Bolero interview

“Built and delivered, before the deadline, without scope cuts”



Interview with Bart Vanhaeren,
Managing Director at KBC Securities

Bolero is the online trading platform of KBC Securities, one of Belgium’s leading equity and debt specialists. In 2012, Bolero faced the challenge of updating its outdated web application as well as developing, from scratch, mobile applications. Bolero teamed with iCapps to tackle the latter challenge.

iCapps’ Concept & Design team developed the front-end of an iPhone app (June 2014), iPad app (November 2014), Apple Watch app (April 2015), Android phone app (May 2016) and Android tablet app (October 2016) - all focused on usability and user experience. The new Bolero app offers a wide range of features to investors: they can manage their portfolio and follow its performance, place orders, organize their favorite securities in personal watchlists and keep an eye on them, receive news on the stock market as well as tips and analyses from experts  - all this from wherever they are: on the road, at the office or on the sofa.

From a pioneer in need of revitalization
​​​​​​​to the reference online trading platform

Almost 15 years ago, Bolero was one of the pioneers in the online trading market. But between 2005 and 2012, Bolero saw its market share decrease year after year. A strategic review showed that one of its weaknesses compared to its more successful competitors was its outdated online platform: Bolero’s web platform was written in flash, so it was not responsive. It was designed in DOS-like spreadsheets - unfriendly to the eye, to say the least. And a mobile platform did not even exist. This may have been sufficient in the year 2000, but with the rapid developments in web and mobile technologies, it is no surprise that Bolero was losing ground by 2012.

Digital strategy: Usability and user experience

For the development of its mobile applications, Bolero partnered with iCapps. Our Concept & Design team created the wireframes and designs for the mobile applications, in close collaboration with the KBC ICT development team, which took on the middleware and backend development, and with Kunstmaan, who built the integrated web-services and a new frontend website. The goal was to develop and implement a platform that was a clear step ahead of the competition and that would be seen as the reference platform in terms of look & feel and design. The main challenge: to design an easy-to-use and good-looking app.

Bolero’s strategy has not missed its effect. In less than a week time, the iPhone App, the first app to be developed, was downloaded 2000 times. Twenty percent of the logins and 5% of the trades on the Bolero platform were coming via the App. Since the new platform has been rolled out, Bolero has seen its assets under management and its revenue triple.

Developing a user-friendly and well-designed trading platform is not be underestimated. Bart Vanhaeren, Managing Director KBC Securities explains: “I think everyone can agree that developing a mobile platform for a broker is not quite as simple as developing, for example, an app for a web shop. A financial app such as Bolero’s has to integrate complex data and graphs in an accurate yet user-friendly and attractive way.”

They did a very good job, I can't say it any other way.
Bart Vanhaeren
iCapps brings new and interesting ideas to our meetings.
Bart Vanhaeren

A proactive partner

The choice for iCapps was not a difficult one. iCapps had already done a great job in developing the KBC Mobile Banking apps for KBC Bank and Insurance, sister company of KBC Securities. Bart Vanhaeren: “We had heard of the smooth collaboration between iCapps and KBC Bank and Insurance, and had seen the successful KBC Mobile app. So the decision to work with iCapps was an easy one.”

And Bolero certainly did not come to regret this choice. Bart Vanhaeren: “They did a very good job, I can’t say it any other way. The team managed to build and deliver the different apps as planned, before the deadline and without scope cuts. Above all, we really appreciated the proactive attitude of the iCapps team: they did not just do what they were asked to do, but also used their own expertise and experience to come up with their own ideas about how to make Bolero even better. Even now, during the maintenance phase, iCapps still brings interesting new ideas to our meetings - about chatbots, for example.”

A team effort

But even when you’re working with skilled and proactive partners, collaboration is key in making such a project a success. During peak periods, about 20 experts (consultants from different partners and internal employees) worked on the Bolero project. A SCRUM method was used, with three-week sprints. Throughout the project, the iCapps team and other external experts stayed in close contact via regular meetings and conference calls. And on top of this, bugfix days were organized at Bolero during the User Acceptance Testing phase.

David Belien, Application Manager at Bolero: “The atmosphere throughout the project was very positive. We all wanted to make the new Bolero platform a success., but thanks to a strong cohesion and a common project governance across all entities, it felt like we were all colleagues within the same company”.

It felt like we were all colleagues from the same company
David Belien

Want to know more about Bolero?

We already published a case study for the Bolero Project a while ago. Focussing more on the platform itself.

Interested?

We’d be happy to tell you more about our work, as well as the possibilities for your organization.