Delivering a Business Intelligence Strategy with McCarthy Stone 

McCarthy Stone are the UK’s leading developer of retirement communities, providing high-quality later living properties with a focus on ensuring peace of mind and independence. With more than 475 developments as of November 2021 and over 20,000 residents, their award-winning services champion the needs of older people, successfully driven by their core values of excellence, innovation, and responsibility.  

Delivering continuous value-led solutions  

Having worked with McCarthy Stone for the past three years, we have explored and examined many of the challenges in their business, and have worked with McCarthy Stone to continue to drive their strategic vision. In this case study we’ll explore how continuous value-led delivery enables a wider strategy. 

Ownership of solutions and empowerment of team members is important to McCarthy Stone; as it is with many of the companies we engage with. We have worked in collaboration with the McCarthy Stone team to develop knowledge, skills and frameworks that allow the internal team to build and progress the solutions forwards as they continue to drive stakeholder value.  

Using technology solutions to realise an overall vision, whilst dealing with the challenges of legacy solutions is difficult; and providing immediate and short-term value, while responding to the many challenges a large and complex business faces can be challenging. You’ll get some insight on how this has been achieved below. 

Our initial involvement 

McCarthy Stone approached us as they were transitioning some key systems in the business. They recognised the value of data and the need to put in place a data strategy that could drive them towards the overall vision for the business. 

This vision would provide McCarthy Stone with a single point of truth across the business. Such a viewpoint would replace existing reporting and analytical solutions with a Modern Data Warehouse and Integration Repository, bringing control over data and its use in the business. As a result, such a system could offer analytical insight that would help keep McCarthy Stone a leader in their sector; and fulfilling the demands from the various business units for data and insight. 

We started with a full assessment of the existing operational systems, BI tooling, and platforms, and consulted with key business stakeholders on the vision for an enterprise-wide solution. This was shaped into a high-level strategy that outlined the key long-term objectives; making decisions on platforms, tools and the skills needed to support the long-term vision. 

Learn more about the key factors of a data strategy here   

The next steps 

Once this was established, we then set about realising this vision – tackling immediate challenges being faced on a day-to-day basis and delivering small packages of work that added value, all while proving the technology and approach could deliver what business needed.  

It was vital for McCarthy Stone we delivered short term requirements but did so against the backdrop of the long-term vision. This approach ensured continued value being delivered to the business from the programme of work, and the flexibility to respond to the ever-changing demands on a large enterprise. 

Navigating sector-unique challenges 

‘From my perspective, DataShapa were an extension of McCarthy Stone, working in collaboration with our technology team, and forging great relationships with stakeholders in the wider business.’   

 During our partnership with McCarthy Stone, we have encountered many challenges in meeting the demands placed on the programme of work. 

Time Sensitive 

There were a number of time-sensitive aspects to the projects, such as;  

  • Having to put in place a scalable architecture for the wider strategy 
  • Integrating a new sales system into the data warehouse 
  • Replacing the legacy reporting and analysis that was going end-of-life 

We met the demand for insights from the business whilst meeting the objectives around data quality & consistency – against the backdrop of a new system the business was continuing to develop. 

Complex Requirements 

We also navigated the complexities of the reporting and analytical requirements of McCarthy Stone.  

With a sales lifecycle consisting of multiple phases, differences between renting, buying and shared ownership, and the need to provide point in time analysis in the past and the future; clarity and consistency of data was critical.  

Complexity is not only challenging from a technical point of view, but the need to deliver this to the business users in a way that was accessible and user friendly was critical for adoption. 

Enhanced Snapshotting  

Enhanced snapshotting capabilities equipped report users with the tools to uncover date-specific results and viewpoints by moving beyond traditional salesforce capabilities.   

By giving users these tools, they were able to shift to an ‘as things looked’ approach, being able to look over past reports before they were updated with new results.  

This was particularly useful in an industry in which buyer cycles differ greatly from other sectors. When a single sale can take months, even years to complete, and when unexpected changes and updates are likely to occur, being able to gauge the at any given time is invaluable. 

 A clear vision and good communication among the helped us deliver on these and many more challenges. 

Integration delivery 

In addition to the reporting and analytical capabilities gained from centralising data from multiple systems; there is also an opportunity to fulfil integration needs. DataShapa have worked with McCarthy Stone to build multiple integrations, leveraging the data architecture put in place.  

The removal of manual processes where users are importing files or keying entries, and the addition of automated validation rules and notifications of issues all help with data quality across an enterprise. McCarthy Stone have dozens of solutions across the business and will continue to drive a standard approach to integration to ensure high quality data – building on the integration repository framework now in place. 

These platforms and frameworks can also be used to fulfil one-off or ad-hoc demands for datasets outside the existing reports and integrations. This enables an analyst to undertake one-off activity exploring data as required; or supports the need to supply 3rd party agencies with data extracts. Another example of the flexibility needed from an architecture that has to support so many use cases. 

Supporting further developments with a long-term collaborative partnership  

‘For our technical teams, it’s allowed them to develop their knowledge and skills as part of the implementation of this project. We continue to empower our business users, giving them access to the data and tools needed to drive insights.’  

We continue to work with McCarthy Stone, supporting on-going delivery of their data solutions, driving the vision outlined at the start of the work, and delivering focussed work that adds to the business and users, while aligned with the strategic objectives.  

We’ll continue to drive ownership by McCarthy Stone of their solutions, as we transfer knowledge and skills of their team and building on our long-term relationship as we strive for ever greater value from data.  

Our retained services model gives long-term access to our technology team, ensuring we are in tune with the ongoing business needs, and giving McCarthy Stone the ability to expand resources as needed. 

Learn more about the benefits of a retained engagement model.  

Throughout our involvement with McCarthy Stone, we have been able to forge incredible relationships and work on challenging projects that we are proud to be a part of. If you want to learn more about how we help you realise the full potential of your data, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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“DataShapa have helped us transform our Business Intelligence and integration solutions. Letting us take advantage of our data to support reporting and analysis in the business and helping us manage the integration of our operational systems.”

Subhash Sreedharan, Director of Technology at McCarthy Stone.

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