Ali Jasim | National Facilities Manager and Senior Services Administrator speaks on behalf of Refugee Action on his experience with Gallery Partnership
“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with Gallery Partnership since 2011, when we started using their ODM database product. As specialists in charity software and in our specific case databases, they became our “go-to” business partners in all things database related. “
In 2015, Refugee Action faced a major step-change, moving from one major national contract to a series of 15 local projects that required a complete strategic rethink of how to manage the business requirements. This is where Gallery Partnership were able to work with Refugee Action to establish the best way forward for the organisation - not just in terms of the software and database requirements but also the complex access and reporting systems they were going to need.
“We needed many different teams to be supported and to reduce the complications of file sharing and access. In particular, we needed to take into account the differing requirements for the management team, the case workers, the volunteers and others – as well as, obviously, our clients. I call it a national database that connects all our clients, regardless of how many services they are accessing, and makes our many case managers’ lives so much easier too.” Ali explains.
Ali goes onto describe the key factors Refugee Action needed to consider when looking at potential software solutions;
“We needed a system that could be accessed from anywhere, not just from our own servers. Increasingly, our organisation needed to be able to access files and documents in the Cloud, from wherever they were based, easily and quickly, on laptops, tablets and mobile phones – Refugee Action often operates nowadays from the middle of nowhere! This is one of the key benefits we identified which Apricot upheld.
Additionally, we needed this access without compromising security whilst maintaining the highest quality standards, including data protection and GDPR requirements. Our work is extremely sensitive, and everything needs to be audited. Once again Apricot ticked all those boxes, with secure, European servers.
We needed a bespoke system. We’ve been in this field for a very long time and know exactly what we needed. With Apricot, the team at Gallery partnership were able to provide a bespoke portal and system tools that fitted our organisation and how we operated rather than us having to adapt to their system.”
Ali elaborates on Apricots organisation and reporting functionality;
“We have more than 70-80,000 records in the database now and average case notes are between 30-40,000 words each – that’s a huge amount of case management, outcomes and impact to manage and report on. Apricot allows us to manage all of that seamlessly. We’ve been confidently paperless now for several years since we’ve been working with Gallery Partnership.
The reporting capabilities in Apricot are excellent. Excel used to regularly crash with the demands we put on it for data input and output reporting structure requirements, but we don’t have that problem any more. The team at Gallery Partnership were so helpful in terms of supporting us (even though we were very demanding!) and helping to put in place the reporting structures we needed. We worked together to get everything just right. Apricot can do anything!”
Ali remarks on the speed and reliability of the reporting functionality within Apricot;
“We often need complex reports for funders, city councils etc and I can spend an hour building a report and then know that for the next 3 years I can output accurate, well-presented updates for stakeholders whenever I need them.
We have 150 licences and one of the other benefits of Apricot is that as well as being an amazing tool, it’s extremely cost effective in lots of ways. We’ve had experience of building software systems in-house and this is a much better solution both in terms of build cost and support resource overall – perhaps 50% more cost effective I’d say.”
Ali summarises the key benefits of Apricot which are the deciding factors any charity would consider when switching software;
- “It’s cost-effective
- The support network is amazing, nationally and beyond
- Its user-friendly design can be easily adapted to fit exactly what your organisation needs – fully bespoke in terms of layout, forms and design
- You can access everything you need; all your files, reports and case management from anywhere – home, car, mobile phone.
- It can produce amazingly complex reports that look great too, easily and quickly.”
Ali concludes with the support from Gallery Partnership during the implementation of Apricot;
“The team at Gallery were always helpful throughout the specification, development and set up process, and timewise they were amazing. The training they provided was amazing too.”