Making a difference – The National Lottery Community Fund

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In Part 1 of my current Making a Difference blog series, I shared how Hyphen8 is taking strides towards our ultimate social mission.  In this blog, the focus is on how we worked in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund to implement their new grant management solution on Salesforce.  

The journey began in May 2019 when we were delighted to be selected as the implementation partner based on our expertise and experience in the grant-making sector.  This project pretty much ticked every box when it comes to the number of challenges that were faced:

  1. SCALE – 650+ users across 10 UK offices spanning a variety of roles with regional variations
  2. SCOPE – in parallel, following a strategic review of their grant programmes, the fund was launching a completely new consolidated and consistent product range
  3. TIMESCALES – the planned timings for the multi-phased launch (less than 6 months to the first go live) were challenging and did not leave much ‘wiggle room’ when it came to delivery slippage
  4. GOVERNANCE – as you would expect from a high profile public body, adherence to procurement and governance policies and procedures was imperative
  5. PEOPLE – this was a people project as well as a technology project with many stakeholders so the planning and of communication, training and support was recognised as a key success factor

Key success factors

With the above challenges in mind, Hyphen8 worked with the Fund’s service design team to agree an approach.  There were 3 main factors that contributed to the success of this project.

Agile approach

An agile approach allowed us to focus on building prototype solution elements quickly to demo them and get feedback with minimal documentation.  The team attended daily stand up calls to monitor the planned schedule of sprints and we used online task management and collaboration tools for continual updates.

It was agreed that the only way to achieve the aggressive project plan would be to stick to the MVP – Minimal Viable Product (early on this was actually changed to the MLP – minimum lovable product as it fit better with the user adoption plan).  Any change requests which resulted from users understanding the platform capabilities were carefully prioritised and pushed out to phase 2 if deemed nice to haves.

The go live was phased by geographical area starting with the team in Scotland.  This allowed us to immerse all resources on pre and post go live support, fine tune training materials and learn from the experience to inform the roll out.

Team

Hyphen8 worked very closely with the Fund’s service design, web and data teams towards a shared vision.  We became an extension of the internal team and were thrilled to be referred to as  ‘part of the family‘.  A mutual respect and trust has been maintained throughout the partnership which is important during an intense project.

A number of internal champions were identified early on in each country who played a key role in user testing, provided valuable additional support resource and became ambassadors.  Members of the internal and external team were assigned to roles based on their skills and we gradually increased the number of Hyphen8 staff involved so that we could ramp up as we approached each go live milestone.

Throughout the project, regular communications were maintained to share updates with users, keep senior stakeholders informed whilst satisfying ongoing audits and governance.  

People

Designing and delivering a training and support plan to optimise user adoption and satisfaction levels (which have been measured in surveys throughout) was no walk in the park.  Especially given the sheer volume and diversity of users and the fact there there was some scepticism amongst those that had experienced previous system launches.

In addition to the comprehensive schedule of on site training sessions starting with general system navigation and followed by role-specific end to end walk through each process, the following additional touches really made a difference:

  • Short videos to demo key processes and share with users anywhere for early visibility
  • Dynamic help content built into Salesforce screens to display guidance relevant to each stage
  • User-friendly crib sheets with step by step guide on key processes
  • One to one sessions for users with impaired sight
  • Continual internal knowledge-sharing sessions to widen the support team as user volumes increase
  • Internal surveys post training to gauge level of user readiness to go live

Success

This project has been a success but certainly was not plain sailing.  The rollout phase was pretty intense but our ability to fix issues quickly and provide quick response support channels was key.  It’s still early days in terms of impact but there have already been huge time savings throughout the grant assessment and payment processes, significant reductions in duplication of data entry and increased self-sufficiency to create and customise reports.

  • Only 5 months from initial design to phase 1 launch 
  • All 650 users live with an average satisfaction score of 4 out of 5 in Scotland where it first launched
  • Over 2 million data records were migrated from the legacy system
  • £7.1 million payments successfully processed within weeks of launch

The journey continues as we move into phase 2 to evolve the solution so I look forward to more stories of how Hyphen8, and Salesforce is making a difference.

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