Grainger Plc are a market leader in the UK private rental sector owning and operating an 8,500-property rental portfolio. With more than 100 years of experience in renting homes, Grainger are committed to operational excellence and great customer service to achieve high occupancy rates and sustainable rental growth.

Grainger are dedicated to giving their tenants the best renting experience. By investing in technology their new CONNECT online digital platform now secures their leading position in the market and enables continued growth.


With Grainger’s business growth ambition to double its rental portfolio, it was clear some of the incumbent systems and processes would not support or scale to match Grainger’s plans. As such, Granger embarked on a major business transformation exercise via the CONNECT programme. All current processes were reviewed against the ’to-be’ business process vision and various product solutions from a number of vendors assessed to address the gaps. This resulted in the selection and procurement of a number of best of breed solutions in the property space including new systems for property management, facilities management, payments & invoicing and customer relationship management among others.

In addition, a new portal was required to allow Grainger’s customers to transact the entire rental process online, including viewings, applications and lease agreements, and for Grainger residents to be able to raise repair requests, submit account queries and make amenity bookings.

A significant factor in the selection of the new vendors systems was to ensure Grainger’s mantra of ‘adopt not adapt’ was applied to make best use of the functionality provided out of the box by the newly procured systems and so minimise technical customisations.


An integration solution was required to connect and synchronise master and transactional information between the various new systems. With the majority of the new systems hosted in the cloud, the logical approach was to implement a cloud based integration solution. Cluster Reply were engaged at the start of the CONNECT programme working in partnership with Grainger to define the programme requirements, the technical scope and to implement the integration solution in alignment with the Grainger business transformation strategy.
This resulted in Cluster Reply architecting and delivering a Microsoft Azure hosted Enterprise Integration solution, underpinned by Cluster Reply’s Integration Accelerator Framework, QuickConnect. The underlying Cluster Reply QuickConnect Integration framework is based on tried and tested Microsoft technology and is the distillation of Cluster Reply’s 20 years’ of integration experience.
The framework provides a set of best practice integration patterns in the areas of publish/subscribe interfacing, abstraction, loose coupling, stateless integration and API Management. In addition it provides a management portal for monitoring, error log diagnosis & reporting and for the configuration of reference data. The CONNECT programme rollout was based on an incremental delivery approach with the first phase enabling the new lettings and payments processes. This went live in March 2021 with the Cluster Integration solution implementing 2 interchanges and supporting the following integrated systems:
• MRI Qube - Property Management system
• Salesforce - CRM system

Further incremental releases are planned through 2021 to implement new procure to pay and facilities management services and a customer portal. The Cluster Integration solution will be configured with a further 10 interchanges connecting a number of additional vendor systems:
• FSI - Facilities Management system
• Proactis - Purchase to Pay system
• DocuShare - Content Management system
• Stannp - Direct mail platform
• SendGrid & Twilio - Email & SMS providers
• Portal - Bespoke Customer Portal developed by AND Digital

One of Grainger’s plans for 2022 is to replace the legacy MRI Qube Property Management system with a newer MRI product. Because of the vendor system abstraction and loose coupling patterns employed by the Cluster Reply QuickConnect Integration framework this can be done easily with no impact to the other vendor systems integrations. This would be a much wider technical challenge had a more traditional point to point system integration model been implemented.


“Cluster Reply have been at the very centre of leading the execution of this technical transformation” says Paul Glibbery, CIO of Grainger. “We have worked closely with Cluster Reply to develop our architectural approach to create an integration layer to anchor our best-in-class solutions. This has provided Grainger the freedom and confidence to select the optimum technology to drive the best possible business outcomes”.