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Case study

Lulu Exchange Builds The Blueprint for a Market-Leading MENA Fintech Product

Payments

Challenge

LuLu Exchange needed to evolve from a brick-and-mortar model to meet the digital payment expectations of the UAE's large Indian and Pakistani expat community.

Outcome

Our collaboration provided LuLu Exchange with the building blocks needed to establish a regionally significant FX trading app and a practical software production framework to take it to market.

LuLu Exchange is a currency exchange and money transfer service based in the United Arab Emirates. From just one location in 2009, the company has expanded to 225 branches across 11 countries.

Going digital

LuLu Exchange facilitates a large volume of international remittances sent by the UAE’s sizable expat Indian and Pakistani community. To keep up with these customers’ expectations for a seamless digital payments experience, the client knew they needed to outgrow their exclusively bricks-and-mortar operation.  

 

LuLu Exchange spotted a gap in the MENA market for a truly mature cross-border payments platform. They set out to develop the region’s most feature-rich digital FinTech product, Digit9, that would match the offerings in place in European markets.

Solving for a complex environment

LuLu Exchange sought to augment their in-house technological capacity with a trusted partner, with prior experience in building payment software solutions.

 

The client’s main challenges included Any collaborator needed to be able to provide the technical firepower to fill out the client's starting ambitions for the platform.

 

These included:

  • Multi-currency transactions across borders
  • Modular services to create an out-of-the-box solution for all needs
  • Embedded finance applications
  • Open banking API
  • Capacity to handle over 300 transactions per second across a network of over 2,000 partners

Endava’s previous work with a leading London-based payments provider caught LuLu Exchange’s attention. Our long track record of excellence in delivering integrated payment platforms inspired confidence that Endava could chart a course to a tool that ticked all these boxes.

Digit9 is a cross border payments orchestrator platform, changing the way fintechs and FIs are offering cross border payments to their customers by providing a truly plug and play solution to financial institutions. We are extremely thankful to the Endava team for helping us design and develop this innovative solution - they are the best partner a business can have.

Joseph Cleetus

Business Transformation Manager, LuLu International Exchange

Native client third-party integrating: To add more depth to the platform experience, the client prioritised adding apps that enable: 

  • Enterprise content management: With the assortment of content management systems already under the client’s umbrella of offerings, we instituted enhancements and new features to improve the platform’s functions across the many operating systems it serves. The work included rebranding the user experience and interface, security upgrades and resolving several internal and customer-flagged product issues.     

      

  • Social media syncing and emoji use: We assisted in adding an app that allows the client’s user to connect the platform to a well-known messaging app and use emojis within that integration. We worked with native and web-based engineering team to remove potential obstacles and de-bugged certain areas to make the integration more stable and ready for rollout.
  • Interoperable collaboration: We supported adding a collaborative board app into the client’s platform to allow collaboration without context switching. Work included authentication oversight, native integration into multiple operating systems, adding business/operation metrics and making the functions more accessible.

Working according to plan

The first stage of Endava’s engagement with LuLu Exchange consisted of defining the precise requirements of the final product in the context of the client’s current capacities. This initial sketch of the product’s capacities could then form the basis of a roadmap for delivery.

 

To execute this fact-finding phase, Endava formed a small discovery team of architects, business analysts, developers, testing consultants and UX/UI experts, all overseen by a delivery manager and project manager. Work was undertaken according to The Endava Adaptive Model (TEAM). This framework for agile project management sees product owners pre-define all necessary tasks for the integrated scrum team to complete in their sprints.

 

Endava’s business analysts rigorously reviewed the client’s systems architecture to identify their bespoke requirements, plus the practicalities of how a new app would slot into the existing ecosystem.

Mapping out the right functions

Through these insights, the team determined that Digit9 should be built according to an event-driven microservices style. 
 
This top-level strategic choice gave the team the clarity to identify the three parent functionalities in the app’s hierarchy of potential features.

 

These were:

  • Centralized relationship management

    The platform must be accessible for customers, administrators and regulators. Our teams identified routes for smooth onboarding, platform setup and governance oversight.

  • Centralized funds management
    The scrum team were unanimous that an intuitive customer dashboard, providing full visibility over account balances, transactions and market rates, would be integral to the user experience. This should connect to a simple mechanism for topping up e-wallets and converting currencies.

  • Data insights, control and efficiency

    The team identified data transparency as a further priority. The platform should be able to generate detailed reports for customers, regulators and merchants, and serve push notifications for important in-app content and news.

A model for excellence in MENA

With these key milestones defined, the team were able to create sample designs for the look and feel of Digit9. This fed into a costed roadmap for eventual delivery of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

 

Taken together, this project adds up to a prototype for the most sophisticated FX trading app in the MENA region. Endava’s work gave LuLu Exchange a design that they have taken into their in-house development work on Digit9.

 

The collaboration also armed the client with a powerful methodology for software production. LuLu Exchange found TEAM highly instructive and has incorporated aspects of it into their own working practices.

 

At the end of the collaboration, LuLu Exchange had the building blocks of a regionally-significant FinTech product and a practical framework for taking it to market.

 

Endava has come away from the engagement with a strong relationship with a trusted partner who are leading in a sector with huge growth potential.

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