Case Study:


Fathom and Capita – Crystallising the “art of the possible”

Fathom has worked with Capita since 2005. Together the partners have delivered multiple complex projects successfully.

Capita focuses on major business transformation. Clients tend to be looking to bring innovation to large-scale, multi-site operations. Fathom works with Capita when Capita already has a clear specification of client requirements and, also, when Capita doesn’t – in this case Fathom works on the “art of the possible”.

Capita’s clients value improving their service delivery to customers and developing their own staff. Capita and Fathom work together to ensure that solutions reflect these values. The Fathom team has acted as a trusted advisor to Capita in a number of areas, from prototype build to legacy system adoption.

Fathom works with Capita to create sales force mobilisation tools that provide the Capita sales team with working prototypes of a potential system without the overhead or cost of a full-blown project.

Once a sale has been made, Fathom supports Capita with ground up development, analysing real business problems, eliciting requirements and from them building configurable platforms for roll out via a phased agile approach.

Very often clients are not planning a big bang approach to an entirely new system. Many will be looking to add new features to existing systems or link current systems for the first time. The Fathom team works with Capita on middleware projects to provide integration between two or more existing environments, or products, creating a fully working and supportable new solution.

Organisations that have invested heavily in solutions often need legacy system support to maximise their investment. Fathom works with Capita to stabilise legacy systems, extend the systems as required and support them.

Fathom’s role is to handle often-complex technical aspects of Capita’s projects while at the same time generating ideas that create value, allowing Capita to better service its clients.

Ground-up development

Fathom works with Capita on ground-up development, providing highly technical input and fresh ideas on major projects. The partners worked together on a Portal Framework for the Cabinet Office. In May 2013 the Cabinet Office had a requirement to create an enhanced portal to handle employee pension claims.

Previously the system simply enabled a claim form to be filled in by two people. An employee could submit a request to the employer to fill in part 1 of the form; the employer would then send it back to the employee to fill in their part of the form.

The Cabinet Office needed to include a number of other parties into this business process, so that the portal would encompass the entire end-to-end process. If an employee was unable to work due to health issues and wanted to claim their pension then the employee would go to the doctor. The doctor would submit the documents required to prove the employee could not work and send them to the health provider. Capita has several tie-ups with health providers who would look at the form to assess the claim. Then it would go through to the pension providers. There also needed to be a feedback aspect so that if the employee was not happy with a decision they could feed back into the system and get a response within a specified timeframe.

Fathom held product workshops with the Capita team serving the Cabinet Office to tease out what they wanted, and then, during the development phase, supported project plans with “show and tell” sessions using beta systems to demonstrate the various possibilities. This reduced the testing time required and there were no surprises at the end as the client was able to see the product in development.

Fathom and Capita have now developed a process flow that covers all the Cabinet Office needs. At the same time, the process flow may be easily repurposed and configured for other clients, saving time and money for future developments.

Sales force mobilisation tools

Fathom works with Capita to create beta versions of tools that Capita’s sales force could use to illustrate potential solutions to prospective clients. The sales force is then able to mobilise into new markets using beta solutions without the expense of developing a finished solution upfront.

Once the customer has seen what is possible, the partners work together to deliver solutions. Fathom took this approach with the Capita Health and Wellbeing FirstAssist trip advisory service. Organisations with large overseas clients may send a lot of their employees to various countries at fairly short notice and need to have an up-to-date risk assessment on that destination.

Capita’s chief medical officer (CMO) had identified a need for a system that would assess the health risks of each country and also look at factors such as evacuation – how easy it would be it to get employees out of the country in the case of a health emergency – and access to medical facilities.

Capita was looking to develop an algorithm that would account for all the health risk factors of a destination and come up with a combined risk assessment that would guide organisations’ decisions about whether or not to deploy workers to certain countries.

Fathom worked with Capita to tease out a complex algorithm and factor in and weight all the relevant parameters. The result was a highly effective risk analysis tool for travel, providing a health perspective risk rating service for employees travelling abroad.

Initially, the complex algorithm produced data that appeared quite complicated, with lots of attributes to it. Early user feedback confirmed that the system needed to be clearer. Ease of use was key so Fathom came up with the idea of presenting the information via a map of the world and a highly visual Red, Amber and Green traffic light reporting tool provided effective visual representation of risk.

Fathom also developed a health passport feature. If an employee was going to go to a certain country they would have to click on a link to say that they had interacted with the trip advisory service and that they had taken all the precautions that were listed under that particular country.

Fathom created a beta version of the solution, which gave the sales team a tool to go out and start to show people what was possible. Each different client could brand a trip advisory portal as their own and tweak it to reflect their own parameters.

In this case, the Fathom-Capita relationship crystallised the art of the possible. Capita brought the concept of an algorithm and from it Fathom created an effective real-world solution.

Inheritance and legacy support

Capita has many large clients who have invested heavily in systems over long periods of time. Fathom works with Capita on major projects that enable clients to continue to get value from legacy systems.

Alongside Capita Customer Management, Fathom helped support the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Aid Agency in bringing a mission-critical legacy system up-to-date. The system comprised a call centre, where agents were supported by a constantly updated information resource, a public facing informative website and a case management system that solicitors were able to access.

Back in 2008 the Legal Aid Agency (or the Legal Services Commission as it was then) systems had big sections of code missing or compiled, so they could not be edited. Fathom began by writing the missing bits of code for the application so that the Legal Aid Agency had a complete code base for its legacy system. Then over the next six years, alongside Capita, Fathom carried out several hundred thousand pounds worth of updates on the system.

As well as the bread and butter work of updating the system, Fathom handled a wish list of features that the Legal Aid Agency wanted to add to the system. Fathom brought its technical expertise to bear specifying detailed customer requirements and adding value by introducing new ideas and producing mock-ups to show the Agency how the suggested solution might look.

There was no room for error on this project; the Legal Aid Agency receives 1,000 calls a day through the system. Additionally there were challenging timescales, as legislation coming out from central government has to be reflected in the system as quickly as possible so that advisers are giving callers the correct information.

During this project, Fathom worked very closely with Capita’s operations team, which was more focussed on the legal aspects of the solution. Capita identified the major roadmap, while Fathom added value by suggesting changes to make the system more stable and more efficient for the user to navigate through.

Fathom supports Capita through the entire lifecycle of projects, starting with putting together clear and detailed specifications, supported by product mock-ups so that clients can see what they’re going to get. Throughout projects, Fathom is able to add new ideas to enhance the build, underpinned by a deep technical knowledge. Once the solution is implemented successfully, Fathom is there to underpin Capita’s support work too.

Ground-up development projects have seen Fathom’s activities aligned to Capita’s business strategy and executed according to plan. Projects are completed on time, on budget and to a high standard, resulting in satisfied clients.

Sales force mobilisation tools projects have achieved massive cost reductions. Fathom has developed beta products that Capita sales people can show prospective clients. They can gain valuable early feedback from users as well as providing insight into the accuracy of initial project cost and time estimates.

Fathom services for inheritance, legacy support and middleware projects include analysis work involving collaborative workshops to elicit real requirements, front-end visual design and build, back-end development, project management and quality assurance. Its work on inheritance, legacy support and middleware projects has ensured high profile systems have continued to perform, providing business as usual support for several key clients.

Fathom works hand in hand with Capita and as a trusted partner it has access to Capita servers and data, allowing it to add real and quantifiable value to Capita projects. The relationship, taking the “art of the possible” and mixing in some solid technical know-how, looks set to go from strength to strength.

Download PDF

What next?   if you like what we do, get in touch to find out how our design agency can help you

Need our help?