A Question of Trust - SNU Trust Case Study
Embarking on a large, complex and potentially expensive development project is often an act of faith. Without prior experience of software development, clients have to be able to trust their development partner. And when the business in question manages money for their customers, that trust becomes even more important.
The ability to put their faith in their development partner was especially important for the Spiritualists’ National Union Trust (SNU Trust) when they needed a more flexible solution to manage their range of financial services. And as both a mutual building society and registered charity, the SNU Trust couldn’t afford to make the wrong decision. They needed a partner they could trust completely, to guide them through the development process step by step.
The Spiritualists’ National Union Trust is a mutual building society that supports churches in the UK. Operating as a separate, independent entity to the Union itself, the Trust is a registered charity that’s bound by both Bank of England and FCA guidelines.
As a financial institution, the SNU Trust steps in where high street banks and building societies cannot, offering churches affordable interest rates.
The SNU Trust were using a system built on Microsoft Access to manage their client base and products - which needed to be updated significantly to meet the company’s growth objectives, provide more accurate financial information, and continue to deliver the high level of customer service they’d become known for.
The Trust’s existing software met their security needs - always a key factor in the financial sector - but gathering and processing account data was becoming increasingly labour intensive. Freeing up employees’ time by supporting more automation and simplifying workflows would directly translate into more efficient account management. It would allow their team to focus on customers, instead of navigating software that was becoming more cumbersome with age.
But when you’re handling customers’ money, and you’re bound by the restrictions of the Bank of England and FCA, you can’t just choose a developer based on their technological capabilities. The SNU Trust needed to know that the developer they chose understood their business model, understood their sector, understood them.
They were looking for a partner who would provide the reassurance, security and clarity they needed before they could invest in the software changes that facilitated their growth.
As the Trust’s Lesley Gilbey explains, they’d tried to find this trust elsewhere, and it hadn’t paid off:
“We had one attempt with another provider, but the system they provided was too simplistic.”
Fortunately for Lesley and the SNU Trust’s trustees, Transition understood exactly what they needed. A system that could meet their needs today and grow with them to meet any future challenges too.
Before a solution could be proposed, Transition would need to show the Trust that they could safely put their faith in us. So, we did what we do for every client. We got to know and understand them. Lesley continues:
“Dave [Gibson, Transition MD] took the time to research our company and asked dozens of relevant questions. It proved that we mattered to him, and that Transition were incredibly organised. This was key for us. It showed that Dave was bothered about the integrity of Transition, and of SNU Trust.”
By working to understand the Trust’s exact requirements and laying out our specific step-by-step process, we were able to allay Lesley’s concerns, explain where her previous developer had gone wrong, and give her the peace of mind she needed to commit to a project. A demonstration of our Adam platform, and examples of our background on similar financial projects sealed the deal.
This new project, a bespoke CRM system, would enable the Trust to manage interest-bearing accounts and asset-backed loans easily and effectively. Seven different account types would need to be supported, with flexible interest calculations, and the software itself would need to be secure and future-proofed.
Following our five-step development process, we designed, built and delivered a system that could:
- Allow the SNU Trust’s back-office teams to manage a variety of financial products
- Track and manage asset-backed loans, record payments and assess maturity
- Reconcile bank accounts and report on non-payments
- Store signed PDF contracts securely
- Help the Trust to segment members and market to them effectively
- Provide simple, transparent reports
- Work effectively for a minimum of 10 years, and support any partner changes
The system Transition designed and built is already meeting all of the Trust’s needs. Lesley and her team were delighted with the simplicity and effectiveness of the development process, and how we worked around the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our close cooperation and in-depth testing ensured that the SNU Trust team was always informed of the project’s progress and there were no nasty surprises when it came time to go live.
As Lesley summarises, they trusted Transition, and that trust was repaid:
“The process went better than expected. The team were patient and went over lots of things multiple times when required. We felt confident enough to ask questions and were happy with the answers we received.”
“We’re now getting much more accurate information, but it’s really the additional functionality that’s the benefit. Churches have been setting up different things for loan repayments, and now we can record that on the new system instead of spreadsheets. We’re able to be much more efficient.”
Trust earned, and trust repaid. No wonder the SNU Trust is happy to recommend Transition’s services.