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New charity sector CRM powered by InterSystems technology

Consumerism is a universal business driver for all software markets, and one result of that is software must be easy to use.

The savvy software purchasers do not want to wade through the 99 features of a commercial off-the-shelf solution (COTS) to use the one feature they want, let alone pay for features they know they will not use. Also, the Web provides a quick way for purchasers to find new sellers and products, so sellers also need to stand out from the rest. That means they need their chosen software partners to help them differentiate their products and services. As the industry phrase goes, “buy what you trust, build what makes you different”.

For organisations in the competitive charity market, desperate to build and sustain subscriber donations based on polarised interests and deeper relationships, this need to differentiate makes a small, agile software house ready to build bespoke solutions a very interesting option.

Step up Inspired Data Solutions (IDS), which delivers tailored solutions that fit the needs of organisations in the retail, transport and shipping, and investment management sectors, as well as charities. We spoke to IDS’ Director, Steve Riddle, to find out how its new charity CRM platform is performing as it goes live in Europe, why IDS chose InterSystems technology as a key part of its software portfolio and what projects they have coming up next.

Here’s how Steve Riddle, IDS’ Director, describes the opportunities and some of the requirements for a small software company to succeed in today’s software markets.

What does this new CRM mean for the charity sector?

After years of working with the charity sector, we decided to channel what we had learnt about the technology challenges these organisations face and address their priorities by creating a new CRM system. While all charities are unique, many come up against the same difficulties – notably getting value from their data. Key to their success is leveraging that data to reach donors and form stronger relationships, while complying with local regulations, governance policies, laws, and ethics.

Our vision was to provide charities with a solution that enables them to do everything from one system – from processing donations to performing campaign management and analysis, and more. Our solution streamlines both their technology infrastructure and processes, so important tasks such as mailing sponsors become a breeze.

We also wanted to right-size the platforms to each customer’s budget, so our solutions are frugal to run and require little or no IT experience, to not detract from charities’ core missions.

Technology is just part of the equation

A key requirement in building our solutions was to find the right partners. For the customer-facing relationship we therefore need local partners who understand the regulations and culture and are committed to our joint customers’ success.

That’s definitely the case with our Dutch partner, Insightz who facilitate the sale of our core products in the Netherlands. Our partnership and the CRM system is already a proven success with implementations in three animal charities in the region and within Belgium. What’s exciting is that the CRM is so versatile it can be applied to the full spectrum of charities, large and small.

Thanks to the scalability of InterSystems technology, the platform can grow with our customers’ businesses and needs, ensuring they are able to meet increased demand.

The partnership between IDS and InterSystems

As a small company it helps to have some big friends, and one of ours is InterSystems, on whose data platform we build and run our software solutions. If we encounter an issue, which is rare, we know we’ll get a fast, informed answer, and we can set the priority of the incident. Without that kind of back-end support, we couldn’t be confident to offer our customers the kind of assured service that we do.

InterSystems consistently offers us great speed and simplicity in developing new solutions for our clients, helping us to maintain deadlines and sustain the on-going operational effectiveness of their businesses.

The technology integrates well with popular software like JavaScript, and has easy to use documentation, making it very simple for our developers to use it as the foundation of the wide range of bespoke systems we create. For instance, we’re now also currently developing web pages for industrial plumbing company, DCG Plumbing & Pipework Limited, using InterSystems technology that acts as both an architecture and toolset to build these types of interactive web applications with InterSystems data platform.

InterSystems also takes an integrated approach to building its technology platforms and provides us with all the technology and development capability we require to build solutions to our customers’ precise requirements. We combine this with a level of expertise that few organisations can afford to keep in-house to help our customers overcome their technology challenges and provide them with the best return on investment.

No customer is too big or too small

It’s clear that for InterSystems no customer is too niche or too small. We feel we get the same service as their larger customers, which has been crucial in helping us deliver our bespoke solutions on technology that is fast, reliable and scalable. We apply this same approach to our broad range of customers from a variety of industries, helping them to make smart choices that tailor their computing solution to their unique needs.


Steve Riddle

Steve Riddle is a director at Inspired Data Solutions and has worked with InterSystems technology for over 30 years. Steve has a wealth of experience in designing and developing bespoke systems for numerous different business sectors and this ability to provide a complete solution to IDS’ customers, using the relevant technologies, has been a major reason behind the company’s success.
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