A partnership approach to digital transformation

Entry to the 2020 memcom membership excellence awards is now open


Several strong partnerships between membership organisations and agencies were highlighted at the memcom membership excellence awards back in June and the award for ‘Agency Team of the Year’ went to a particularly compelling story of a collaborative agency-organisation approach to digital transformation.


memcom judges’ comments


“A really compelling story of a partnership approach, supporting an organisation to overcome significant issues. This submission also clearly evidenced how working as a partnership added value to their strategic approach. The submission was well structured and engaging and the journey from A to B was clearly articulated to the judges. Hugely impressive results. The client provided excellent feedback demonstrating why this agency should be judged as the Agency Team of the Year.”


The detail behind the win…


Trillium is a full-service digital agency that specialises in helping membership organisations deliver digital transformation and their strong partnership and ongoing work with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) made them a worthy winner for the 2019 ‘Agency Team of the Year’.



CIEH is a professional membership and awarding body and has been the voice of environmental health since 1883. Like many professional bodies, CIEH has recently gone through a period of much needed transformation. By failing to update its membership models, learning pathways and commercial services it had seen a ten-year decline in membership numbers and twelve years of significant losses. The organisation was also held back by antiquated back office systems and a lack of digital capability.


Choosing the right technical platforms, and digital partner, was critical to delivering much needed change. Trillium helped address a lack of collaborative working, speed up and simplify relationships with customers and members and facilitate new ways of working. Trillium stood out to CIEH due to their unique understanding of the organisation as complex and occasionally ‘tricky’.



At the point of award entry, CIEH was two and a half years into a strategy which had rescued it from insolvency. A key pillar of the change programme was the development of an organisation-wide digital transformation strategy. Only this would allow them to engage members, customers and potential members in a modern and appropriate manner. This was so important that the Board agreed a substantial investment in digital strategy at the same time as the organisation radically cut other costs.



CIEH carried out profession-wide market research, with YouGov, and used the results to rebuild its offer. They created six different personas against which they could assess their digital offer for practitioners and customers. With many members not being digital natives, they needed to build what the members needed, not necessarily what was requested. The previous digital estate was wordy, unwieldy and used by a small number of local authority EHPs whereas the new offer is accessible to the whole profession.



  1. New CRM and CMS agreed and delivered on time, and on budget, in seven months.
  2. Centralised, integrated platforms breaking down silos and enabling collaboration
  3. Automation of most common processes (e.g. time to process DD reduced from 7 days to 4 hours)
  4. Reduction in number of websites from 13 to 5
  5. Main website pages reduced from 4000 to 170



  1. An increase in paying members by December 2018
  2. MYCIEH – an increase in members registering on the online portal
  3. An increase in members’ use of Direct Debit
  4. Huge increase in online member engagement; page views increased by 72% and average session duration by 61%
  5. Annual support savings of £20K+




Although CIEH were existing Dynamics users, it had been heavily developed over time to support a now legacy organisation. There was an integrated website, but it was expensive to maintain, complex to use and not user-focused due to the involvement of multiple partners.


This legacy customisation, together with the significant changes CIEH was undertaking, required Trillium to re-scope and develop the CRM based on future needs, rather than simply upgrading existing functionality. It was vital that they avoided the mistakes of the past, such as introducing too much complexity and customisation.


Trillium assisted CIEH in ensuring that the systems reflected a sensible way of doing things, rather than the way ‘things have always been done’. Trillium implemented a new Dynamics 365 Online based CRM to manage Membership, Events, Financials, CPD and Work-Based Learning. This is all integrated to a new, responsive and personalised website and self-service area, with a clean, modern user experience, managed by a new easy to use CMS.


The pre-existing silos have been largely replaced by the new CRM. It’s a central location for all staff to get the visibility of data they need, whilst controlling access to those that should have it, fulfilling a key part of the GDPR strategy.


To support the new website, the brand was updated to reflect the new digital direction and a Digital Style Guide provided, including content tone guides, that CIEH relies on daily.



Working with Trillium was a rewarding experience for CIEH and, together, they have delivered a major two-part programme with a limited budget.


The large scope, and aggressive timeline, wouldn’t have been achievable without the correct partnership and strategy. Initially they had to have confidence in each other’s ability to deliver. Later, both parties had to place a great deal of trust in each other, to put in place a flexible relationship relying on strong communication and mutual respect, rather than implementing extensive requirements documentation and rigid reporting and governance.


The strong relationship was essential in giving CIEH the confidence to accept Trillium’s experience and expertise to cover any internal skills or knowledge gaps, rather than looking to bring in additional resource. An example of this was relying on Trillium to fill in some of the digital skills gaps.


Trillium provided a clear strategic direction, harmonising the CRM and Website deliverables into one project. They took CIEH’s objectives and defined the creative direction in days, not weeks. This reflected the strength Trillium has in understanding the membership sector. From there, the creative process was straightforward; essential to CIEH hitting their tight deadlines.


Trillium helped to simplify and standardise CIEH’s legacy processes which were supported in the new CRM. Their own existing solutions for membership organisations provided the basis for this and gave them a head start, enabling targets to be met quickly by tailoring the solution rather than customising or developing new functionality.


When faced with challenges, both the CIEH and Trillium project teams kept calm, focused on the task and worked as one.


All this has given CIEH the space to be more innovative and focus on their members as they continue with their digital transformation and partnership with Trillium.


“We could not be prouder of our memcom “Best Agency Team of the Year” win. Public recognition of the Team’s excellent work has made everybody here feel extremely valued. However, we could not have won the award without our clients, especially the CIEH. Our collaboration demonstrates how a true partnership relationship, is ultimately what will deliver long term success.” Alan Perestrello, Co-Founder & Director, Trillium



Plans are underway for the 2020 memcom membership excellence awards and entry will open in the Autumn. In the meantime, please sign up to our newsletter for the latest membership sector insights and updates and offers from memcom.