Imperative Health accelerate the launch of intelligent health coaching service

“We would not have made our launch date without being able to draw on Tessella’s flexible pool of experienced talent. I have been in this industry a long time and I can say without doubt that Tessella consultants and developers are some of the best in the business. The success of this project has, in large part, been down to their knowledge, professionalism and ability to deliver.”

Ogi Bataveljic, CTO, Imperative Health

When Imperative Health needed a rapid turnaround on the launch of a new online health coaching website, they called on Tessella’s unique blend of high quality consultancy, design and development expertise. The resulting solution was fully project managed through to completion in record time to support an aggressive launch.

Business background and challenge

Imperative Health, a spin-off business from Unilever’s R&D labs, is an innovative online health behaviour change and coaching service designed to help private individuals and company employees develop and sustain healthier lifestyles.

The service uses intelligent algorithms and knowledge-based technology to provide tailored behaviour change programmes that tackle lifestyle goals and objectives, such as helping reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, helping control diabetes, improve fitness and reduce weight.

Ogi Bataveljic, CTO at Imperative Health, explains, “The early vision for an intelligent health coaching service came out of Unilever Corporate Research. Unilever were excited by the idea, and decided to provide the seed funding to enable us to start a spinoff company and bring the technology to market”.

Working against aggressive business targets, the new management quickly set about teaming up with an experienced consultancy and software development partner to help turn the vision into a reality. Ogi continues, “Although simple in concept, intelligent health coaching requires the application of some pretty complex back-end knowledge and AI-based technology in combination with a very intuitive and useable front-end. It was also important for the system to be properly architected to ensure it could be easily maintained, scaled and extended in the future”.

Tessella were chosen to fully manage the project from initial business analysis, through design and development to launch. Ogi adds, “Tessella has a reputation for high quality software development expertise, but what made them stand out for us was the calibre of their consultants. We needed people that could become part of the team, add value, challenge assumptions and really help us shape the overall solution. It was also important for us to be able to flex this resource as we moved through different stages of the project. Tessella was a perfect fit on all these fronts.”

 

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Solution and benefits

The team quickly moved from business analysis to system requirements, architecting the solution into three main layers – presentation, business logic and data. Ogi continues, “We were under pressure to launch the new service, but it was also vital that what we were building was robust, well structured, well tested and fully documented. Tessella took great care in all of this, as well as ensuring the project kept on track.”

The business logic layer in particular needed to be right. Tessella created a rich .NET library containing all the algorithms and rules that drive the interactions and lifestyle objectives for users of the service. This entails gathering information and building personalised health programmes designed to create new habits and routines. This could mean, for example, taking an individual from being overweight, inactive, and with high cholesterol, to a point where they have reduced their weight by 5%, cut cholesterol levels and doubled their activity levels.

In addition, because clients would mainly be interacting with the intelligent logic through the Imperative Health website, it was crucial for the interface to be very intuitive and easy to use. Ogi explains, “One thing that impressed me a lot was Tessella’s approach to user centred design. We did not commit any development effort without first testing and prototyping the interface with carefully selected focus groups. This enabled us to eliminate a vast number of usability issues and ensure the service was engaging and simple to use.”

The new service was delivered on time and to budget, against aggressive business targets. Ogi is delighted with the result, “We would not have made our launch date without being able to draw on Tessella’s flexible pool of experienced talent. I have been in this industry a long time and I can say without doubt that Tessella consultants and developers are some of the best in the business. The success of this project has, in large part, been down to their knowledge, professionalism and ability to deliver.”

Future

With the number of Imperative Health clients growing by the day, Ogi is keen to build on the initial success, “It is vital we keep innovating in order to maintain our lead. We will be expanding the business through a number of different channels and in support of this we already have a very ambitious programme of new software development. The partnership with Tessella will be vital to us meeting our ongoing business targets as we move forward.”

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