About the Scottish National Investment Bank
Based in Edinburgh, the Scottish National Investment Bank is Scotland’s first development investment bank, wholly owned by the Scottish Ministers on behalf of the people of Scotland. The Bank is an impact investor, focussed on delivering both commercial returns and mission impacts with its investments. The Scottish National Investment Bank invests in businesses and projects connected to Scotland to deliver long term, patient debt, or equity investment where the private market is failing to provide the support businesses and projects require to grow. Their missions include: supporting Scotland’s transition to Net Zero, building communities and promoting equality, as well as harnessing innovation to enable people to flourish.
As a publicly funded organisation, the Scottish National Investment Bank’s role is to invest in promising socially responsible and environmentally sustainable projects throughout Scotland. As a result of this, every project needs to go through several stages of approval before the investment is officially granted. The Bank required a modern solution that would give their teams full visibility of and control over the project approval process, from initial lead, viability inspection, through regulatory approval, to completion.
The Scottish National Investment Bank also wanted a solution that they could use to manage their investment pipeline from initial enquiry all the way to successful investment. The Bank needed a solution that would allow them to easily monitor leads and opportunities, as well as a way to track staff activities efficiently. For example, vital admin activities that the Bank’s internal teams were carrying out were previously not attributed to successful ROI or other positives further along the line; the team at the Scottish National Investment Bank required a timesheet tracking functionality – this would ensure the hard work of their origination team was better acknowledged, that potential opportunities wouldn’t slip through the net due to a lack of team prioritisation, and that efficiencies increased overall.
Additionally, the Bank required a way to monitor its Gifts and Hospitality process – another part of the organisation’s internal compliance controls that needed to be developed. The Scottish National Investment Bank is publicly funded, so the organisation needs to record any budget that is spent or received for transparency and regulatory purposes.
The Scottish National Investment Bank engaged Bluewave to create a bespoke solution using powerful Salesforce technology. Our experts utilised Salesforce Core CRM and Sales Cloud to create a single cloud-based platform to handle account and contact management, investment team activity, opportunity and pipeline management, financial information capture, risk and compliance case logging, and the committee sign-off process. This platform would give the Bank full visibility over the opportunity pipeline, allowing users to track opportunities as they come in, see them pass through multiple committee sign-off processes, arrive at the Finance/Middle Office team, through to approval and investment, with all relevant parties involved documented securely. This single view of customers, contacts, and opportunities would allow the Scottish National Investment Bank to make more informed decisions throughout the process, and ultimately increase delivery against their goals.
Gifts, events, and hospitality processes were taken into consideration as part of this build; our skilled developers created a function within the platform that would allow users to flag gifts given or received, which would automatically be submitted for approval depending on the value and type. When crafting this solution, our consultants also took the Scottish National Investment Bank’s risk and compliance concerns into account, and created an Email-To-Case functionality (ability for email mailboxes to forward emails directly into Salesforce to generate cases automatically) to manage the Bank’s existing complaints process. This was designed to bring the complaints process in-platform and make complaint management a lot more efficient, as users wouldn’t have to manually link emails into the system.
In-line with the Bank’s (as well as our own) sustainability efforts, this project was carried out 100% remotely.
The process began with a series of design workshops in January 2021, where Bluewave’s consultants and the Scottish National Investment Bank worked together to outline how the solution would look. The build began in earnest in March 2021, and included a new Salesforce Org, the setup of multiple Lightning Apps within Salesforce that were designed to display relevant information to each team within the Bank.
Our experts built an extensive platform to handle sales and opportunities, marketing and engagement, as well as to track leads, accounts, contacts, campaigns, cases, and opportunities. The project required the creation of custom objects to handle bespoke processes, as well as the configuration of queues, plus processes for approvals. The build also came with security and audit built in, a reporting and interactive dashboards functionality, and a Salesforce Inbox.
Working with the Bank, we established a series of stages that a potential opportunity would flow through, from initial lead to completed investment. These stages included:
- Impact Assessment – an assessment designed to gather the relevant mission and projected impact of every investment.
- Committee Sign Off – a bespoke version of Salesforce’s standard Approval Process that was created to handle approvals through each committee. At the end of each of these stages, the user will have the option to submit the opportunity for approval, which will send it to the relevant people it concerns.
- Release Info to the Finance Team – where Finance are given visibility of the opportunity, an ID number is established, as well as a close date and sign-off status, based on its progress through the approval process.
- Release Additional Info to the Finance Team – once an opportunity has matured through the above process and has been signed off by the investment committee, more information would be released to the Finance Team
- Were Impacts Realised? – a review stage, occurring further along in the opportunity process, designed to understand whether initial impacts were realised.
The build also featured a Funding Tracker designed to track when funding will be required over a scheduled period of time, as well as a way to input a schedule of dates and values linked to each opportunity that will then automatically update if the opportunity is changed or a project is postponed. Our experts also created a flow screen to assist with data entry and a process builder to update records, to make every aspect of opportunity tracking easier and more efficient.
Although this project was completed by September 2021, our consultants continued to work with the Scottish National Investment Bank, expanding the Bank’s existing solution to also include further marketing and communication functionality, as well as providing ongoing improvements, assisting with queries, and offering regular support.
While marketing wasn’t initially a huge focus for the build, our initial workshops revealed that the Scottish National Investment Bank’s marketing team were keen to utilise the Web-To-Lead functionality within Salesforce. Our consultants built code into the Bank’s website which would automatically generate a case within Salesforce whenever a webform was submitted. This streamlines the enquiry process by ensuring the relevant teams were given an overall view of every lead and its source, as well as its status in the pipeline: closed – unqualified, being nurtured, unsuccessful, converted, etc.
“The Scottish National Bank was a pleasure to work with during the initial Sales Cloud build that we successfully completed and throughout my experience supporting them over the past year. No large-scale implementation occurs without a few bumps in the road, but what was great about working with the Bank’s team was that blockages in the approval process were quickly rectified and we were able to perform the build with few restrictions or delays. The Bank’s team were extremely positive about this implementation and were receptive to the adaptions that we discussed, allowing us to move forward confidently, ensuring the end product would perfectly fit their specifications.” – Salesforce Consultant at Bluewave
The Bluewave Way
The Bluewave Way is our agile implementation process, which has led to the delivery of over 250 successful Salesforce projects and engagements over the last decade – the Scottish National Investment Bank being counted amongst them. Bluewave’s technical consultants and project managers worked in collaboration with the Bank, from the outset of their implementation journey. Our team took the time to understand the Bank’s requirement and work with their leadership and tech experts as a single team, operating together sharing common goals, knowledge, timelines and methods. This process works best when our customers are engaged with our work and enthusiastic about the outcome.
Scottish National Investment Bank, as a nascent startup, needed an effective tool on which to build their business and bring their processes to maturity. Their wholesale enthusiasm to adopt industry best practices and the leverage the platform allowed, particularly with process automation and data consistency, allowed a greater understanding across channels and facilitated a successful collaborative approach. The flexibility of Sales Cloud allowed them to design and adopt new processes both during their implementation and after; seeing what was possible allowed them to imagine new ways to achieve their goals. – Senior Salesforce Consultant at Bluewave
Our project managers kept a channel of communication open throughout the process:
We had meetings scheduled more often than only once a week (which usually is sufficient to go through the build). However with the Scottish National Investment Bank, we wanted to ensure they see progress and saw for themselves how smaller tasks added up to create large improvements, this helped to allow for a more collaborative approach between us and them. Our regular feedback sessions also encouraged them to comment and provide their thoughts, while also building a friendly and open relationship with this customer. Often, for customers who had either a brief experience with Salesforce, or none whatsoever, it’s challenging to imagine how the solution will look like, but the Bank’s enthusiasm carried them through to the end goal, as they were very invested in our vision for the project.” – Project Manager at Bluewave
Through this Salesforce-powered digital transformation, the Scottish National Investment Bank went from having no existing formal processes or systems, to a comprehensive solution designed to suit their needs as an organisation. The delivery of Salesforce has enabled visibility of the active opportunities at each committee stage, with the right data being captured and recorded. Key process were formalised quickly and robustly to support business operations effectively and with the required governance. Users can also demonstrate adherence to the Bank’s compliance policies through recording Gifts and Hospitality records or conflicts, with improved efficiency through self-service recording.
“Using Salesforce as the backbone of our investment origination system and compliance processes has allowed the Bank to deliver these in the required timescales. The ability to tailor the standard Sales and Service processes to meet our needs without resorting to complex development has minimised the effort required to support the platform with internal resources. We could not have achieved this without Bluewave delivering the initial project and supporting us with ongoing expertise as we continue to leverage the capabilities of Salesforce to support our business.” – Stuart McLaughlin, Head of Information Technology at the Scottish National Investment Bank
Following the successful implementation of this opportunity management platform for the Scottish National Investment Bank, we continue to maintain a relationship with their IT and leadership teams.
“‘Pragmatic’, ‘collaborative’ and ‘flexible’ are three of the words I’d use to describe the experience we’ve had with Bluewave. Technical expertise and experience with Salesforce is expected with a partner supplier (and was clearly evident), but the way Bluewave worked with our team of stakeholders to collaborate around design, explain concepts to non-technical colleagues, drive decisions, and communicate through the project has been excellent. Their ongoing patience and flexibility around the availability and experience of our team was welcome and the post-project timebank arrangement we have in place works perfectly for our needs.” – Stuart McLaughlin, Head of IT at the Scottish National Investment Bank
Our consultants continue to work closely with the Scottish National Investment Bank in a supporting capacity, and we also invited Stuart McLaughlin – Head of IT at the Bank to talk about his experiences on this project at our Scottish Public Sector Networking Event yesterday. More info on this event to follow next week, where we’ll provide more details on Stuart’s talk. We look forward to continuing our ongoing relationship with the Scottish National Investment Bank, as well as many more successful digital transformations to come.
If you’d like to know more about our Salesforce-powered custom digital transformations, get in touch with our experts today.