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    How to Successfully Manage Your Three Ring Tech Circus

    Posted by SmartSimple Software on Apr 1, 2021 1:21:37 PM

    A circus ringleader extending his arm


    Imagine two grantmaking organizations, A and B. They each need to buy software to manage their contact relationships, operations, and finances, but they go about it very differently. Grantmaker A buys a technology suite from a single vendor, and uses it for everything. Grantmaker B, on the other hand, buys a specific solution for each function from different vendors, and then integrates them all.

    Both approaches can be successfully implemented if done right, but organizations of all sizes are increasingly adopting the “best-of-breed” model in order to maximize their productivity and impact. With best-of-breed, you select the best solutions to solve each of your organization’s functional challenges and integrate them together where needed.

    The upside to the best-of-breed approach is clear enough. That is, its intent is to leverage the best technologies to manage each functional need with the idea that if you’re using the best, you get the best results. Of course, in practice that isn’t always the case. There are a million and one cases of organizations that have cobbled together multiple technologies only to end up with a Frankenstein-looking tech stack where technologies can’t fit together well because there’s incongruent flow of data between the various technologies.

    Using technologies that have the functional chops to do what you ask of it is one aspect of a successful best-of-breed approach. The other, is interoperability, or simply, how well technology systems can exchange data back and forth.

    SmartSimple’s Platform3 is flexible enough to be leveraged within the best-of-breed model because it is an extremely interoperable platform (there really isn’t any system it can’t be connected with). In the vast majority of cases, contemporary organizations need to have their Accounting/Finance system (ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning software) seamlessly connected to their customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and a third system that manages the organization’s complex operational process as a whole. That’s where Platform3 comes into the picture. Read on for more.

    What’s wrong with a single-vendor solution?


    Nothing! It really comes down to fit and the needs of the organization. Single vendor solutions are great if your organizational needs and processes are relatively simple because you can deploy them across your organization, and there’s one point of contact for billing, support, and training.

    For many organizations, however, it’s rarely as simple as that. The reality is, it’s difficult for any software to do everything really well. A platform may have great Accounting/Finance functionality but may be lacking in other areas like CRM.

    When that happens, some organizations will try customizing platforms to tweak or build out functionality beyond the limits of what that platform was meant to do, all in an effort to keep everyone happy under one, unified technology.

    But customizing software can leave it brittle and prone to breaking. Not only that, organizations may never enjoy the full potential that the technology has to offer because it’s being deployed in a way that it wasn’t designed for.

    You wouldn’t take a race car to go off-roading even if you put big, knobby tires on it, right? Does it make any more sense than if you were to take a CRM system to manage your grant review process? Or an Accounting/Finance/ERP system to manage a volunteer program?

    The reality is, many organizations have unique and complex operational processes where the processes themselves need to be managed really well. Having a technology that can do that well while successfully connecting your other technologies is the key to a well-oiled best-of-breed technology stack.

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    A platform that successfully manages your three ring tech circus


    If we take a simplified view, the majority of organizations have three core intersecting software needs:

      1. CRM (Contact Relationship Management)
      2. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)
      3. Operations Management

    You likely know the top CRM worldwide is Salesforce, and you’ve heard of leading ERP solutions like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics. Used to their full potential, they are incredibly powerful platforms. Yet, if you ask those who’ve tried, the challenge many face is successfully connecting them together so that all key functional departments can pass data back and forth.

    venn-diagram-v2 (1)



    If you look at the diagram above, each bubble is owned by a different set of stakeholders. The ERP bubble, for example, would be owned by the Accounting/Finance department, while the CRM may be owned by Fundraising or Sales department. Both are tied together by an overarching operational process (the intersection points).


    The last bubble is a key third system that manages this overarching process. It ensures the efficient flow of data across the whole process and between systems to ensure that each functional team has the data they need in a format that’s meaningful to them.

    Without a robust and interoperable technology that can manage this third aspect, you can put strain on your other systems and stifle the vital data flow between them.

    SmartSimple CLOUD was built to handle the critical third circle, your complex operational processes. Architected for flexibility, SmartSimple CLOUD can manage any complex operational process through configuration leaving your CRM and ERP to solely do what they were intended to do: contact relationship management and financial management.

     

    See SmartSimple CLOUD in action


    Want to see how SmartSimple CLOUD can optimize managing your operational processes and connect your existing CRM and ERP systems? Schedule a personalized demo today.

     

    Topics: Integration, SmartSimple CLOUD