When Virgin Money was looking to improve its product offering for SME customers, it worked alongside Kiwi SaaS success, 9Spokes, to build a custom version of its business dashboard solution, M-Track, unlocking better insights for Virgin’s customers and the bank itself.
Businesses of all sizes generate massive amounts of data – cashflow, bank balances, inventory, marketing results and more, and too often it sits in all sorts of different places. Many small and medium business leaders find themselves switching between different services and platforms, logging in and out constantly, and never seeing the full picture.
Kiwi tech company 9Spokes has been providing top-of-the-line insights to small and medium businesses since 2012. The 9Spokes dashboard allows SME leaders to connect all of their services into a centralised hub, and get a birds-eye view of how their business is going, the kind of view which had been restricted to enterprise scale businesses until then.
“When we first started out, apps were being developed rapidly and we realised there was an appetite for business owners to harness their data in a meaningful way,” says Jesper Peterson, Chief Technology Officer at 9Spokes.
When the global pandemic hit, it inspired new ways of working. SME’s had to become more agile, more resilient and more creative in their operations and so 9Spokes solutions were a valuable addition to banks’ platforms and their SME customers.
Allowing for consistent updates, easy global scaling and world-class security, the 9Spokes platform is built in the cloud on Azure. The clear benefits of this have assisted with 9Spokes’ business growth, alongside its partnerships with banks, who provide the power of 9Spokes to their SME customers.
Coming to the aid of Virgin
Virgin Money UK is a bank that has been undergoing a major transformation, integrating with another business and working to build a new kind of bank. In 2020, Virgin Money was awarded a £35million grant from Banking Competition Remedies to boost its banking support to businesses.
Part of the company’s growth plan is to work alongside a group of SaaS partners, including 9Spokes, to build a new product offering for SME customers.
“Time is the most valuable asset SME leaders have,” says Graeme Sands, Head of Business Products and Lending at Virgin Money UK. “They often struggle to get everything done, which means many will benefit from trying to consolidate and use data from multiple sources.”
In order to help create more time for its SME customers, and ensure they can make use of that data, 9Spokes worked alongside Virgin Money and its partners to build M-Track, a custom version of the 9Spokes platform built just for Virgin Money’s customers. M-Track, which launched in preview late last year and fully earlier in 2022, provides all the benefits of 9Spokes, with the added benefit of single sign-on and deep integration with their bank data, putting the businesses’ bank balance right there with the rest of their data.
By connecting all their separate business applications into one platform, M-Track provides Virgin Money customers with a snapshot view of their business’s position, with personalised insights drawing together data from various sources including their current account, accountancy software, e-commerce platform, social media and other business tools too.
From keeping cashflows in check, which enable customers to make spending decisions, to providing valuable insights that assist with forecasting and more, the online platform provides the intel for businesses to spot opportunities to maximise their potential.
“M-track enables customers to collate their banking information with data from the other systems they use to run their business, making it easier for small businesses to track, plan and see the bigger picture through a single dashboard,” says Graeme.
Right on Track
In previous years, a bank like Virgin Money might have tried to build a solution like M-Track on their own, but working with 9Spokes has allowed for speedier development, and ongoing support and development in line with the main 9Spokes platform.
“The 9Spokes platform was well aligned to the foundations of what we wanted to build, with so many connections ready to go. Working with 9Spokes meant that the speed at which we were able to develop M-Track and bring it to market was increased,” says Graeme.
Within the first year of development, M-Track was able to benefit from a decade of insights and integrations from 9Spokes, and going forward, Virgin Money’s customers will also get to see consistent new features, with speedy updates enabled by 9Spokes’ use of Azure DevOps.
“We update our platform on a bi-weekly basis, so we’re constantly adding new features,” says Jesper. “Those updates roll out across the main 9Spokes platform as well as M-Track, and we can customise the rollout of new features using feature flags to ensure we’re providing the best experience for Virgin Money’s customers.”
While Virgin Money’s customers are seeing the benefit of increased insights and data about their business, Virgin Money also benefits from insights into how its customers use the platform, enabling a more informed approach to the development of further products and offerings for its business customers going forward.
It’s still early days for M-Track, but all parties are looking forward to seeing where the platform can go, and what benefits it can unlock for businesses.
“9Spokes is an amazing example of a Kiwi company doing great things on the big stage,” says Hayley Horan, SaaS Partner Lead at Microsoft New Zealand. “Due to the speed, growth and experience within the SaaS community, many businesses are moving away from developing solutions in-house, and are realising that integrating and customising their product offerings with existing tech solutions is a much more cost-effective solution.”
“Great software can help create opportunities for businesses of all sizes, and it’s exciting to see the 9Spokes team enabling improved solutions for small and medium businesses not just at home, but across the globe.”