Grant management tools #8 Blog
Over the past year, I have been piloting the use of a Cloud based grant management tools. The purpose of a grant management tool is to provide a Cloud based solution for grant management. The grants are entered into a database that is located in a web-based Cloud, which can send reminders, provide a list of upcoming tasks and maintains information for easy access. All information can be accessed via the Internet across departments and organizations even. The two I looked at closely were Amplifund and Ecivis. I won’t go into the pros and cons of each of the grant management tools but I will go into what I have learned about introducing technology and using Cloud based tools. Here are my top five tips.
Tip #1 – Pilot or do what I call a test pancake. For those who are not pancake chefs, you always start off by testing your griddle before you get started. Test pancakes indicate the griddle is hot and ready to go. I would suggest starting off small with one department using the grant management tool. Learn what the barriers and challenges may be before diving into full implementation.
Tip #2 – Don’t assume that now you have a great management tool that those who struggled with grant management will suddenly change their ways. Actually, I find that the best and most dedicated individuals have a hard time slowing down to enter in key dates, upload items and do paper work necessary for grant management. Having a person who is dedicated to maintaining the database is key. There needs to be a point person.
Tip #3- No technology is without bugs. Spend time working closely with the new technology to iron out bugs. If early adapters hit too many bugs, they will stop using the new technology.
Tip #4- This seems obvious and probably needs to be #1, but the database must be seen as useful and have a purpose. If it seems like a burden and not useful then why should it be used? All too often educators are given a tool that they really don’t want or feel that they need. Which brings me to #5.
Tip #5 – Once you have ironed out the kinks and you know it is working seamlessly (more or less), now is the time to roll it out with a workshop and with fanfare. This is the time to provide intensive professional development and support. The professional development needs to put them in front of the computer where they can experience what it is like to use the new technology tool.
Ultimately, it will be up to the end user if technology is adapted. The key is to provide the foundation for them to make an informed decision. Humbly, I am learning how important it is to allow time and space for this to occur.