For 170 years, Essilor Group (Essilor) has been devoted to designing, manufacturing and distributing ophthalmic lenses and equipment for eye care professionals. Headquartered in France, Essilor has 74,000 employees across 78 countries and serves more than 400,000 eye care professionals across the globe.
When COVID-19 emerged and closed eye care locations around the world, Essilor knew that processes and procedures would need to change once countries started reopening. They saw this as an opportunity to make a positive change in the face of uncertainty brought on by the global pandemic.
A Pivot in the Midst of a Pandemic
To reopen doctor’s offices safely, new practices were required in markets where customers and doctors alike were unaccustomed to these types of protocols. Essilor knew that it needed to act quickly to address this. To do so, they turned to Quisitive.
Quisitive had been working with Essilor since the previous fall, establishing their role as trusted advisors for application development. This strong foundation was critical for developing applications in a very short period of time as the teams had already established a trusted rapport and partnership.
Another factor in Quisitive and Essilor’s ability to innovate and develop solutions so rapidly was that Essilor was already in the cloud.
“This project was entirely driven by COVID-19. We wrote a one-pager internally and then brought in Quisitive to help us execute the concept. The developers really put it all in on this — they were extremely collaborative, agile, and worked within extremely tight timeframes.”
Vice President, Global Digital Technology, Essilor
Using Technology to Change Human Behavior
It was critical that this project accomplish two things. First, it needed to enable eye care professionals to easily schedule and administer appointments online. For some practices, this meant evolving from using sticky notes and notepads to an online interface, so the tool needed to be intuitive and streamlined.
The second piece was for customers who weren’t accustomed to needing to schedule an appointment to see an eye care provider. This is now handled both with an online app and via a QR code placed at the entryways of eye care providers. Customers scan the code which enters them into a queue and alerts them as to when they’re able to be seen by a doctor.
Both of these elements meant that a change needed to occur that went beyond technology — the app needed to help facilitate a true shift in both provider and customer behavior.
On top of these required outcomes, the apps needed to be up and running in a matter of weeks, as the EyeBookNow application was a catalyst to enable eye care providers to reopen, and Essilor needed to be ready when locations began reopening efforts.
The Right Team for Tight Timeframe
“We came up with a crazy plan to build two sites in eight weeks. One was to administer and onboard locations. The other was a customer-facing app to book appointments for eye exams and new lenses,” said Ramon Guerrero, Senior Consultant at Quisitive. “We split into two different teams and went to work. The designs were laid out and were built within eight weeks.”
Because the timeframe was so aggressive, having the right team in place to execute on development was critical.
“I think it’s safe to say that we had the right team more than we had the right plan. It was, in many ways, a crazy idea, but we met all of our delivery and deployment goals and have had no downtime since we launched,” said Mike Jensen, Lead Software Developer, Essilor.
A Solution that Extends Beyond COVID-19
While features and adjustments are continuing to roll out, the teams at both Essilor and Quisitive see these apps as having longevity far past the current pandemic.
“We’re looking at ways to create more stickiness for this. We don’t see this as just a COVID solution, but something that has a much longer lifetime,” said Jordan Loyd, Director, Global Program Development & Innovation, Essilor.
While the pandemic may have spurred this innovation, through a combination of a solid vision, and a strong partnership, the combined teams delivered a more performant and unique platform on an international scale through the people and processes that Quisitive offers as an extension of the Essilor organization. The ability to work in a nimble way made this project a success.
“As a long-standing Microsoft partner with an advanced specialization in Modern Application Development in Azure, Quisitive was excited to help Essilor take advantage of the capabilities provided to them in the cloud. We’re grateful for the opportunity to have worked with the team at Essilor to help kick their application development into High Gear. With the development of EyeBookNow, they have further proven themselves to be a company open to change with an interest in working with technology not only to better themselves but also to better their customers’ experiences.” – Steven Balusek, Quisitive Senior VP, Global Solutions Development