The Challenge

The Start Up Loans Company is a UK Government-backed organisation headed by James Caan of Dragons Den. From a standing start in 2012 it has lent over £129 million to nearly 25,000 start-up entrepreneurs. Its success has been achieved by appointing over 70 independent organisations to administer the scheme on regional basis. These vary from regional enterprise companies, local authority backed enterprise, charities (such as The Prince’s Trust) and Community Development Finance Associations.

At the end of 2013, the company realised that it needed to invest heavily in IT, as the majority of key customer information resided across the various systems in its 70 partners. Shortly after, the Government’s requirements of the company changed. There was an urgent need to accelerate the company’s IT investment into a three month time frame to satisfy a range of new regulations.Start Up Loans went to tender to find an IT specialist to deliver this difficult project. Some potential suppliers declined, saying that the timeframe was unrealistic. Others lacked both the strong technical skills, and the ability to engage with such a spectrum of organisations.The requirement to personally engage with stretched, resource-limited, not for profit and slow-moving government organisations, was as relevant as technical competency. ETL Solutions was chosen for our proven software, our consultants’ expertise in project management and the way in which our methodology can accommodate tight timescales.

The Solution

Our DataHub service combines complex data from multiple sources, right across an organisation’s internal or external networks. It achieves a centralised view of a business’s data.

After ascertaining the client’s requirements in depth, our consultants implemented a bespoke version of DataHub. The software forms a central hub of a network, with points that are data sources. Data is securely extracted from the network’s multiple points via the internet. The software enables the hub to share data bi-directionally with any number of sources.

The data is aggregated, replicated, converted and loaded into a target data store, before being transmitted nightly into central warehouse tables. We do not have access to the client’s actual data and this, together with the use of 2048 bit encryption, ensures an extremely high level of data security.

Automated data quality checks highlight any issues with the data collected. Loan companies providing invalid data are contacted to resolve any data quality issues.

The software manages any changes in functionality, maintenance routines or software updates, and then deploys them automatically to each location or point. This reduces the burden of maintenance on the Start Up Loans Company and maintains a full audit trail.

Our consultants are now working on Phase 2. This will expand the range of data captured and includes intelligent loan linking, auto generation of loan tracking and reporting tables, and live access to transferred data.

“ETL Solutions came to the party in double quick time with a sensible proposal. But more than that, we knew there were many unknowns that would (and did) try to trip us up as we progressed. ETL Solutions were the only provider that gave us confidence that new discoveries and changes in requirements would not be exploited for excessive overcharging, but would be handled appropriately and professionally. They were good to their word. In the end, a project many had laughed at for not being achievable, was delivered three days early and in line with budgets.” Andy Shields, Start Up Loans Company