloud and API-first ecosystem able to ‘openly’ integrate with 3rd party systems with full digital enablement across all business units
  • Eliminated redundancy by creating a Microsoft Azure-powered data lake across business units
  • Developed a best-in-class replacement for the multiple CRM’s to enhance Lead Management across business units, achieving a single view of the customer with predictive and persona-based selling, creating cross-sell and up-sell opportunities across business units
  • Reduced TCO of digital by £11.7m over 5 years
  • Ongoing digital TCO reduction of >£3m per annum
  • Increased development capability and quality by >100%
  • Reduced property withdrawals by 30%
  • Implemented Agile development reducing digital brand releases from 12 weeks to 4 weeks
  • Reduced property listing time from 4 hours to real-time
  • Created single MI reporting tool with immediate single truth of performance across all business units
  • Created a true omnichannel customer UX across a single digital experience layer & Engagement Platform; Web, Mobile, Telephony, Wearables, Social, Bots, Media, Smart devices, VR etc.

What the client said

“We worked with TORI, a trusted strategic partner, over 12 months across various Digital initiatives supporting our internal teams. TORI provided highly skilled, knowledgeable and helpful SMEs across multiple disciplines. They worked through complex issues helping us to deliver our Digital transformation programs, never losing sight of our key business drivers and always delivering against agreed targets.” - Chief Technology Officer

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