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PEAK Grantmaking

Not Just Plug and Play: Look Within When Implementing New Grants Management Software

Adding new software is a major investment for philanthropic organizations. While improved tools can help automate business processes and create more efficient workflows, adding a new software solution can take years of research and hundreds of thousands of dollars for implementation and system integration.

It’s a big job, and new software alone is no guarantee that an organization will improve outcomes enough to cover the cost of installation. Getting the most from your next software purchase requires an in-depth understanding of both your own operations and the capabilities the software will provide. Those kinds of insights must come from your team, and uncovering them may require new thinking and guidance.

Start with an Assessment

Are you prepared to answer questions such as: Do you know what version of a business process you want to automate with the new software? Are you willing to redesign processes to work with the new software? And, will process changes take place before the new software is in place, or after it is up and running?

Answering these questions will help determine whether a software upgrade will automate the best version of your business process, or simply polish a process that was outdated before you began––and whether it will buoy your organization’s success, or sink the project and damage both organizational reputation and employee confidence.

Getting a software install right requires thinking about processes at a high level. Why? Because while a vendor can explain the granular details of how a software solution works, only people within your organization have the in-depth understanding of the processes required to maximize your investment.

To help philanthropic organizations understand this delicate balance, I am asking grantmakers, technologists, and chief financial officers for their thoughts in a 10-question survey that explores the methods used to implement new software systems. The survey addresses questions like:

  • Should business processes be reimaged along with new software installation?
  • When should that reimaging occur?
  • What resources and tools are best used for business process reimaging?
  • What results have philanthropic organizations achieved when reimaging business processes during new system install?

Completing this survey will help philanthropic organizations think more deeply about their business processes and understand how to incorporate process improvement into a software search and installation. Look for survey results to be published in a future PEAK Grantmaking newsletter, providing insights that may help you determine whether your next software implementation is celebrated as a success or remembered as a boondoggle that is the butt of jokes for years to come.

Take the survey now. Survey closes October 31.