The history of The Royal Mint is woven into the fabric of Britain. Over 11 centuries, the Mint has overseen the reigns of 54 kings and queens, from Alfred the Great to Elizabeth II and most recently King Charles III – surviving invasions, wars, and political upheavals, in addition to introducing decimalisation over 50 years ago.
The Royal Mint has a rich history in producing bullion and commemorative and circulating coins, and medals for both domestic and international customers, including medals for the London 2012 Olympics. Today, it is the world’s leading export mint, making coins and medals for around 30 countries every year – contributing to millions of lives every day. As a manufacturer, exporter and employer, The Royal Mint has a real stake in the industrial life of the nation, and holds the exclusive contract to produce the UK’s coinage.
The Royal Mint by the numbers
Digitally transforming an iconic and revered UK institution
While The Royal Mint is one of the UK’s oldest businesses, it has also evolved in step with social and economic progress, as well as technology trends and scientific advances. In 2020, The Royal Mint put out a tender for a project to further support the digitalisation of its IT infrastructure. From a comprehensive list of contenders, Expleo was selected to partner with The Royal Mint to automate the testing of its digital platforms, helping the company continue its continuous evolution as a customer-centric, e-commerce operation and to enable its strategic goal of diversifying the commercial strands of the business.
Heightened customer expectations around seamless online digital experiences provided the impetus for The Royal Mint to replace legacy systems that were tying up resources and time. To support this transformation, Expleo served as quality partner, with a remit to automate the testing of the e-commerce digital platforms, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) across browser-based applications, system interfaces, and mobile applications. By providing guidance on refurbishing IT systems, Expleo supported The Royal Mint’s business-wide focus on continuously improving the customer experience.
The Royal Mint placed a high premium on Expleo’s domain expertise and proprietary methods for testing and assuring technology roll-outs as well as its technical capabilities that strengthen overall commercial agility and support on-going business expansion. Expleo applied its advanced testing capabilities to deliver The Royal Mint’s digital transformation agenda and broadened its product offering through a comprehensive website upgrade and replatforming. As part of the project, Expleo implemented a best-in-class testing framework at pace, to identify problems and challenges within the existing IT infrastructure, introducing innovative automation deployments to cover all website functionality. Expleo also oversaw the testing process for The Royal Mint’s switch to a new payment provider.
Our role is to support The Royal Mint’s digital journey from manufacturer to e-retailer and financial services provider. The Royal Mint is a customer-centric organisation and is continually striving for improvements to benefit those customers. Since working together, we have made great progress in transforming its legacy operation into an e-commerce-led business, while retaining its unique culture and prestige as an icon of British business. Modernising its systems is one of many steps The Royal Mint is taking to widen its global appeal as a symbol of excellence and craftsmanship
Foundation for expansion
Top of the list of deliverables was improving the existing website – RoyalMint.com – complete with a refined user experience. After extensive internal work, Expleo helped launch the new site, bringing an innovative, automation-first approach to assure the quality of the software development. The team implemented a quality assurance tool that has allowed The Royal Mint to develop new functionality for a smooth customer journey. As the e-commerce business continues to grow, The Royal Mint can iterate on the work implemented, and the internal web team will continue to monitor the quality of The Royal Mint’s online presence for years to come. The automation regression tools put in place have reduced the number of hours required to execute a core regression test pack by 80%.
The combined time to execute a regression for both the Royal Mint’s lifestyle website and main website has significantly reduced now, the same volume of testing is completed overnight, every day. This includes retesting existing functionality to ensure that changes or updates do not impact existing features.
We always look to find ways to pass on our expertise in agile working, as this will serve their teams well in the future. The Royal Mint has evolved rapidly in the last three years in terms of development testing. This challenge has brought out the best from our own team at Expleo.
Upholding the highest standards of customer service and production, while driving brand value are core focus areas for The Royal Mint. As such, enhancing the functionality is critical for a seamless user journey through the site, and all integrations need to work fluently as part of a streamlined digital experience for customers. The Royal Mint recognised the importance of rigorous testing of these elements before go-live.
Helping the Royal Mint achieve new standards of testing and quality assurance
Carrying out meticulous end-to-end testing was essential in establishing which existing features were not performing to their highest capabilities, while helping to identify vulnerabilities, and other issues early in the development cycle. Expleo introduced automation tests for a wide range of scenarios, facilitating timely fixes and preventing potential issues from reaching the live website or undermining the customer journey. The team’s automated testing experience also helped improve the accuracy and reliability of test results, eliminating the risk of human error, while significantly reducing the time and effort required to test software applications.
Expleo’s testing expertise improved the overall rigour around processes and systems for The Royal Mint. This was achieved through a series of best practice sessions, providing in-depth training for the development team on business agility, quality, and testing. And, due to the innovative nature of the testing tool, Expleo’s team learned valuable lessons from the partnership, which it has been able to apply to best practice models with other clients. As an extension of the engagement, The Royal Mint’s business analysis team also completed Expleo’s academy course, giving team members an accredited British Computer Science qualification. Now, the team is in an even better position to maintain efficient operational agility and to identify and resolve any issues that may arise due to system changes or updates.
Unlocking new viable revenue streams
In addition to setting a new standard for testing quality, Expleo’s automation-first approach facilitated the digitalisation of The Royal Mint’s online commercial operations. The team assured the complete replatforming of the company’s website, helping The Royal Mint accelerate time to market for new product lines and unlock new revenue streams like their ‘886’ range. The net result of this engagement also significantly freed up time and resources for The Royal Mint’s employees, boosting productivity, customer satisfaction, and The Royal Mint’s bottom line. Improved testing and bug detection capabilities have assured good quality customer service and dramatically decreased the risk of lost sales due to system downtime. Expleo’s quality assurance capabilities also bolstered the security of the Royal Mint’s website, mitigating the risk of cyber-attacks.
Expleo is a business that enjoys forming long-term partnerships – and The Royal Mint is one of our longest standing clients. It’s easy to sense the pride they all have in the company. Expleo has proved the right cultural fit and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved through our partnership
As a customer-centric business, we are always striving to provide the best possible service for our customers, at every touchpoint. Continuously improving our website and digital offering is key to that effort and Expleo’s services provide the best platform to meet our needs and deliver a premier customer experience.