James Brookes. Water Babies Group Associate Director
Of all the systems we have developed over time Nemo is fundamental to the way we run and operate this business. It is my number one priority as an enabler for the successful, sustained and future development of Water Babies.
Today Water Babies is the recognised global leader for teaching baby swimming and one of the most respected franchise operators in the UK. During its early days of growth it quickly became clear that it could not operate a rapidly-expanding, franchise business efficiently based on its original systems built mainly in off-the-shelf Microsoft applications. It was all too labour intensive, as well as slow and expensive. For example it took two weeks of administration in every ten week cycle to process all the bookings manually across the three original franchises. This was unsustainable as the business grew.
Water Babies recognised that they needed an integrated system that could knit together data for all parties including customers (babies and their parents/carers); their teachers and franchise operators; and the various logistics and locations involved (pools, times, water temperatures) and more. They badly needed a system that would enable them to combine all the necessary CRM aspects of their business with the growing operational complexities, including batch payment processing and more; and one that was scalable and adaptable.
The result was Nemo, a fully integrated system unique to Water Babies’. Developing Nemo involved data modelling the entire business - with an eye to its future growth – and then designing a data architecture to enable both a “dry-side” and a “wet-side” view of the business. This was then translated into a simple user-friendly operating experience, based on button-and-quick-search box navigation, that worked for both the Water Babies business as well as for its franchisee customers. Nemo was developed to be able to yield detailed data and MI to enable full operational insight into the business. Way ahead of its time, Nemo was built as a single-page web application to behave like a desktop package.
From the outset Nemo was developed and designed to be constantly evolved, multi-lingual, multi-currency and, importantly, with integration to with multiple payment gateways and systems and easily “pluggable” for third parties.
Nemo has enabled Water Babies to grow rapidly both across the UK and around the world as the leading baby-swimming brand. Supporting different languages, currencies and timetables it has enabled the business model to be flexed as required to reflect local and global variations and operational demands. The system integrates with, and underpins, Water Babies’ core ecommerce, website and photography capabilities. It has been described as the backbone of the Water Babies business.