Hackathons and improving the Client Experience

Blog Post created by echen Employee on Jun 6, 2018

It's been awesome meeting many of you through the recent IRESS 'Product Strategy & Technology Update' sessions, virtually and in person!  Whilst the presentations were focused on the initiatives for Wealth Management, the underlying key message was very much around our design process and how we are adopting a human centered design approach, in order to improve your experience and that of your clients.


This was front of mind when I was asked to choose a theme for this year's 'Global Hackathon' - so the goal for the event was "Improving the Client Experience".


Now for those of you that have not heard about the concept of "Hackathon", it is worthwhile checking out Michael Kinens's blog on how it all works, including tips from our CTO, Andrew Todd, on why you should consider running one and how to make your's a success. Don't be alarmed, a Hackathon (a portmanteau of the word "hack" and "marathon") isn't all about hacking into or breaking our systems.  Hackathons are focused on inspiring and further supporting creative and innovative ideas - and they're not always about software.  The outcomes could be process improvements, either internal and/or client facing initiatives. 


Our Hackathons are high energy 24 hour events (technically 38 hours as we start in Sydney, Australia at 2pm and finish in Toronto, Canada at 2pm) which see our staff forming teams around a problem or idea with the goal of collaboratively designing and building a unique solution from scratch.  Last year's winning idea, iAssist was subsequently 'productionised' and shipped as part of XPLAN release 2.23.  For those that haven't seen or used iAssist, the feature allows users to easily and securely provide our support team with temporary access to their site to investigate issues greatly reducing the effort required to describe, diagnose and address problems.



As the Global Hackathon coordinator this year, I was overwhelmed by what we'd achieved:

  • over 600 people across 5 countries and 12 offices formed 130 teams and pitched over 250 ideas,
  • involvement from Amazon who kindly shared a technique they commonly utlise (the concept of "Start with the Customer and Work Backwards" was first outlined in a letter to shareholders by Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezo),
  • In 24 hours we saw 132 solutions developed with cross functional & cross regional teams formed, and
  • the amazing determination our staff demonstrated on improving the client experience through creative and innovative solutions.


There were a range of initiatives presented anchored to the theme including; onboarding new clients, uplifting the experience for our partners using our API Portal, developer tools to build better front-end solutions, as well as client service and support related solutions. 


As we announce the results of the 2018 Hackathon, our focus now shifts to implementing as many of these ideas as we can.


I looking forward to sharing further updates with you.