MY DRIVING ACADEMY - Digitalizing the Swedish traffic school industry with an all-in-one platform
When My Driving Academy was founded in 2013, traffic education in Sweden was highly fragmented and one of the few remaining consumer industries that had almost entirely escaped digital development. The whole process of obtaining a driver’s license—from securing a permit to studying, practicing, and passing the test—was time consuming, disorganized, and stressful. And it was not adapted to the digital convenience standards demanded by a primarily young consumer group.
Intent on consolidating the market and disrupting established working standards, My Driving Academy set out to create the best traffic school in Sweden. Developing a central, mobile-friendly platform became a critical part of that equation.
Towards the end of 2017, My Driving Academy contacted us at Fastdev to help develop a solution that would enable a drastically smoother journey for securing a driver’s license. They wanted an all-in-one digital platform and app where driving students could easily study theory, book and pay for driving lessons and courses, track their development, and communicate with instructors.
A team of Fastdev developers was assembled for the project under the direction of My Driving Academy’s CTO Jason Davis.
Keeping costs low and producing a working solution as quickly as possible was a priority from the start. For this reason, it was decided that instead of building a solution from scratch the team would customize an “off-the-shelf” technology stack.
“Other people think you have to build from scratch, but you end up making all the same mistakes at ten times the cost,” says Jason. “I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Our approach was to take it and glue it into what we have. That way, we could focus on the integration work and creating the best possible user experience at a much faster speed.”
A core functionality in their requirements was a platform for managing, selling, and marketing time slots. After investigating several options they ultimately chose SimplyBook.me, which was originally created for hair salons. Since one of My Driving Academy’s primary roles is selling time slots to driving students, it was an ideal fit.
Now the big task for Fastdev developers was to dig into the architecture and APIs of SimplyBook.me and discover what integrations and customizations were needed to transform it from an off-the-shelf solution to a solution optimized for their business.
The first step was creating an action plan and defining what features could be met with the current off-the-shelf solution, and what needed to be built from scratch. Together with My Driving Academy, our developer team ran through the initial prototype to explore what was both possible and most economical when it came to removing existing roadblocks and creating a more customized user experience.
A new basic prototype of the platform was created that contained all of the essential components: an interface for students booking driving lessons; an Instructor Dashboard built from scratch to enable teachers to view bookings and access a progress report card for each student; and a learning interface where students can practice multiple-choice test questions on driving rules.
To make the booking process as smooth as possible, a creative solution was required to ensure the two different databases were effectively synched. Next, the developer team integrated critical third-party systems such as Klarna Checkout and Intercom. Then they made adjustments to ensure the system complies with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
Finally, the developers polished the code and made additional architectural changes to ensure a seamless user experience. To realize a complete solution, a few components were built from scratch including a cashing system to speed up loading time, a checkout timer that secures timeslots for a defined time period during checkout, and a hybrid chat solution that allows students and teachers to chat for free while eliminating the cost of a third-party solution.
Today, after using the first generation platform for just over a year, My Driving Academy has been able to realize their dream of digitalizing the driving school experience. Their all-in-one platform combines over 100 years of collective teaching experience with more than 1,000,000 data points of user statistics to create an optimal training process for each student—far exceeding anything their competitors are offering.
“We have data showing that a student who follows the My Driving Academy’s training steps, on average, doubles their probability of passing the theory test, while the time spent preparing for it is cut in half,” reports Jason.
“It was way faster to build off-the-shelf,” says Jason. “If we had built it from scratch it would have taken at least one year. We started on November 1st and launched about four months later— we saved at least eight months.”
My Driving Academy’s CEO Tom Hansson is also excited about the results:
“Every year, about 20% of all driving students in Sweden download the My Driving Academy app. Of these students, approximately 1,000 are utilizing the entire My Driving Academy offer—using theory the exercises and booking driving lessons via the app.”
“The next step will be to further personalize the training steps in the app so that it becomes even more relevant and as effective and cheap as possible,” he adds. “Thanks to Fastdev’s impressive flexibility, we can continue to develop the service in the direction we want.”