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How Do You Improve Grant Performance? Speed and Simplicity!

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Complexity is the enemy of innovation. Think about some of the disruptive innovations of the last decade. Smart phones, streaming video and ride sharing. These innovations transformed and simplified the way we communicate, consume media and get places. In a world where you are being asked to do more with less, speed and simplicity is how you accomplish that goal. 

Simplicity Drives Success

Simplicity is a key ingredient to successful innovation. But simplicity is not the same as having a simple understanding or simple ideas. Rather, it’s the process of reducing complex challenges and disparate ideas into something we can understand and successfully implement. As Peter Drucker said, “An innovation, to be effective, has to be simple and it has to be focused...If it is not simple, it won’t work”.

For years, complexity has been a staple in many grant management system implementations and why so many implementations rarely succeed. But once we replace complexity with simplicity we often see an increase in speed, which drives improved efficiency and effectiveness. It also helps to avoid large capital investments in an era where changes in grants management requirements and reporting are changing faster than most implementations can be completed.

Speed and Simplicity

Glen Salyer, Assistant County Manager of Lee County, Florida, shares his thoughts on why the County prioritized speed and simplicity. 

Question 1: "Why did you investment in a SaaS solution versus a custom solution?"

Glen Salyer:

  • We studied several options for in-house and/or customized design, but given the complexity and cost of those options, we chose eCivis as a better investment of our resources.
  • Implementation of eCivis and training of staff is being completed in 12 weeks, an easier implementation than a customized or in-house solution.
  • Using eCivis - a known system with demonstrable features - is lower-risk than embarking on a custom or in-house system.
  • eCivis offered an affordable solution that ensures a modern, standardized grant process that meets federal and state standards for transparency, central oversight and efficiency.

Question 2: "What are the outcomes you expect from implementing a full-lifecycle grants management system?"

Glen Salyer

  • The process we set up in eCivis more closely ties the grant application process to specific, Countywide objectives.
  • Lee County’s senior management team will have an at-a-glance view of grant activity.
  • Implementation of a more standardized, county-wide system improves administrative oversight.
  • We expect reduced risk of errors because departmental and fiscal managers can more easily oversee grant project managers’ compliance to specific grant timelines, terms and conditions.


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