Mobile app innovation helps trustee boards collaborate more efficiently and securely

Project Overview

Hymans Robertson were one of PDMS’ first new clients in Glasgow  and our Scottish client base has since expanded to include the University of the West of Scotland, McAlpine, Caledonian MacBrayne, Orkney Ferries, Pentland Ferries and the Shetland Islands Council.

Hymans Robertson is a multi-award winning, independently-owned pensions, benefits, investment and risk consultancy. Their success is built on their friendly, partnering, confident and straightforward values, and being able to nurture exceptional relationships with their clients.

Many of the UK’s biggest pension schemes, banks and insurance companies rely on their advice and they provide consultancy services to trustees and sponsors from leading companies, including FTSE 350 and public sector organisations.

Together PDMS and Hymans Robertson (HR) have delivered an iPad app which helps trustee Boards collaborate more efficiently and securely through the use of paperless meeting facilitation technology.

The enterprise grade solution required integration of industry leading technologies from Apple and Microsoft to bring consumer driven technology into the Board room.

HR identified the opportunity to create an app in response to a recent study which revealed that two thirds of trustees found that preparing for meetings was a challenge.  HR also recognised the potential to use technology to help reduce the reliance on paper and to improve data security for sensitive financial information – delivering environmental and data protection benefits together with cost savings.

The app builds on HR’s existing focalPOINT electronic document storage and meeting management system.  This product is hosted on a central Microsoft SharePoint platform and provides a range of tools to support pension scheme governance.

Working closely with the team at HR, PDMS developed an iPad app, available on the Apple App Store, which allows authorised users to download personal copies of documents and to annotate directly on the iPad. This includes adding typed notes as well as 'writing' directly on them using a stylus or finger.

Each meeting also has related structured information such as agenda, attendees, actions and location which is also downloaded and made available via the focalPOINT app through an intuitive navigation system.  The app also improves efficiency, by showing upcoming milestones and displaying any open actions.  This information and downloaded documents are available off-line.

All of HR’s documents are classed as highly sensitive. To this end, every document is encrypted on the device and is only ever decrypted whilst someone is actively viewing it, after which it is automatically encrypted again. In order to access the documents within the app, users must sign in using their focalPOINT credentials which are verified on our server before access is allowed.

Head of trustee DB Calum Cooper said: "While time for trustees is short, demands and responsibilities are many. The focalPOINT app allows boards to organise and collaborate more effectively, hold more productive meetings and move with greater speed."

Agile develop processes were used to create the app, iterative feedback from clients was used to help fine-tune it to ensure it met their requirements and delivered real value.

A growing number of HR’s clients have signed up to use the app which has generated a positive response from the trustees.The app launch is part of a wider push on technological innovation at the firm.

Mobile app innovation helps trustee boards collaborate more efficiently and securely  quote image
I am very pleased that we have been able to create this enterprise grade iPad app in partnership with PDMS. Responding to client demand, we have been able to integrate industry leading technologies from Microsoft and Apple using best practices such as REST APIs, encryption and responsive design to create an app getting a great response from end users Barry Smart IT Director and Partner