Barratt Developments - Kagool

Barratt Developments

How do you lay the foundations for sector-leading digital transformation for the UK’s largest housebuilder?

“Kagool were quickly able to put in place both lights-on application support, as well as an agile sprint process for continuous improvement. Both showed strong results early on and we have continued to evolve our processes over time. We feel in trusted hands with Kagool” - Shane Lightowler, Digital Project Manager, Barratt Developments

The Challenge

Barratt Developments is the UK's largest house builder and a FTSE 100 company. Their vision is to lead the future of housebuilding by putting customers at the heart of everything they do.

They invested in Sitecore because of the advanced context marketing and personalisation features of the platform but faced challenges being able to properly leverage the full capability of the platform.

The existing, fragmented digital infrastructure restricted the digital team’s ambition, meaning the team was often focused on firefighting rather than proactively acting upon marketing opportunities.  This limited the ability to achieve their digital goals.

The Approach: Instilling best practice

Kagool has worked with Barratt to improve the experience for both internal users and customers by benchmarking their brand against their industry, implementing a design first approach, agile processes and a user-driven focus.

MVP technical review
Our development team conducted a holistic technical review of the existing implementation and presented our recommendations to the Barratt leadership team.  Immersing our team in the business and back-end of the website we were able to highlight specific areas of improvement. Our overriding recommendation was to upgrade to the latest version of Sitecore to realise their digital ambitions at the pace their business requires.

Prior to starting the upgrade project, we ran a series of agile sprints to make immediate, quick win improvements to the existing Sitecore instance to enhance the user experience for Barratt internal users and Barratt customers alike.

Creative & UX

Kagool’s creative & UX teams undertook a competitor benchmarking review to assess Barratt’s existing digital experience versus key competitors, which we baselined by user testing across Barratt’s key user segments.

The output of this exercise was recommendations for UX & IA improvements to the website, all validated by research into competitors and customer expectations. Recommendations were factored into a Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) programme and will inform Barratt’s digital strategy in the future.

We produced design style guides to ensure a single source of truth for a consistent user experience throughout all of Barratt’s digital touchpoints and conduct weekly design stand-ups to identify creative & UX opportunities.

Ways of Working
Kagool has worked closely with Barratt on collaborative ways of working processes to onboard the existing Sitecore site and support effective utilisation of the platform. Since appointment we’ve worked together as one team, utilising agile methodology whilst adapting to the changing business environment and resource to ensure effective collaboration.

Platform Stability
We identified in the technical audit that Barratt’s existing Solr implementation was the source of performance issues and a key milestone was the successful migration to a fully managed solution with our partner SearchStax.

After implementing the new Solr environment with SearchStax, the number of search performance related issues on the Barratt website have been drastically reduced. The number of P1 support tickets relating to Solr which had previously accounted for nearly 60% of P1 support tickets has been reduced to zero.

Support
We implemented a robust support process to track continuous improvement. Our dedicated support team is external to the project team, ensuring project management and delivery are never compromised.

Barratt is able to rely on Kagool for weekly support calls, monthly service reviews and consistent meeting of SLAs.


Impact

  • 10 sprints of functionality deployed to Barratt live environment.
  • Code deployment releases reduced from average of 3 days to half a day.
  • 80% reduction in P1 issues since migrating to Solr implementation with SearchStax.
  • 99% of tickets resolved within SLA since May.
  • 42% of all incidents resolved within 1 day of logging with Kagool Support


What’s next?
We have successfully worked together as one team to lay the foundations for Barratt to realise their ambitious digital roadmap.

Once equipped with the latest Sitecore implementation, built to best-practice standards, Barratt will be able to implement a context marketing based digital strategy to drive personalisation and optimise the user experience for the three persona audience segments.

“Kagool laid the foundations for the positive collaborative relationship we have one year on. The work done in the initial few months has laid the basis for a solid programme of work that will take us deep into 2021 – I have every confidence in Kagool’s continuing ability to deliver strong work for us”

Shane Lightowler, Digital Project Manager, Barratt Developments