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Choosing the Right Path: ERP + GMS

An ERP system serves as the backbone of an organization—integrating various business processes such as finance, human capital management, and procurement. Unfortunately, while ERP systems offer a broad range of functionalities to manage various aspects of business operations, their grant management capabilities are not robust enough to enable most organizations to properly manage grant funding.  

So how does an ERP benefit grants management? There certainly is data stored in the ERP that is needed for your grant program. However, the data is in that ERP system to address many financial needs. The level of grant data on those data objects in the ERP financial module varies from system to system. To benefit from this information, a grant manager needs a good grant management system (GMS), such as AmpliFund, that takes that data from the ERP system, brings it into the GMS, and adds value as necessary by adding additional data elements, such as performance and recipient data, needed for detailed and compliant grant management. The GMS then moves the data into the grant lifecycle so it is part of the grant object and can now be enhanced to create the required internal and external reporting.  

Basically, the GMS provides the on-ramp for ERP data to get into your grant lifecycle and gives you one spot where this data lives, so you have the transparency you want and need.  

A purpose-built grant management system helps organizations achieve streamlined communication with internal and external stakeholders, real-time financials for recipients and subrecipients, performance insights, application and awarding capabilities, storage for virtually all grant-related information and documentation, and a comprehensive audit trail. These are capabilities that just aren’t available with an ERP system’s grant management functionality and are imperative to maintaining compliance and maximizing drawdown. The good news is, however, implementing these two systems simultaneously and integrating them can improve efficiency and compliance while also saving your organization time and money.  

So how do you make your case that the ERP system’s grant management features are insufficient? My recommendation… don’t. Instead, focus on the grant management features and functions you need. Create your list and share that with your IT team and others involved in the decision around the technology purchases. It is their job to then assess any systems being considered and weigh the needs of the various stakeholders—including you.  

To help you begin to shape your list of the grant management technology features you need, let’s look at a few of the key benefits of implementing a GMS—and how integration with an ERP amplifies the value of both systems: 

Streamlined Communication  

Purpose-built grant management systems like AmpliFund excel in critical aspects of grant management, such as application processing, awarding, and effective communication with stakeholders and the specific GMS functionalities provide a comprehensive solution for managing the entire grant lifecycle. This ensures that organizations not only keep track of financial requirements but also efficiently handle the intricacies required to properly manage grant funding and compliance. 

Enhanced Transparency 

Grant-funded projects often require a high level of scrutiny, especially when you’re the recipient of federal funds. By integrating a grant management system with an ERP system, organizations can enhance transparency and accountability throughout the grant lifecycle, including providing real-time access to recipient performance, which an ERP system cannot do by design. This not only ensures compliance with grant guidelines but also fosters trust among donors and stakeholders by providing a clear and auditable trail of fund usage. 

Future-Proofing Your Organization

As organizations grow and evolve, their needs change. Implementing a grant management system alongside an ERP system ensures that your organization is well-positioned to adapt to future challenges and can handle the management of different types of funding streams with ease. The flexibility and scalability offered by integrated systems empower organizations to stay ahead of the curve and respond to emerging opportunities with agility.  

Expertise on Demand 

Implementing AmpliFund alongside an ERP system offers a strategic advantage by providing not only specialized software but also access to a dedicated team of grant management specialists. Even data importing becomes more effective because AmpliFund’s experts can help you standardize your data for import into both systems, ensuring they are speaking the same language before they go live. This means that organizations benefit from both robust technology and the guidance of professionals well-versed in navigating the intricacies of grant-funded projects and the compliance requirements. 

It’s likely that you understand the benefits of GMS. So, my recommendation is to start your list of requirements for the technology you need to support your grant management success. You are uniquely positioned to create this whereas the champion for the ERP system is not.  

If you’re finding that your organization is asking you to wait on providing input on the GMS requirements until after an ERP is implemented, we recommend you share our explainer: Warning: Prioritizing an ERP Purchase over GMS has Immediate and Long-term Consequences. 

We’ve also had the privilege to successfully respond to many RFPs that outline both the GMS and ERP feature requirements. We would be happy to help you draft your requirements list.

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