Danny Tobin (Chief Operating Officer) reflects on his first year at Orchard and talks about the key changes the business has undergone to ensure that it continues to meet customers’ current and future needs in an environment of ‘constant change’.

I’ve very much enjoyed my first 12 months at Orchard, especially being able to mentor staff, work closely with customers, and work with the rest of our board to build the vision for Orchard’s future. Whilst I’ve only been at Orchard for a year, it’s incredible to look back on the massive amount of change that both Orchard and its customers have experienced in such a short time.

If I had to pinpoint the focus of the changes that Orchard has been through last year, the ‘golden thread’ would be our customers. Whether developing customer relationships, strategic product development or continued investment in people and skills – the focus has been on the evolving needs of our customers.

Orchard has always had close working relationships with its customers. However, last year saw us take that engagement to the next level by spending more time with our customers at all levels of their business to understand their risks, challenges, and opportunities and truly work towards being a trusted advisor. This engagement has opened up wider, more honest conversations about what we need from each other and we have had some really good feedback. It’s fair to say that we have worked really hard to put this valuable insight to good use including a much greater focus on product development from an end user perspective across our product suite. This enhanced customer focus has produced strong results across the board – I am delighted to say that not only have we have won new customers across Housing, Finance and Asset Management, our existing customers have also continued to invest heavily in Orchard and we have seen many customers extend and secure their relationship with Orchard.

In October, we launched our next generation Digital Platform which enables our customers to provide digital services to their customers. This has been an incredibly strong area of development, and I’m delighted at the progress, the feedback, and the resultant customer investment we have seen. I think the quality of the UI/UX and the market leading capability surprised some people! Our Digital Transformation Services are potentially game-changing too. We have always been strong on software implementation – but this introduces a consultative offering for our customers that is much more than that. This service enables us to be a strategic sounding board for our customers, and help them to develop strategies around digital to maximise the massive potential that it offers (throughout the process, not just in implementation).

Our customers should expect more from the ‘new’ Orchard stable including a very exciting Arrears solution coming soon!

Looking forward

As I look forward to the year ahead, I recognise that we are very much on a journey as a business and we are keen to continue to work closely with our customers to build upon a year of strong growth last year. We recognise that the pace of change in our sector is increasing, and in response we are heavily reinvesting our profits in our people, product, and expertise to ensure that we meet the future needs of our customers’ changing world. Orchard aspires to create a world where change is anticipated and our customers are ready. I am excited about the road ahead, and the challenges and opportunities we will face – and look forward to continuing to work with our customers, as a trusted adviser, to tackle these head on.