Creating a single source of truth at Fórsa

Trade Union |  Implementation | Change Management


  • Need to create single source of truth from three separate CRM systems 
  • Data quality restricting the ability to measure and report on performance
  • Need to build new balloting functionality, identified as business critical for the trade union, required to support pay negotiations for the Civil Service


  • One master source of data
  • Improved data quality (ongoing)
  • Better reporting
  • Integration with the website for membership applications

Key services

  • System Implementation
  • Change Management 

The origins of Fórsa’s CRM project came from the inception of Fórsa itself in January of 2018. The union was formed after an overwhelmingly positive vote from the members of three different trade unions to merge into a single organisation.

Creating a source of truth

Fórsa’s new General Secretary assembled a team to identify the challenges that faced the newly created union. Chief among these was the need to understand their data and the creation of a single, centralised source of truth, replacing the three separate CRMs it had inherited. Ryan McKinney, Fórsa’s National Secretary Head of Strategic Change, explained that the project’s ambition was, “to maximise the potential of having that data to improve the communications with our own members.” Ryan also noted that, as foundational and early project for the new organisation, “symbolically it was quite important as well.”

The project is ongoing and Ryan was clear that Fórsa are still working internally to make the best use of the new system and standardise best practise: “It’s on the road to success, is probably the best way to describe it.” However, Ryan is clear about the potential of the system and some of the benefits that have already been realised. “We’re giving our branches access to data they have never had before… Now they’re going to have access to live information on new joiners and leavers 24/7. That’s a massive shift in culture.”

Having Hart Square there to give us advice and come up with options and next step options, was very valuable. The attention to detail has been very, very helpful.

Ryan McKinney
National Secretary Head of Strategic Change, Fórsa

Expert guidance and support

Ryan explained that the project benefited from the Hart Square’s breadth of knowledge and experience, which provided context and perspective at critical junctures. Ryan recalled the project hitting a potential obstacle and told us that, “having Hart Square there to give us advice and come up with options and next step options, was very valuable.” Some of this was reassurance over the choices made and the direction of travel that came from Hart Square having seen scores of similar projects.

Ryan felt that there was real impact from having Hart Square present for the day-to-day project management. “The number one benefit for me would be having the likes of [Hart Square] available every week, keeping us on top of our priorities, questioning us… the attention to detail has been very, very helpful.”

Importance of resourcing and communication

We spoke about what Ryan would recommend to organisations in a similar position to Fórsa and he stressed the importance of assessing the scale of the task, being realistic, and distilling the real priorities: “If you’re not prepared to commit enough resources, then it’s going to take longer… First of all, start smaller with the scope of the project.” He also highlighted the importance of the communication and change piece early on and of being explicit. “Make sure that the organisation is very much aware of what it is you are going to do – don’t have people working on assumptions.”

We spoke about the difficulty of understanding the scale of projects such as these, particularly for organisations where this is unfamiliar ground. “CRMs are not straightforward. Major IT projects are never straightforward.”

“I would certainly recommend that an organisation take independent advice and consider whether they can project manage it themselves or whether they should have someone do that with them… When I’ve been asked before I have recommended Hart Square very much on the basis of keeping the momentum up.”

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