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Our work

How to deliver an award-winning data hub

The Client

Close Brothers is part of the United Kingdom’s financial services heritage. Listed on the London Stock Exchange and operating since 1878, Close Brothers has built a strong reputation helping businesses thrive through invoice, asset, property financing, vehicle and brewery hire and premium financing. They also have a growing retail offering in Close Brothers Savings. Close Brothers operates as many federated institutions do, with a central lending facility supporting business units that are embedded in marketplaces with differing and unique needs. Close Brothers doesn’t have a single marketplace; it has dozens. 

Close Brothers Asset Finance logo

The Situation

Close Brothers is divided into a series of business units, each focused on servicing a set of audiences. Coherence Digital provides an estate of over 20 web applications — all Drupal and all hosted on Acquia Cloud — addressing each audience and supporting the marketing needs of each unit. Close Brothers Asset Finance had a lean marketing team, with strong marketing strategy and an ambitious organic and paid optimisation approach. The team looked after five websites and we already delivered a platform that has the sophistication and power to allow them to execute their marketing strategy. 

Now they wanted to create something new which supports all small businesses, so they turned to us to create the SME Data Hub.

Datahub screenshot on phone
Datahub screenshots

The Challenge

Close Brothers focus on asset finance for SMEs stems from their belief that they are the engine that drives the UK economy. They provide a range of asset management solutions across many business sectors, so the data hub needed to be user friendly, cater for a great deal of information and be continually updated.

For over a decade, Asset Finance has been surveying SMEs on a wide range of topics and it was felt that rather than archive the data, to make it freely available to everyone, from researchers and students to journalists and finance professionals via the SME Data Hub on the Asset Finance website.

This was the first of its kind, so there's no precedent to follow.

The Solution

We built the SME Data Hub and implemented Close Brothers Asset Finance's accessibility, branding, semantic markup and user experience guidelines. 

We used Acquia's low-code build solutions to create a flexible design system of reusable patterns. And Drupal provides the security, accessibility and integration features necessary to support the hub’s needs.

The data can be manipulated in a number of ways, including sector, business size and location. In addition, both graphs and tables of the data can be downloaded by users.

The Results

Close Brothers Asset Finance, Marketing Director, Emma Jones said:

“High-quality content is central to the success of a website and the user-friendly design of the SME Data Hub enables people to easily access information on what business owners are thinking and review how those opinions have changed over time.

“Nothing like this exists. We knew that we had built something special and we’re delighted that the team’s creativity has been recognised so soon after its launch.”

Indeed it has. The SME Data Hub won platinum and gold awards at the 2020 dotCOMM awards.

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