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Turn2Us Integrated Business Intelligence: Data warehouse and integration to help tackle poverty in the UK

Client Turn2us
Service areas System integration & cloud computing

Turn2Us is a national charity that helps people facing financial hardship. They provide practical information and support, including a benefits calculator, grants search, and online resources.


In order to analyse the impact of their work and make strategic decisions, Turn2Us wanted to use business intelligence software. However, their data was spread across multiple IT systems, and often required developers to extract the data, leading to long wait times — often up to a month — to get data. Reports were hard to generate, of variable quality and timeliness, making it difficult to develop insight into the effectiveness of their strategy.

Turn2Us recognised that they required a centralised data warehouse which could plug directly into business intelligence software, but their systems weren’t natively compatible with expensive enterprise solutions.

Their in-house IT and development team had their plates full with the running of their current systems, and lacked the capacity and experience for a move into the cloud based architecture required.

What did we do?

Suru reduced manual work which led to slow reporting cycle by delivering real time data analysis via a data warehouse allowing strategic decisions to be made in an agile timeframe.

Why Suru?

The project required focus, capacity and expertise in both systems design and implementation. Relying on an overstretched internal IT team or hiring an external consultant with an expensive one-size-fits-all solution were not viable options for the charity. Additionally, many consultants would stop at the analysis or design phase, leaving no tangible output and arduous additional phases engaging implementers to interpret the work.

Suru takes an outcome-led approach, focusing on the results that Turn2Us wants to achieve rather than the specific solutions that will be used, so Turn2Us could be sure the final solution would address the needs of the charity.

Suru were able to not only add capacity, but bring the experience of years of designing — and importantly, developing — solutions to these kinds of problems. The range of expertise at Suru allowed the project to run seamlessly from scoping through to implementation of an outcome with real-world impact.

The solution

The solution was to begin by analysing the needs of Turn2Us, and see where Suru could have the biggest impact. Together, using our outcomes focussed roadmapping process, we were able to discern that designing a bespoke data warehouse that would meet the broad needs of Turn2Us was key, as well as doing so in a way that tallied with the in-house team’s expertise giving them a solution that they could work with. We would then test this pipeline from data to business intelligence on a single source.

By doing this, Suru minimised the risk to Turn2Us, while giving a tangible, useful output that would make a difference to their business immediately.

Suru designed and implemented a bespoke Data Warehouse with a flexible schema allowing for future development by their in-house team. In order to populate the Data Warehouse we developed a server-less ETL pipeline on Azure using Beacon’s API.

The outcome

By using a bespoke data warehouse, rather than an enterprise solution, we reduced the cost over two years by two orders of magnitude.

Their data insights team now have real time, up to date data, and are able to explore this data using best-in-class business intelligence tools, allowing them to be responsive to the needs of their organisation, answering key strategic questions in a matter of hours or days, rather than weeks or months, so that their organisation can make informed decisions quickly and confidently.

It has also reduced the demand on their IT and development teams from internal data queries, allowing them to focus on their core purpose.

Our Impact
  • 100x
    Cost reduction compared to enterprise data warehousing solution
  • 60x
    improvement in data relevance (based on 2 month / 1 day comparison)
  • 20%
    Reduction in developer time spent reporting (based on how many business areas are still reporting manually)
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