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Ballard Chalmers is one of the UK’s leading custom software development companies, specialising in enterprise applications on the Microsoft Platform.

We are principally dedicated to custom software development and integration for the Microsoft Cloud, as well as on-premises and hybrid systems. Our expertise is in Microsoft .NET and Azure, SQL Server, BizTalk Server, SharePoint Server and Xamarin.

 

With over 30 years’ industry experience and as a Microsoft Gold Partner, we have a well-earned reputation for delivering our expert service in these technologies, and for doing so at sensible rates.

With a heritage of over 30 years, the company is driven by its founders Geoff Ballard and Andrew Chalmers who have distinct backgrounds in technology and business, yet share the same desire to simply make software work better.

We deliver a flexible and mature approach to application development and have adapted methodologies and terms of business to suit the requirements of our clients. Our real-world business and technical expertise mean we are able to work with clients to find the best possible way of interpreting briefs commercially to deliver projects in scope, on time and in budget.

In the main, we provide IT executives and managers of large organisations with expertise and skills on an outsource service and technical partnership basis to help to achieve programme objectives.

We work with UK institutions and enterprises on a broad and varied range of projects. From designing and developing new applications that support business innovation and business process streamlining; to existing application modernisation, and systems integrations, integrating online and offline enterprise systems securely and efficiently.

Our core services give us great flexibility to work with clients across any point of the development life cycle. 

 
$10,000+
 
Undisclosed
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2005
Show all +
East Grinstead, United Kingdom
headquarters
other locations

Portfolio

Key clients: 
We are proud to work with a range of leading companies and not-for-profit in their field. Some of our past and present clients include: Electrolux, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Investec, American Express and OVO Energy, HM Land Registry, Hackney Council, TFL, NHS, Civil Aviation Authority, British Heart Foundation, Canterbury Christ Church University, BBC Media Action, Royal Mencap, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, The Royal Geographical Society.
Custom Developed Mobile App for a Startup in the Utility and Construction Industry Image

Custom Developed Mobile App for a Startup in the Utility and Construction Industry

Situation

The original AppCan system was based on web sites and APIs built using .NET and SQL Server deployed on Microsoft Azure together with a Mobile app developed in Objective-C for iOS devices. 

The Mobile app had several limitations and the app needed to be redeveloped to work cross-platform with as much shared code as possible. The new app needed to use the same API as the existing iOS app

used so that it could be introduced without change to the Azure API and web sites and have the same functionality as the current version of the iOS app.

 

Solution

The technology behind the AppCan solution is: 

.NET Web applications on Azure App Services: For customer specific web sites and the central administration web site Xamarin Forms Mobile App supporting both iOS and Android platforms

.NET Web API on Azure App Services: APIs used by mobile devices for sharing data

Azure File Service: Cloud-based file system for storing documents and images

SQL Azure: Cloud-based database holding the master data for the system C#, T-SQL, JavaScript and XQuery programming languages.

The system is designed as a serverless Azure application, so there is no need to patch or manage servers. It is designed to auto-scale out to multiple physical servers as load increases, with SQL Azure that can be scaled up and down as load dictates.

Outcome

“Full credit goes to the developers and management of our development partner, who fully understood the requirements and delivered this project with remarkable speed. They made it a completely painless process and that gave us all the confidence that AppCan XP was going to be very successful.The feedback from users has been incredible, as it is not only much faster in its use, but also brings new essential features, including Photo markups and automated filing of records into the document folders.” 
Managing Director, AppCan

Microsoft Recognised Software Development for the NHS Image

Microsoft Recognised Software Development for the NHS

Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (QVH) is one of the world’s leading specialist centres for reconstructive surgery, and expert therapy and rehabilitation services. Burns patients who had the potential to be treated at their local hospital were often sent to QVH for review. 

In such cases treatment could be delayed by several hours, and patients would be involved in unnecessary travel (particularly if QVH’s

services were not suitable for the patient).

In 2012, the trust recognised that with adoption of the latest technologies it could enhance service. Following intensive evaluations, QVH contracted Ballard Chalmers for the full design, development and implementation of the new solution – Telemedicine Referral Images Portal System (TRIPS). 

Built within a SharePoint environment using .NET custom development, using Standard SharePoint CAL licenses, TRIPS technology provides QVH with a secure (encrypted) transfer of digital images of injuries, enabling hospitals and paramedics to directly consult with clinicians at one of the five hubs on patient injuries and trauma at any time of day or night, regardless of where in the region the patient is located. 

TRIPS was an immediate success and its roll out was further accelerated by the involvement of the London and South East of England Burn Network, who recognised that  this technology contributed substantially to its own objectives. 

QVH’s partnership with Ballard Chalmers has been highly successful and continues today.

Azure Logic Apps for the UK's largest specialist multi-channel business supplies and service distributor Image

Azure Logic Apps for the UK's largest specialist multi-channel business supplies and service distributor

Situation

The management of stock and delivery logistics are fundamental to operations and the Evo Group IT team had identified that existing systems could be improved upon by utilising the latest in cloud technology.

Solution

Evo Group enlisted Ballard Chalmers for the build and migration of two core logistics on-premises legacy applications: The Transport

Management System for despatches and the Product Information Management System.

 

Transport Management System – Despatches

A robust system for tracking 100,000 daily messages (such as loaded, en-route, delivered etc) is achieved using Azure Logic Apps. This Logic Apps implementation enables individual staff to easily share information with each other and facilitates improved collaboration across the delivery network. Field workers, such as delivery drivers, now share real-time data with those based in offices responsible for the respective part of the process, who can monitor and coordinate actions accordingly.

Product Information Management System

This Logic Apps implementation enabled staff to access up to date product information, which can fluctuate based on any number of factors and drive content directly to Evo Group’s eCommerce sites. With faster access to such information, the organisation is well positioned to monitor effectively and efficiently satisfy customer requirements.

Outcome

“Our IT strategy is to move aggressively to the cloud via SaaS or PaaS where feasible. In partnering with Ballard Chalmers, we were able deliver within project timescales what would traditionally have been on-premises Microsoft Biztalk applications as scalable Azure PaaS solutions.” - Group Head of It Development

A Groundbreaking New App for the Finance Industry Image

A Groundbreaking New App for the Finance Industry

Situation

Mia® would use data analytics to support innovative business process transformation in order to drive growth. It would provide transparency across legacy processes, transforming the way that C-Suite leaders can capture and interpret data. Equipped with rigorous intelligence, the platform would optimise key operational areas to turn traditional risk into opportunity with data-driven

clarity.

 

Solution

Working together with Square Marble Technology, Ballard Chalmers delivered the bespoke SaaS Mia platform with state of the art security and back-up.

Some of the technology (that we can disclose) behind Mia includes:

  • User interface developed in React and Redux
  • Data requests made over AJAX primarily to an ASP.NET Web API application running in IIS
  • LINQ to SQL and Entity Framework used extensively for server side data requests
  • Microsoft SQL Server database
  • .NET for File Import and Business Process Automation applications
  • Rabbit MQ used for communication between the web site and file import / business process applications
  • Microsoft Power BI for Business Intelligence reporting

Mia’s capabilities include:

  • Risk Management
  • Group Relationships
  • On-Boarding
  • Credit Limit Management
  • Customer Trading Status Management
  • Workflow Management
  • Dispute Management
  • Task Management
  • API’s
  • Self Service Imports GUI
  • Self Service Exports GUI
  • The Mia State Change Engine
  • Configurable Dashboards
  • Repayment Plan Module
  • Single Sign On
  • SMS Module
  • Email communications
  • Credit Card
  • Post Integration
  • Microsoft Power BI Reporting
  • Data Modelling
  • Multi Language Comms Template Pack
  • Export to csv
  • Line Items
  • Audit History
  • Search
  • Advanced Search
  • Document Integration

Outcome

“SMT, together with Ballard Chalmers have broken new ground with Mia. It is truly an innovative business intelligence and process management application that transforms data into smart business process by fully automating an optimal balance between achieving best receivables performance against best operational efficiency.” - CEO SMT
 

A Revolutionary New System for the Finance Industry Image

A Revolutionary New System for the Finance Industry

After the success of the fully bespoke build of Capital Tracker, a cutting edge cloud enterprise application developed for managing Private Equity funds, Ipes continued their longstanding relationship with software development outsource partner Ballard Chalmers on the build of The ID Register, an online investor onboarding platform that helps makes key processes such as fund launches faster, easier and more

cost-effective. 

It centralises fund subscription information, conducts Due Diligence and Know Your Customer (KYC), and also provides Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standard (CRS) tax reporting to the relevant jurisdiction. 

Ipes had envisioned an online platform that would enable individuals to create one complete KYC and FATCA profile and share it securely with their lawyers and fund managers, making Compliance Due Diligence (CDD) quicker, easier and more cost effective. 

This idea for The ID Register was born in response to demands from the legal and the PE Fund community, who were frustrated with the lengthy CDD process.

The technology behind it is primarily ASP.NET MVC, C#, SQL Server, TSQL, AngularJS, Bootstrap, SSRS and is a modern responsive web application hosted on Azure. 

Since its launch in 2016, The ID Register has evolved to become a central industry utility for the private Equity sector It makes the investor onboarding process quicker through the Universal Subscription questionnaire (USQ).

An SQL solution for The Energy Saving Trust Image

An SQL solution for The Energy Saving Trust

Situation 

DECC (formerly DEFRA) and the Energy Saving Trust concluded that their third party hosted software did not allow the level of control needed to maintain the software to the most current level, and that the current architecture did not truly promote a high availability model.

The aim was to move the hosted solution to a more cost effective internally hosted model, combined with upgraded

infrastructure and a more robust redundancy model, allowing true high availability. 

 

Solution 

Ballard Chalmers was appointed to handle the Energy Saving Trust project, based on their reputation and expertise with Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft IIS. 

Ballard Chalmers undertook consultations with the website developers at EHS Brann and the Network and Infrastructure teams at EST, to ensure that the hosting transition was detailed to meet the planned move date of January 30th 2009. 

A single instance SQL cluster was built to host the working SQL Server database, with storage being provisioned by the EST SAN solution.Two independent website servers were built, fronted by a Radware load balancer to host the working website. 

Outcome 

The solution was completed successfully and being a predominantly Oracle House, DBA Training was also provided to allow the DBA Team the ability to build, monitor and maintain the Microsoft SQL Server solution on an on-going basis.

“Thanks for your support … We are looking at moving more applications to Microsoft technology and we view you as our Microsoft Partner of choice for future work.” - IT Project Manager at the Energy Saving Trust.

Microsoft PowerApps Solution for UK Non-Profit, Parkinson's Image

Microsoft PowerApps Solution for UK Non-Profit, Parkinson's

Situation

Parkinson’s UK were looking for a temporary solution to allow staff to capture their objectives for the year in one place. They needed a solution which was simple to create and even simpler for staff to use, requiring no training.

Solution

The initial assumption was that the answer would be a customised SharePoint application but when Ballard Chalmers was approached,

it was suggested that Microsoft PowerApps could be a great solution. 

The ability to easily connect with a SharePoint list, embed the form on a web page or SharePoint page and potentially the ability to use a mobile app was key for Parkinson’s UK to agree to proceed. 

The PowerApps solution automatically recognises the user, but also allows him/her to submit their line manager, role and cost-centre to help improve the data quality. Users are able to then add up to seven objectives, with a description and target date for each one. 

The form is very simple and easy to understand with large bold icons and typeahead for all user lookups. It demonstrates the ability of PowerApps to quickly meet requirements and deliver a simple to use application in very quick time that can be supported simply and deployed in minutes.

Outcome

Once the initial development was done, a meeting was held at Parkinson’s UK offices to review the application and make some small changes to best meet the users’ needs. 

The PowerApp was then embedded to a SharePoint Communications Site to maximise the real estate of the screen for the application and rolled out to all staff for the start of 2018. 

From initial engagement to full delivery only required two days of consultancy from Ballard Chalmers.

“PowerApps was included with our Office 365 licenses, so when Ballard Chalmers proposed this as our solution it enabled us to have a cost-effective, easy to use application, delivered within very tight timescales. The product itself is very flexible, so it needed a flexible approach and good collaboration, which we certainly got from the Ballard Chalmers team.” - IT Consultant at Parkinson’s UK

A SharePoint Solution for Non-Profit, Young Epilepsy Image

A SharePoint Solution for Non-Profit, Young Epilepsy

Situation

From March 2014, Young Epilepsy had been utilising a SharePoint 2013 application for its Incident Reporting System (IRS). 

This replaced and upgraded an earlier non-SharePoint system. Utilising SharePoint allowed the organisation to manage the safety and wellbeing of their clients in one place, though they had identified outstanding issues inherited from the earlier system that were

influencing its SharePoint IRS. 

Additionally it needed to implement enhancements necessary to meet operational requirements and so contacted Ballard Chalmers to help.

 

Solution

In 2015 Ballard Chalmers completed the Phase I refinements work on Young Epilepsy’s IRS. Further to this it was identified that other enhancements could be made to help improve the system. 

Once this was completed there was a Phase II of development undertaken which included carrying out a major refactoring of the data schema.

Phase III concluded during February 2017 and included a new Red-Amber-Green (RAG) rating system for incidents, further enhancing the ability to respond correctly and timely to those incidents of most concern. 

These changes positively impacted everyone in this unique organisation. Commissioners and key stakeholders particularly report increased visibility and control over incident management.

Outcome

Ballard Chalmers and Young Epilepsy have an ongoing relationship, which has seen the two organisations work together on several projects now, including SharePoint Intranet design consultancy, and website and software support plus maintenance.

“Ballard Chalmers provide us with specialist development, advice and support, and integrate well with our in-house Information Services Team. We find everyone at Ballard Chalmers very personable, professional and highly skilled. Their work with us has had a good balance of corporate professionalism and personal engagement. We have appreciated their sympathy to our work in the ‘not for profit’ sector.“ - Head of IT Services, Young Epilepsy

A SharePoint Solution for Tokyo Electron's Intranet Image

A SharePoint Solution for Tokyo Electron's Intranet

Situation

Tokyo Electron (TEL) had initiated a formalised safety and quality management procedure for observing the work environment and practices of its employees.

For the procedure to work, the technology used for reporting issues needed to facilitate ease of use. 

The existing reporting tool was identified by TEL as being unworkable in this respect due to:

  • A counter-intuitive
interface.
  • Searching for or filtering items was difficult.
  • A complicated and time consuming information capture and submission method.
  • A complex tracking submission and action status/completion.
  • Weak performance summary reporting systems.

  • Solution

    TEL brought in Ballard Chalmers to custom-build from scratch a SharePoint tool for release into their existing intranet. This new SharePoint system delivers:

    • A logical interface.
    • A method of capture/upload that is easy and intuitive.
    • The ability for someone to submit on behalf of another person.
    • A method of capture/upload which prompts people to consider all hazardous condition/behaviour categories.
    • A system that can produce automatic reminders.
    • A system that produces the reports required.
    • A system that allows individuals to easily search for previously submitted items when online.

    In enabling the above, the system also now incorporates the following elements:

    • Submission/input interface
    • Ability to submit remotely via mobile phone or tablet.
    • Minimum capability to capture offline and upload (automatically) when online.
    • Database with reference to employee data file.
    • Reporting intelligence.
    • Automated reporting.
    • Search functionality / interface.

    Outcome

    The SharePoint system delivered by Ballard Chalmers enables TEL employees and managers to now collaborate effectively on issues affecting the safety and quality of the working environment. 

    With this, the procedure can now serve its intended purpose as the backbone of TEL’s health and safety programme in the workplace.

    A Custom BizTalk Solution for the Media Industry Image

    A Custom BizTalk Solution for the Media Industry

    Situation

    Exterion Media has recently replaced an existing legacy ERP system with Microsoft Dynamics AX, suitably customised for their business processes and installed in a managed data centre. 

    Exterion also use cloud based Salesforce as their CRM system. A seamless and efficient means to integrate these two systems was required to speed up operations and avoid the need for double keying of

    data.

    For example, potential new clients created in Salesforce should be passed to AX for credit checking and approval, before Salesforce should accept orders from them. AX should provide integrated product lookups and price calculations for Salesforce, while AX manages stock levels.

    Solution

    Having completed a number of projects together since 2014, Exterion Media contacted Ballard Chalmers for the design and development of an integration between Salesforce and Dynamics AX using Microsoft BizTalk Server. 

    Dynamics AX would manage product, price, inventory and discount information. Salesforce would process clients, opportunities and quotes. BizTalk would manage all data interchanges between the two systems

    The custom solution delivered by Ballard Chalmers has enabled Exterion Media to:

    • Automate the process of approving new customers created in Salesforce
    • Enable Salesforce to lookup products, product packs and prices in AX in real time
    • Enable AX to manage the fulfilment of orders submitted from Salesforce.

    Outcome

    "We've used Ballard Chalmers for integration using BizTalk in a number of applications. They are refreshingly straightforward and practical and we are very pleased with the work they have done for us" - IT Director, Exterion Media


     

    Massive .NET development for TFL's contactless card payment system Image

    Massive .NET development for TFL's contactless card payment system

    Transport for London (TfL) is the local government organisation responsible for most aspects of London’s transport system.

    Ballard Chalmers’ solution is a fully bespoke .NET / SQL Server product that deals with a wholesale update of the way the Oyster card is used and the way payments are taken and distributed. 

    The most obvious of these, from the customers’ point of view, is in the way that contactless payments are

    accepted at entry and exit gates, allowing them to pay with a swipe of their own debit or credit card. This is just part of what has been achieved. 

    The solution also includes:

    • Revenue Apportionment Engine for the TOCs when a journey is part TfL and part Overground.
    • A huge matrix and state machine-based calculation engine that covers all possible fares for all routes and calculates server side how much the customer should be charged for each journey.
    • Provision for payments from credit and debit cards. These are queued and processed asynchronously, using SQL Server Service Broker, as the banks cannot deal with the speed of contactless card swipes at gates.
    • SQL Server PDW (Parallel Data Warehouse) database for analysing trends in the large volumes of data involved. The data volumes are huge with millions of card swipes per day and billions of records in the databases.
    • The new Oyster Online website, which will provide a range of additional functionality such as enhanced sales capability; refunds directly to the customer’s card or bank account, (radically simplifying the refunds process); change ticket validity online to increase or decrease zones; and manage lost or stolen cards online.

    In 2015 Dr Sean Smith, head of the Fares and Ticketing development team at TfL said, “The development of the Oyster card system, with contactless payments and other features, was a massive .NET development, involving enormous data volumes and requiring the best development team. The project was constructed and mentored to use Scrum Agile, while using the Microsoft Scrum templates in TFS to control and log the development process. Ballard Chalmers contributed to the success of this project by supplying critical resources including: TFS build engineers, MVC C# developers, C# messaging and workflow developers and SQL Server development DBAs.”

    A new StudentNET portal for Canterbury Christ Church University Image

    A new StudentNET portal for Canterbury Christ Church University

    Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) commissioned Ballard Chalmers to develop the new “StudentNET” portal, based on our reputation as a Microsoft .NET development specialist with an in-depth knowledge and vast experience in the creation of enterprise scale cloud applications.

    The design utilised the absolute latest in technology and graphical presentation to ensure acceptance by students, with a fully customisable

    homepage and drag and drop apps. 

    With slick graphic design and presentation it included a range of apps to match each student’s individual needs and preferences, together with theme and colour selection and the type of features that students were used to in their online social life.

    The portal provided a central location for students to manage all of their day to day financial and course needs including:

    • Student internal messaging service.
    • Ask real-time questions of University staff and faculties.
    • Subscribe to new information services.
    • Pay tuition fees and Council Tax online.
    • Poll and student voting facility.
    • Access to course timetables and course details.
    • Webnote module for personalised views.
    • Bulletin board to trade ideas and information.Update personal details.
    • Flickr and other Web 2.0 type facilities. 

    The functionality was created using ASP.NET 3.5, AJAX.NET, LINQ to Entity, LDAP, Active Directory, Web Services and WCF. ASP.NET 3.5 was used to create the StudentNET portal framework. AJAX.NET and the JQuery JavaScript library provided a modern drag and drop client-side interface. LINQ to Entity provided a data layer to SQL Server tables and T-SQL stored procedure and functions. LDAP interfaces with Active Directory for authentication and user profile information. Web Services and WCF provide back end interface layers.

    An innovative ASP.NET, C#, SQL Server and T-SQLapp for the FinTech industry Image

    An innovative ASP.NET, C#, SQL Server and T-SQLapp for the FinTech industry

    Ballard Chalmers was brought in to design and deliver the system to Ipes’ precise requirements.

    Ballard Chalmers provided a full development team. Initially this was as an external project based at our own offices, and, once the first system version was completed and live working as an embedded team within Ipes, but still based at our HQ and with the proactive guidance of Ballard Chalmers’ Chief Technical Officer Geoff

    Ballard.

    Geoff had conceived and designed the system, and with his deep experience of the Microsoft Application Platform he was a key factor in the architecture design and its implementation.

    The result was CapitalTracker.com, the first entirely web-based system in the field, with an app-based architecture enabling customised views of data in real time to all users. Investors could now see live valuations, transfer information and obtain up to the second reports; clients could view the information for all their investors; and Ipes staff now had access to the same information across all funds being managed.

    • The technology behind CapitalTracker is primarily ASP.NET, C#, SQL Server and T-SQL.
    • The user interface was based on apps that are developed as ASP.NET controls with JavaScript, JQuery and AJAX.
    • .NET Server side security ensured that each user could only request certain pages and apps.
    • Data requests were made over REST primarily to WCF Data Services and Entity Framework.
    • LINQ to Entity Framework was used extensively for server side data requests.
    • The more advanced apps made use of Knockout.js.
    • A unique and proprietary Data Widget software layer enabled power users to design their own Apps using a drag and drop forms designer and a data configuration file.

    Most of the apps have been developed successfully using this tool set.

    “CapitalTracker now controls every aspect of our business. That’s why the partnership with Ballard Chalmers has been so important. The programmers work for me, but are supported by their full technical team – it’s the best of both worlds. This gives us continuity at reasonable cost and maintains the relationship with Geoff and the Ballard Chalmers team. It’s our software and we have the flexibility to add enhancements when we want, and we are well supported by Ballard Chalmers.” - Tim Andrews

    A SharePoint Solution for Non-Profit, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution Image

    A SharePoint Solution for Non-Profit, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

    Situation

    Funded by charitable donations, the lifeboat crews and lifeguards of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) have saved at least 140,000 lives at sea since 1824. With 92% of its total income coming from donations and legacies, the RNLI’s public facing website is a critical tool for generating awareness and for fundraising. 

    The website is based on the SharePoint 2010 enterprise

    content management system and has many thousands of web pages. It also has a large number of custom extensions enabling it to provide a whole range of services to the RNLI’s audience including: details on all lifeboat stations, automated weather updates, membership sign-up and donations.

    The RNLI had identified a number of issues with the website including: Users found the donation process too lengthy. 

    So the RNLI appointed a creative agency to update the design, and reached out to Ballard Chalmers for help on the back-end SharePoint development. 

    In particular it was necessary to speed up page loading times and improve the “donation journey.

    A lack of compatibility between the live web servers and associated QA (Quality Assurance) web servers was making deployment of new software and content very difficult, because the behaviour on the live servers was not always consistent with the behaviour on the QA servers. The compatibility differences were between installed Microsoft service packs and cumulative updates, server configuration settings and deployed custom code. 

    Solution

    In order to address both of these issues the RNLI selected Ballard Chalmers to redevelop the donation web pages and to rebuild the live and QA SharePoint server farms in a way that ensures they are functionally identical allowing reliable software releases to take place.

    Outcome

    The updated website allows the RNLI to continue and further its outreach, garner donations and educate the public on safety in British and Irish waters.

    A BizTalk System for the Legal Sector Image

    A BizTalk System for the Legal Sector

    Situation

    Shoosmiths is one of the UK’s fastest-growing national law firms.

    HM Courts and Tribunals Service had implemented a new Secure Data Transfer (SDT) gateway to streamline the submission of money claims. As a result Shoosmiths were required to put in place integration between their two existing case management systems – Visualfiles & IDR – and the HMCTS SDT system.

    The solution

    would need to accommodate both Shoosmiths’ operational processes together with the HMCTS implementation. To achieve this, changes were required within Shoosmiths’ internal systems, in parallel to Ballard Chalmers creating the SDT solution interface.

     

    Solution

    Shoosmiths chose to implement Microsoft BizTalk as an integration engine (which will later also be extended to support the firm’s Enterprise Service Bus). 

    Shoosmiths needed assistance from a Microsoft Partner organisation that could rapidly get to grips with the firm’s requirements and could deliver a scalable solution in a very short timescale. 

    The solution was based on BizTalk Server 2013 and the BizTalk ESB Toolkit. The ESB resides between the Line of Business (LOB) systems and the SDT system, and has the capability to act in real time or in batches with respect to both incoming and outgoing messages.

    The HMCTS SDT is a real time Web Service based system. Shoosmiths have two internal LOB claims systems, one used by 80% of the users and one by 20%. Neither of these systems have built-in sophisticated integration capabilities therefore the methods of interchange are:

    • Incoming and outgoing communication handled by files being placed into a drop folder.
    • Incoming and outgoing calls made through staging tables in a SQL database.

    Outcome

    “The integration with HMCTS is critical to our business. In the short timescales available, the easy option would have been to develop a specific point solution, adding yet more complexity to our systems landscape. Instead, the use of BizTalk provides us with flexibility to enhance the solution as the integration with HMCTS evolves, whilst being able to extend the use of this service to other parts of the business if required. Ballard Chalmers did an excellent job of delivering exactly what we required, when we required it. I was impressed by how quickly they understood the legal process and were able to deliver a flexible, yet scalable solution that can keep pace as our business grows.” - Andrew Souter

    A Huge BizTalk Scalable System for Public Sector Organization - Transport for London Image

    A Huge BizTalk Scalable System for Public Sector Organization - Transport for London

    Situation

    In their position as the transport information hub for London, Transport for London collect and disseminate information from many different transport sources in as many different formats, from departure boards to motorway cameras, to deliver an online service for commuters through their primary website. 

    TfL’s existing data transfer system, software and hardware, was prone to stalling and

    delays and had inadequate error handling, resulting in delayed and inaccurate information being presented to the web pages. 

    Ballard Chalmers was briefed to develop a new software system that would broadcast live travel data to clients and customers through the use of syndication, personalisation and localisation. 

    Solution

    The brief was to develop a proof-of-concept software solution using Microsoft BizTalk that harnessed raw data from over 25 sources across the capital.

    These sources included the tube and rail network, station information, river, roads, buses and coaches. 

    Data was captured, stored and processed as XML in a scalable BizTalk environment. The incoming feeds were used to create live html web pages every minute, which meant that our solution had to process every piece of information in just 30 seconds.

    Continuous monitoring and status alerts of incoming and outgoing feeds were provided in a form suitable for display on TfL’s internal monitoring dashboard. This allowed rapid diagnosis of any data and system problems.

    The new system generated real time performance reports on a monthly and quarterly basis, as well as on trading partner adherence to weekly data refresh requirements. By sharing the data load across servers, the software ensured that one failed server would not hinder the reporting process. 

    The scalability of the project meant that the system was future-proofed against large amounts of new data and sources, making its implementation more cost-effective in the longer term.

    An ASP.NET Web Application for the Energy Sector Image

    An ASP.NET Web Application for the Energy Sector

    Ballard Chalmers is one of the UK’s foremost experts in energy sector custom software systems development and integration. With a track record of delivering on projects for many of the sector’s major players. 

    The relationship with OVO Energy extends back to 2010 and as such, Ballard Chalmers was contracted to develop their software system based on BizTalk Server 2010, ASP.NET 4.0 and SQL Server 2008 R2 and

    2012.

    ASP.NET web pages are used directly by call centre operatives, whilst BizTalk Server handles the business processes, long running transactions and integration with the account management and financial systems that run the business.

    The software system automates a number of functions, including: 

    Direct Debit Refunds: Allows refunds to be given to individual clients where requested. The system calculates the amount of refund based on the user’s energy consumption.

    Direct Debit Review: Recalculates customer direct debits based on their consumption pattern.

     Direct Debit Batch Review: Performs batch review of large numbers of accounts to ensure that direct debits are correct. 

    Change of Tenancy: Manages the switching of an account between old and new tenants in rental properties, both of whom have to be contacted to complete the transaction. 

    Disputed Reads: Manages the disputed read process which typically occurs when customers switch suppliers and suppliers claim different readings. 

    Collection Management: Managing payments from customers that have not managed to keep up with their direct debits, through the use of pre-pay meters and other methods.

    Smart Meter Installation: Automated booking system for managing the installation of Smart Meters, for use by the call centre and direct online use by customers.

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    Confidential
     
    Oct. 2015 - Feb. 2016
    Project summary: 

    Ballard Chalmers Ltd developed a custom CRM software solution using SharePoint for a cloud computing company. This product streamlined workflow for the client's sales team. 

    The Reviewer
     
    51-200 Employees
     
    Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Commercial Director, Cloud Computing Firm
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    Ballard Chalmers Ltd's efforts helped expand the quality and breadth of information for the client's sales team. Their project management was excellent; the team were willing to help with any problems or concerns. 

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    I’m the commercial director at Computer Systems Integration Ltd (CSI). We’re a managed service provider that helps businesses migrate from on-premise solutions to the cloud.

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Ballard Chalmers Ltd?

    We wanted better reporting and visibility with our order base. The CRM we had was poor and unusable, so we asked them to develop some tools within Microsoft SharePoint to give greater visibility.

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    They provided custom CRM development. The main point of development was a bespoke approval system workflow built into SharePoint. Through this, our salespeople can send out proposals to clients and managers can approve them before they are sent out. They also built a repository to store contracts, jobs, and documents. We gave them a piece of paper with drawings and they converted it into specification documents.

    What is the team composition?

    They had 2–3 people and a project manager.

    How did you come to work with Ballard Chalmers Ltd?

    One of our directors knew someone who worked there. They produced what we were looking for in terms of a proposal and the cost was right. We decided to not waste more time looking elsewhere and went with them.

    What is the status of this engagement?

    It started in October 2015 and ended in February 2016.

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

    Ballard Chalmers’ work was a big step forward for the business. We were able to access and manage far more information. That data was also accessible to a much greater number of people than previously available.

    How did Ballard Chalmers Ltd perform from a project management standpoint?

    They were great, I think project management was the best part of the project.

    What did you find most impressive about them?

    I would say the quality of their people and their willingness to help.

    Are there any areas they could improve?

    They could be more proactive. They never really came to us with any new projects or concepts since the completion of the project.

    Do you have any advice for potential customers?

    Make sure you’re engaged with the senior partners because they seem to drive the business. I think that’s key.

    4.0
    Overall Score
    • 5.0 Scheduling
      ON TIME / DEADLINES
    • 3.0 Cost
      Value / within estimates
    • 4.0 Quality
      Service & deliverables
    • 4.5 NPS
      Willing to refer

    Software Risk Mitigation for IT Company

    "They’re approachable people, and they clearly care about the quality of their work."

    Quality: 
    5.0
    Schedule: 
    5.0
    Cost: 
    4.0
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    $50,000 to $199,999
     
    May 2018 - May 2019
    Project summary: 

    Ballard Chalmers Ltd performed risk mitigation services regarding Microsoft applications, producing a spreadsheet of key information and a licensing assessment.

    The Reviewer
     
    11-50 Employees
     
    London, England
    Founding Partner, Digital Transformation Company
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    The deliverables have helped internal stakeholders use resources more efficiently. Organized and responsive, the team excelled at collaborating with stakeholders. Their transparent communication supported a positive partnership. They were tenacious workers.

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.
    I’m one of the founding partners of a UK-based digital transformation company. We provide software engineering, mainly to UK government entities, to help them transform their digital assets. 

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Ballard Chalmers Ltd?
    We were doing some work with a university in central London. In anticipation of a key developer's exit, the university wanted to bring on senior Microsoft engineers to do a risk management review of their Microsoft applications. To mitigate the risk of application failure, they wanted to determine how each application was being used and supported, and what the key documentations were. 

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?
    The project was more about mitigating risk on the Microsoft applications than it was about reviewing detailed, low-level code. 

    The deliverables included a master spreadsheet with a register of all the client’s software applications (e.g. Microsoft Azure and Office 365) and key information about each application. This document would allow our client to hire any .NET contractor to fix a software issue as it would contain all the information the contractor would need to know (e.g. functionality, location, contact point within the company). We recommended that the client add more in-depth detail to the documentation, and they’ve been able to do that.

    Another part of the project was performing a licensing assessment for the client’s Office 365, looking through existing enterprise agreements and modeling requirements based on future needs. They also helped with budgeting for the Microsoft applications. 

    What is the team composition?
    Geoff (CTO, Ballard Chalmers) was our main point of contact, and Andrew (Principal, Managing Director, Ballard Chalmers) was also involved. They both helped to manage their Ballard Chalmers team. 

    The master spreadsheet was mostly completed on-site by a senior software engineer, and an architect worked on-site to complete the licensing assessment. Geoff also went on location to provide his Microsoft expertise. 

    How did you come to work with Ballard Chalmers Ltd?
    In the past, we’ve used Ballard Chalmers to extend our delivery capability, and so we turned to them when we encountered this project. 

    How much have you invested with them?
    We’ve invested around $50,000–$200,000. 

    What is the status of this engagement?
    We started working with Ballard Chalmers around May 2018. We’re not using them at the moment, but we consider them whenever we have Microsoft-related work. 

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
    The client was extremely happy with the deliverables. The team’s work mitigated the risk surrounding the exit of the client’s key developer. Now, the client feels comfortable using the orientation documentation the team provided to hire contractors. On the licensing side, the client is now in a much stronger position to negotiate their deal with Microsoft. It has likely saved them quite a bit of money.

    How did Ballard Chalmers Ltd perform from a project management standpoint?
    They have a robust project management style, with a traditional, well-structured approach. They maintained clear communication, always setting checkpoints so we knew where we stood on the timeline. We also received budget estimates throughout the process, to ensure we weren’t spending our funds too quickly. 

    They’re approachable people, and they clearly care about the quality of their work. Geoff and Andrew were always happy to speak with stakeholders via a phone call. The team worked both remotely and on-site in about equal parts. 

    What did you find most impressive about them?
    They’re simply a group of honest, hardworking people. They know their market and area of expertise, and they’re very efficient and focused when it comes to that work.

    For example, when we asked Ballard Chalmers if they could work with Dynamics 365, they told us they didn’t have expertise in that area. They don’t pretend to specialize in what they don’t know. 

    Are there any areas they could improve?

    I wish they covered Dynamics 365, it’s a difficult space but there’s a big market for it. With their knowledge and reputation, it would be sensible for them to do more in the cloud-based Dynamics suite.

    5.0
    Overall Score Ballard Chalmers did a great job of parachuting in on short notice and delivering within a short amount of time.
    • 5.0 Scheduling
      ON TIME / DEADLINES
      We’ve had no issues with timelines at all.
    • 4.0 Cost
      Value / within estimates
      They’re on par with market rates—not the cheapest, but not too expensive. They have good value for money.
    • 5.0 Quality
      Service & deliverables
      The client was pleased with the quality of the output. Ballard Chalmers delivered a lot of value in a short period of time.
    • 5.0 NPS
      Willing to refer
      They know their space well, and I’ve pushed colleagues their way.

    IT Consulting and System Migration for Construction Company

    "They're knowledgeable, and they easily adapt to external constraints." 

    Quality: 
    5.0
    Schedule: 
    5.0
    Cost: 
    5.0
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    Confidential
     
    March 2018 - Ongoing
    Project summary: 

    Ballard Chalmers Ltd performs system migration and IT consulting. Ongoing services include a SharePoint migration and the transfer of legacy management system content into an Oracle Aconex solution.

    The Reviewer
     
    501-1,000 Employees
     
    London, United Kingdom
    Greg Morley
    CIO, United Living
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    The team's work will lower business risk and increase cost efficiency. Their ability to train internal resources has added value. Diligent and deadline driven, they are reliable employees. They don’t require detailed instructions to get the job done.

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    I’m the chief information officer of United Living Group, a construction company in the UK.

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Ballard Chalmers Ltd?

    We hired Ballard Chalmers to serve as our SharePoint support partner. Later on, they also began helping us migrate data from three legacy document management systems into a modern system that has a lower risk of failure.

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    Ballard Chalmers has been assisting us through two data migration projects. Serving as our SharePoint support partner, the team helps us migrate files from a third-party solution into Microsoft SharePoint. They’ve also been helping us transfer data from legacy document management systems into Oracle Aconex. To increase efficiency, they've written an application that moves source data into the target system. Since Ballard Chalmers provides application programming and scripting, internal resources have been performing the migration themselves. We've concluded the first of three migrations, with the last one expected to end in 2020.

    What is the team composition?

    We partner with seven team members, with three working on SharePoint and four looking at the migration to Oracle Aconex.

    How did you come to work with Ballard Chalmers Ltd?

    Our prior SharePoint support partner lost its personal touch after it was acquired by a global organization. So, we were looking for a personable, local team with expertise in the field. After receiving a personal recommendation for Ballard Chalmers from a colleague, I met with the team and decided they were the best fit.

    What is the status of this engagement?

    We started working together in March 2018, and the partnership is ongoing.

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

    Our business will experience net savings after eliminating all three legacy document management solutions. Also, transferring data from one of the large, on-premise systems will decrease the risk of the system failing. Document storage is critical to our industry, and the business will be safer once these documents are transferred. Our IT team couldn’t have accomplished these goals without the support of Ballard Chalmers—they’ve had a tremendous impact.

    How did Ballard Chalmers Ltd perform from a project management standpoint?

    The team inspires a vast amount of confidence because they are diligent about following instructions. I can always trust them to deliver high-quality work within deadlines. Working with them has been a breath of fresh air.

    What did you find most impressive about them?

    Collaboration with the team has been both personable and professional. They're knowledgeable, and they easily adapt to external constraints. The pricing has been reasonable, too. I only wish our other suppliers were half as good as Ballard Chalmers. 

    Are there any areas they could improve?

    No, they’ve exceeded our expectations at each step.

    Do you have any advice for potential customers?

    Future clients should trust Ballard Chalmers to perform well. It isn’t necessary to overspecify the project, they will totally understand the solutions you’re trying to achieve.

    5.0
    Overall Score
    • 5.0 Scheduling
      ON TIME / DEADLINES
      They've always delivered results on time, even when we shift the deadlines.
    • 5.0 Cost
      Value / within estimates
      It's been a very good value for our money.
    • 5.0 Quality
      Service & deliverables
      We've never had a reason to question anything they've done.
    • 5.0 NPS
      Willing to refer

    App Dev & Maintenance for Software Company

    “Trust them from the start because they have the ability to deliver on whatever you ask.”

    Quality: 
    5.0
    Schedule: 
    5.0
    Cost: 
    5.0
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    $50,000 to $199,999
     
    Mar. 2018 - Ongoing
    Project summary: 

    Ballard Chalmers develops updates for an app-building software. They work with tools like ASP.NET, C#, and SQL to improve existing Microsoft Azure and iOS-based platform, while also assisting with new projects.

    The Reviewer
     
    1-10 Employees
     
    United Kingdom
    Boyd Neal
    Managing Director, AppCan
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    Ballard Chalmers’ development speed generated more updates in six months than the last three years’ total. The team’s detailed approach and level of technical expertise assure that minimal product testing is required before launch. Their level of engagement stands out among others in the field.

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    I’m the Managing Director at AppCan Ltd. We are a software company with an app-building solution that allows customers to create their own self-sufficient data-collecting and document distribution apps within our system. Our clients can distribute documents to their workforce, and collect data electronically. Through the backend portal, they can build their apps, view captured data and manage their users.

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Ballard Chalmers Ltd?

    We needed a new software developer that was more local to us, and could take our product to the next level.

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    Ballard Chalmers Ltd provides a wide range of services for our two products, one is a cloud-based Microsoft Azure platform and the other is iOS-based. In their various development projects, they work with technologies like ASP.NET, C#, and SQL. Their services stretch across all of our existing platforms and any planned future development.

    What is the team composition?

    We mainly work with a project manager, managing director, and the chief technology officer, but we’re also free to speak with several developers. Currently, we have four development resources working with our company.

    How did you come to work with Ballard Chalmers Ltd?

    We conducted a Google search for development houses and Ballard Chalmers Ltd was listed. After reviewing their company, we found that they had the appropriate skills. We spoke with several other businesses, but chose Ballard Chalmers Ltd because of their location and the quality of their proposal. Their submission was significantly better than any other agency and we were confident in their ability to deliver. It clearly detailed their approach to the project and the estimated timeline.

    How much have you invested with them?

    So far, we’ve spent £40,000 (about $51,500 USD) on their services.

    What is the status of this engagement?

    We started working together in March 2018 and the partnership is ongoing.

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

    Before partnering with Ballard Chalmers Ltd, we were struggling to roll out enough updates. Now, we’re releasing changes and improvements every other week. Despite the increased work speed, the new product versions require minimal user acceptance testing (UAT). We’ve pushed out more updates in the last six months than we have in the last three years.

    How did Ballard Chalmers Ltd perform from a project management standpoint?

    Working with their team is like a breath of fresh air. Ballard Chalmers Ltd is fully engaged and available at all times, we never have to chase them down. Also, they’re extremely professional.

    What did you find most impressive about them?

    I’m impressed with their level of technical ability. Their staff is top-notch and they have a thorough understanding of a wide range of technologies. They leveraged their skills to enhance the performance of our products. I’ve been in the IT industry for 30 years and Ballard Chalmers Ltd is the best agency I’ve ever worked with.

    Any advice for potential customers?

    Trust them from the start because they have the ability to deliver on whatever you ask.

    5.0
    Overall Score By far, they’re the best software development house I’ve come across.
    • 5.0 Scheduling
      ON TIME / DEADLINES
      They always deliver according to their estimates.
    • 5.0 Cost
      Value / within estimates
      We’re getting tremendous value for our money.
    • 5.0 Quality
      Service & deliverables
    • 5.0 NPS
      Willing to refer
      I’d absolutely recommend them.

    Microsoft PowerApps Implementation for HR Management

    "It's difficult to deliver on cost and quality when it's only two days of development, but they did."

    Quality: 
    5.0
    Schedule: 
    5.0
    Cost: 
    5.0
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    Less than $10,000
     
    Dec. 2017
    Project summary: 

    Ballard Chalmers helped transition a charity to a new HR payroll system by developing a stop-gap custom web form. Using PowerApps, the form's backend pulls employee data into spreadsheets.

    The Reviewer
     
    201-500 Employees
     
    London, UK
    Consultant, Health Nonprofit
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    The new form is simple and easy to use. Ballard Chalmers kept the project on budget and moving, despite a very short timeline. Their consistent communication, responsiveness, and ability to work within strict parameters made them a valuable partner.

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    I’m a lead consultant at a charity in the UK. I’m providing them with consulting services around their technology roadmap and additional input around other projects.

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Ballard Chalmers Ltd?

    The charity is implementing a new HR and payroll system. Part of the new system is functionality to capture objectives and staff performance reviews. The old system was very clunky but the new system wasn't going to be ready in time. We needed a simple, stop-gap solution to capture objectives and reviews that could then later transfer to the new system. As a charity, cost was imperative and we needed a solution fairly quickly.

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    We started with an initial conversation. Using Microsoft PowerApps, Ballard Chalmers created a web form that allows people to click on a link that automatically pulls relevant data. The form enables the user to manually enter other payroll details and objectives. The form’s backend captures the data in spreadsheets, which we’ll eventually use to add to the new HR payroll solution. The developer did the initial work offsite and then spent a day onsite to finish the project. We also did an additional week of testing.

    What is the team composition?

    I had a direct relationship with a developer.

    How did you come to work with Ballard Chalmers Ltd?

    They were a recommendation from another partner. I shared with them the high-level project requirements and they very quickly responded with their recommendation. It was a really good recommendation, and something I had overlooked myself.

    How much have you invested with them?

    We spent around £1600 pounds ($2,250 USD).

    What is the status of this engagement?

    The project took place in December 2017.

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

    Their recommendation for choosing PowerApps gave the solution a nice frontend, which makes it very easy to use.

    How did Ballard Chalmers Ltd perform from a project management standpoint?

    The project was so short that little was needed in terms of project management. They were very responsive and got back to us quickly if we had any questions. While some firms would spread two days of work out to four or five, Ballard Chalmers understood that was unnecessary and expensive. They were pragmatic and focused on getting the job done.

    What did you find most impressive about them?

    I was impressed with their flexible approach. PowerApps are customizable, which makes them very easy to configure and change. They delivered a high-quality solution. It's difficult to deliver on cost and quality when it's only two days of development, but they did.

    Are there any areas they could improve?

    I can't think of anything that they can improve. I did have a contingency but it was never needed. They understood the task really well and knew what they were coming onsite to do.

    Do you have any advice for potential customers?

    I found them easy to work with, particularly with such a short time frame. They have the ability to turn things around really fast.

    5.0
    Overall Score It was a really positive partnership.
    • 5.0 Scheduling
      ON TIME / DEADLINES
    • 5.0 Cost
      Value / within estimates
    • 5.0 Quality
      Service & deliverables
    • 5.0 NPS
      Willing to refer
      I'd absolutely recommend them.

    Booking Web Application for Energy Company

    “They are always available to have a conversation."

    Quality: 
    4.5
    Schedule: 
    5.0
    Cost: 
    4.0
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    $10,000 to $49,999
     
    Sept. 2017 - Ongoing
    Project summary: 

    Ballard Chalmers’ most recent project within a well-established partnership integrates a web application with the billing platform, CRM, and appointment scheduling capabilities of an energy supplier.

    The Reviewer
     
    501-1,000 Employees
     
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Jonathan Stickler
    Junior Project Manager, OVO Energy
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    A recent MVP release improved booking functionality, and allowed for better interface with other installers. Open communication facilitates realistic timeline expectations, and a newly streamlined approach reduces development cycle times.

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    I am the junior program manager for an energy supplier. We supply our customers with electric and gas.

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Ballard Chalmers?

    We initially looked to develop our booking platform. We wanted to improve our booking system for smart meter maintenance and emergency appointments for our customers’ homes.

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    When I first joined, they had already implemented our booking platform. Since then, we’ve added functionality for meter installers, and are considering the UI [user interface] for our agents. We hope to link our London branch development team into the customer-facing platform.

    The web application links to our digital server and updates our database. It integrates with our billing platform, CRM [customer relationship management] software, our API [application programming interface], and our capacity platform. We have about 80 engineers within the company, and the capacity platform coordinates their scheduling and availability for appointments. New features include improvements to emergency and maintenance booking, with ways to improve the process for our agents.

    What is the team composition?

    We usually have a minimum of two engineers on their side who are familiar with our system, though the number fluctuates. Erik [Senior Software Engineer, Ballard Chalmers] is currently our principal engineer, and Stephen [Senior Software Engineer, Ballard Chalmers] our second. Szilvia [Services Delivery Manager, Ballard Chalmers] acts as our project manager, and Gary [Delivery Manager, Ballard Chalmers] joins us for large-scale projects. The company director also joins us for quarterly meetings.

    How did you come to work with Ballard Chalmers?

    One of our directors worked with them in a previous capacity and recommended them to our other directors.

    How much have you invested with them?

    The initial scope for the current project was £28,500 ($38,500 US). We’re currently under budget, but we anticipate spending more on future improvements.

    What is the status of this engagement?

    We initially began working with them around 2010, before my employment with the company began in 2015. The most recent project began in September or October 2017, and is ongoing.

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

    The best result of their work recently is the portal itself. Until the recent MVP [minimum viable product] went out, we were unable to make emergency bookings through the system. They’ve really improved the functionality and our ability to work with other installers.

    How did Ballard Chalmers perform from a project management standpoint?

    They are always available to have a conversation, and are quick to respond to any questions we have. The openness within the channels is great, and they let us know when a team member will be away so we can manage our timeline expectations. They deploy changes quickly, and show good flexibility to address any issues we have.

    They are integrated into our work communications. We have weekly phone meetings with the project manager and the developers, and it’s easy to email or message team members directly. They have their own support portal, but we can run through the budget, admin-related tasks, design specifications, guidance, or other criteria. Otherwise, they manage their own internal processes.

    What did you find most impressive about them?

    I’ve always had a good experience with them. They provide good support, and recently provided us with the ability to deploy developments weekly.

    Are there any areas they could improve?

    Previously, we had trouble balancing our testing and development teams. For this most recent project, they implemented a more continuous approach, which reduces idle time. We can now be more agile as we move through development.

    5.0
    Overall Score
    • 5.0 Scheduling
      ON TIME / DEADLINES
    • 4.0 Cost
      Value / within estimates
    • 4.5 Quality
      Service & deliverables
    • 5.0 NPS
      Willing to refer

    SharePoint Implementation for Children's Non-Profit

    "[They've] simplified the process into two or three steps where it used to be a ten step process."

    Quality: 
    5.0
    Schedule: 
    4.0
    Cost: 
    5.0
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    Less than $10,000
     
    July 2016 - Ongoing
    Project summary: 

    Initially contracted for a small intranet project, the partnership was extended to improve document management. The solution features a cloud-based SharePoint portal for secure and remote access.

    The Reviewer
     
    201-500 Employees
     
    East Sussex, United Kingdom
    IT Manager, Children's Disability Services Non-profit
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    While it remains in the test phase, the portal is already demonstrating significant time-saving benefits. Reliable communication and a willingness to accommodate a specific budget make Ballard Chalmers an ideal partner.

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    I’m the IT services manager for a non-profit organization that helps children and young people with severe disabilities.

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Ballard Chalmers?

    I needed assistance on a small SharePoint project for the organization’s intranet.

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    While initially hired to work on the intranet, the scope expanded to a bigger project. They developed a cloud-based SharePoint portal for the organization’s governors and trustees, which will allow secure sharing of documents online.  

    The portal simplifies document management and workflow approvals. The team created a feature that allows a user to click a button when a document needs to be approved. The system sends a notice to the governors’ clerk, who can make changes to the document or accept all the edits.

    A separate workflow automatically transfers the document to the approved document library that is visible to end users.

    How did you come to work with Ballard Chalmers?

    I was searching for a local company. I also spoke to an organization that used them in the past. I met with them, and thought that they were a good fit.

    How much have you invested with them?

    We’ve spent about £5,500 [$7,300].

    What is the status of this engagement?

    Work began in July of 2016, and is ongoing.

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

    While still in the testing stage, the portal demonstrates real time-saving benefits.

    The new system is so much better than what we were doing in the past. We were sending a large amount of documents through the mail, and now the governors and trustees can access them remotely and securely online.

    Previously the clerk had to copy and paste each document to a shared drive, and also send them via email. The new workflow approval simplified the process from 10 steps to two.

    How did Ballard Chalmers perform from a project management standpoint?

    They were great, often going above and beyond the required elements to provide excellent service. They communicated every step of the process, providing up-to-date information so that I didn’t have to chase them down.

    One time I was unable to get hold of the the developer, who was on vacation. We chose to wait for him to get back rather than assign a new person to the project.

    What did you find most impressive about them?

    They’ve done a great job explaining everything to me, in a technical way and not as a sales pitch. The team demonstrated how to most effectively use SharePoint for the organization, including what tools can be changed and manipulated to best suit the portal.

    I was also impressed with their can-do attitude, and how they approached the challenge of making the project work within a non-profit budget.

    5.0
    Overall Score It was a pleasure to do business with them.
    • 4.0 Scheduling
      ON TIME / DEADLINES
    • 5.0 Cost
      Value / within estimates
      Less expensive than the competition.
    • 5.0 Quality
      Service & deliverables
      They provide over-and-above the standard service.
    • 5.0 NPS
      Willing to refer
      Definitely would recommend.

    .NET & Angular Applications for Financial Administrator

    "Ballard Chalmers [is] a sounding board for technical designs whether or not we’re asking them to do the work."

    Quality: 
    5.0
    Schedule: 
    4.0
    Cost: 
    4.0
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    $200,000 to $999,999
     
    2010 - Ongoing
    Project summary: 

    Ballard Chalmers has been a development partner for many years, providing expertise in .NET and other development areas.

    The Reviewer
     
    201-500 Employees
     
    Guernsey, United Kingdom
    Adrien Le Tissier
    Head of IT, Ipes
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    The applications developed have many thousand business users and the long-term partnership partially replaces what would be full-time, in-house staff. New resources are made available relatively quickly, though onboarding could be improved. Overall, the value and quality are both quite good.

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    Ipes is a private equity finance administrator. We deal with fund managers who buy other companies and then invest in them over a 5-10-year period and sell them for a profit. Fund managers outsource all administration compliance duties to us. I’m the head of IT.

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Ballard Chalmers?

    They have mainly done development services for us.

    How did you come to work with Ballard Chalmers?

    I don’t know how that process was because I was not part of the company when they were first hired.

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    We outsource a number of permanent roles to Ballard Chalmers. They’ve written .NET based applications for us. Our main application that we run our entire business on, Capital Tracker, was written by them. They also helped us write a number of applications later on in Angular and others in Microsoft technologies. They also provide us with database administration services.

    Capital Tracker is where we do all of our administration services for our clients. It’s an intranet zone web application so it’s not fully exposed externally. It allows us to make payments over Swift, do the KYC [Know Your Customer compliance measures] and store the results for our clients and their investors. It also allows us to do all our trust and company secretarial work, and all of our client accounting and invoicing. It’s a 3-tiered application. We have our views and those speak to the business logic layer which then speaks to the database in the background.

    The second major application that they helped with was not designed by them, but they’ve done a lot of the application programming with us. It’s an online system called The ID Register which is an industry compliance portal. It’s aimed at the fund management private equity market. The idea is that people log on and get all of their compliance done centrally throughout the fund administration world. The fund administration private equity world is quite small so there’s only 200,000 odd investors that are actually involved in it. If they can all have their KYC done centrally it massively reduces the KYC cost for the entire industry. This is written on Angular and hosted on Microsoft Azure. This is a service that we charge for.

    What is the team dynamic?

    They provide mainly development resources, database administration, and database design skills. We generally hire .NET and Angular developers from them. The number of resources vary but through most of this year, it’s been 3-3 ½.

    How much have you invested with them?

    The cost varies each year. This year we will spend near £200,000 [$264,000]. We’ve spent more in past years when there’s been major projects we were working on, but that amount is a pretty typical year.

    What is the status of this engagement?

    We started working with them in 2010.

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

    We have 20,000 active profiles on the external ID Register website. It’s only been launched for a year.

    The internal applications they've developed over the last five years has about 300 users from our company as well as about 800 external users.

    How did Ballard Chalmers perform from a project management standpoint?

    If we have an idea for a project, we go to their office and have a brainstorming session. The project is run using Agile. We have morning standups and scrum meetings. We run those meetings and their staff is included in our standups. They have their own internal project manager who ensures that they’re delivering the resources and deliverables that we assigned to them on time. He liaises with me or whomever the internal project manager happens to be at Ipes. I’ve never had any complaints about their performance. They’re always very versatile when we have an issue and are quick to address it.

    Our company uses PRINCE2 for our overall project framework, but then within development, we use Agile.

    What did you find most impressive about them?

    They help you bring out the technical elements of your system. We have our own development team that comes up with the initial technical design. But it’s become part of our standard process to use Ballard Chalmers as a sounding board for technical designs whether or not we’re asking them to do the work. They still come back and help us make sure we’re making the right technical choices. We have done this for a number of years. Geoff Ballard and a couple of other people around him are especially knowledgeable in the Microsoft stack.

    Are there any areas they could improve?

    I feel we could get more reporting from them to see what developers are spending their time on. We have an arrangement where we’re managing them slightly anyway, so we do understand what they’re doing, but it wouldn’t be bad to get metrics out of them in that area.

    5.0
    Overall Score
    • 4.0 Scheduling
      ON TIME / DEADLINES
      Sometimes if we want to scale quickly, they don’t have the resources immediately available. They will do their best in order to allocate their resources so they can hit any timelines we’re asking for.
    • 4.0 Cost
      Value / within estimates
      Given that they’re in the UK, they’re slightly more expensive than other places like Eastern Europe. When we’ve done analysis of Ballard Chalmers pricing against offshoring, we’ve not found a huge difference which is why they’re a pretty good value.
    • 5.0 Quality
      Service & deliverables
      I’ve never had anything delivered from them which didn’t work after one round of testing and feedback being implemented.
    • 5.0 NPS
      Willing to refer

    Enhancement of Incident Tracking SharePoint Application

    "They're good about keeping us up to date and moving things forward."

    Quality: 
    4.5
    Schedule: 
    4.0
    Cost: 
    3.5
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    $50,000 to $199,999
     
    July 2014 - Ongoing
    Project summary: 

    Ballard Chalmers revamped and continues to support a SharePoint application with over 50,000 records, restructuring the database and customizing reporting.

    The Reviewer
     
    1,001-5,000 Employees
     
    Lingfield, United Kingdom
    Eddie Erasmus
    Head of IT, Young Epilepsy
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    The continuous progress updates and clear communication from project managers and developers in their propriety project management system is refreshing. The lack of in-house design resources is frustrating but there aren't any significant issues.

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    We are a charity that provides essential services: education and health care for learners with epilepsy and other neurological conditions. We also have a companion organization for people who have epilepsy and their families to provide support.

    We work with other health care organizations and children's hospitals in relation to children who have epilepsy, too. We have about a thousand members on staff including volunteers, consultants, and researchers. We care for about 200 students on our campus in our day to day care.

    I'm the head of IT. I'm responsible for all aspects health information technology and information services.

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Ballard Chalmers?

    We have a bespoke application that helps us manage incidents. Incidents are any type of event where a student might have been put at risk. So that could be medication errors, behavioral issues, or just the health and safety, like falling over and possibly sustaining an injury. It's used for our on site compliance and monitoring of our activities.

    We initially wrote that application using PHP and MySQL in 2006. We've redeveloped it into a SharePoint-based application with a SQL Server backend in 2012. The company that did the SharePoint development for that couldn't serve us anymore so I had to look elsewhere. I found Ballard Chalmers to develop a "version 2" essentially, along with support, enhancements and further development.

    How did you come to work with Ballard Chalmers?

    I looked at any company in the local area - the South East of England - with SharePoint credentials - ones that could provide SharePoint integrations and SQL development. They were a top company and local.

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    The application has quite a lot of workflows attached to it. It manages five different types of categories of incidents regarding compliance with health and safety behavior safeguarding. They made significant changes to the user interface on the front end but also structural changes to the database. At that point, we had about 20,000 incident records in the database. A lot of the changes had to be done retrospectively, so it was quite a big chunk of work. They had to get their heads around our operations and how the existing development functioned because it's a completely bespoke application before beginning their own work.

    The biggest improvements and changes have been related to the databases and proper reporting. We changed over to SQL Server Reporting and that's been working really well. They've helped us build standards reporting and helped us present that data with SharePoint. They also help build statistical analyses.

    What is the team dynamic?

    My information systems manager and database manager are the two that always interact with them directly. From their side, we've always had Geoff [Ballard, CTO] and a few other people on their side depending on what the project was. We've worked with two or three different frontend or backend developers and project managers. It's been really good. They always update their project management system so we always know where we stand when we log in, but they also communicate well.

    What is the status of this engagement?

    We started working with them around July 2014 and the work is ongoing. The initial project ran over about a three month period. There's been several smaller projects and a couple of bigger ones as well, plus support and maintenance throughout.

    How much have you invested with them?

    We probably spend about 25,000 GBP [$32,750 USD] per year.

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

    All three of our major projects have been delivered on time. Any delays came from our side.

    We have 1,000 users because it's used by the whole organization. It's used quite heavily on a daily basis, too. The application has tracked 50,000-60,000 incidents by now.

    How did they perform from a project management standpoint?

    They use their own online application for project management that works really well. It creates a client site and tasks within each project. Tasks are assigned and then we have oversight as to when those items are updated and we're able to comment on them and upload samples, etc. They communicate very regularly. They're good about keeping us up to date and moving things forward.

    Deliverables have always been on time. There have never been delays that were not explained or previously discussed or mutually agreed to - usually delays came from our side more so than from them.

    What did you find most impressive about them?

    The improvements to the database structure and database performance have been very good. Before we engaged Ballard Chalmers, the database would crash, especially when searches were done. They made some changes in SQL and to the GUI [graphical user interface] and to how the data is extracted and dealt with. There's been a significant improvement.

    Are there any areas they could improve?

    They don't currently have an in-house designer so that's always been a bit tricky when we ask them to do GUI work. We had to get designs made externally and then submit that to them to be implemented, so that's been a little bit of a frustration.

    4.0
    Overall Score They're very good to work with, especially working with Andrew [Chalmers] and Geoff. They're very hands on, very knowledgeable, and always prepared to listen. We've had a great experience all around.
    • 4.0 Scheduling
      ON TIME / DEADLINES
      They're a small firm so they're not always able to respond quickly.
    • 3.5 Cost
      Value / within estimates
      We're a charity and they're private. I would love to do a lot more but I can't afford it so it's a small frustration.
    • 4.5 Quality
      Service & deliverables
      I'm happy with what they've delivered. There's no real complaints on anything.
    • 5.0 NPS
      Willing to refer
      I'd happily recommend them to anybody.
    Verification

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    Verification Level
    Silver
    VERIFIED
    Business Entity
    Status
    Active
    Jurisdiction of Formation
    United Kingdom
    ID
    05644282
    Date of Formation
    Dec 5, 2005
    Payment & Legal Filings
    International Credit Risk Assessment

    Per our methodology, the International Credit Risk Assessment rating is determined by our analysis of a credit report and third-party data.

    Very Low Risk
    Last Updated
    Jul 30, 2019
    Client Reviews
    VERIFIED CLIENT REVIEWS
    9
    OVERALL REVIEW RATING
    4.8
    Source
    Clutch
    LAST UPDATED
    October 4, 2019