A bespoke database solution for a charity fundraising company

Heliocentrix Cloud

The business challenge

Our client was evolving. Its services had significantly changed and the company wanted to become more agile in its approach. However, its team was wasting many hours on manual data processing tasks and checks. In addition, the team had grown and the business had expanded to two offices.

The company already had a bespoke Access database which had been designed to handle large numbers of charity donators and reconciliation of their payments. This system had performed well in its 10-year lifespan and had adapted to many changes within the business. However, our client now needed a new system that could manage automation and improve accuracy.

The technology solution

Heliocentrix’s Managing Director designed the existing database in 2005. However, the decision was made to build a new system from scratch that had a much wider scope. The new bespoke database would interact with other third-party solutions, be customisable as the business changes, be able to handle large quantities of data, manage significantly more automation, be user-friendly, be scalable, work with the latest technology, and act as a CRM system as well as an admin processing system.

The goals were to reduce the amount of time and people it took to complete manual admin tasks, such as invoicing, as well as improve on accuracy.

The Heliocentrix solution

We built Jupiter, a new database based on PHP using the Laravel framework. It interacts with other internal and external third-party business applications, such as Citrix Sharefile, allowing our client to collect data and disseminate it to the other organisations that they work with. We also built a custom Excel plugin to integrate with the data.

The solution has been an evolving process. The original Access database was designed to handle large numbers of charity donors and their payments. The new system also automates reports and database queries. It automatically checks and flags anomalies, such as unexpected donation payments, which would previously have been a laborious manual process. The complex invoicing process was also simplified. Tasks that took weeks to complete and were costly to the business were eliminated.

With a fully customisable solution, when our client wants changes, such as field names or new processes, it is quick and easy. The user experience can also be amended, such as with the addition of simple tips on screen to guide users.

The solution continues to develop and progress. The next phase is to allow for real-time flow of data between systems to speed up the process of setting up donations.

The business benefits

The new system is available across both offices so the team can be spread out, with specialists in different offices. The application has significant benefits for the business:

  • Weekly invoicing reduced from more than half a day to an hour
  • Weekly reporting automated – removing the manual task that took hours each week
  • Fewer people are required to complete admin processes and therefore, can focus on higher skilled, revenue generating tasks
  • User-friendly interface, user journey and naming conventions built around the business so it is intuitive and requires little training
  • A solution based on the latest technology gives the business a competitive edge
  • Future proof system that adapts to business growth and change so saves money on new platforms
  • The business has been able to grow without having to significantly increase its headcount

“John and the team at Heliocentrix have built us an incredible, fully bespoke system that simply meets the needs of our growing business. Through automation and a user-friendly application we have saved hours, days even, each month in completing manual tasks which means we can provide a much better service to our clients while also reducing our operational costs.” Helen, Director

About Heliocentrix

Heliocentrix was established in 2008 when it became clear that having an affordable, secure and reliable IT infrastructure was proving very difficult for small businesses. As with many complex problems the solution was simple: to provide an innovative and flexible IT support service to allow our clients to focus on their core business. That’s what we still do today – make technology simple for growing business.

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