Many life sciences companies are using manual processes or inefficient software to manage their end-to-end workflow process associated with educational, sponsorship, charitable and/or research (IIS/IIT) grant requests. When a manual process or inefficient software are no longer meeting your business needs, developing a business case is essential to advance forward. Building a business case for a grants management solution can be daunting but is simplified when following these 5 steps to help ensure you are hitting on the goals, objectives and benefits your organization is striving for.
Remove time-consuming processes
- Manual processes may work until they quickly do not. Many life sciences organizations struggle with identifying when their team’s effort is outweighed by the benefits of a manual process, and they often don’t have the time or resources to proactively search for a better solution before the team is underwater.
- Metrics and KPIs are helpful in determining whether your current process is meeting your needs; however, they may be difficult to gather. Consider these questions when evaluating your process:
- How many applications are received annually? Of those, how many are approved?
- How many emails/back-and-forth exchanges between your coordinators and applicants are required in order to bring a request to the reviewers/committee?
- How many internal emails, spreadsheets and shared folders are required to manage your grants program?
- What is the typical time it takes for an initial request to be approved and funded?
Prioritize all stakeholder experiences, not just the applicants
- We are in the age of technology which has made our personal lives more manageable and efficient. Taking that same need and applying it to the office is what the majority of teams are requesting.
- Utilizing a solution that can assist with providing an intuitive and clear experience is key to ensure all stakeholders are satisfied.
- Applicants should easily be able to identify the correct grant type which is needed, access the forms in their native language, see request forms adjust based on their responses and easily view status of all requests.
- Internal grant coordinators require the system to: validate that requests are fully completed prior to reviewing, centrally track and manage all requests to remove additional spreadsheets, and provide control of the complete grants process and program allowing it to scale as the organization’s strategy evolves.
- Reviewers should be able to access assigned grants prior to live or virtual meetings, collaborate on questions and feedback to allow key concerns to be the main topic of meetings and store a full review and approval audit trail if questions ever arise surrounding the approval of a specific grant.
Use data-driven decisions and monitoring
- If answering the metrics/KPIs in step one of this blog post was not as simple as you would like, a solution is pre-built to gather, store and provide access to all the data captured within the grants management process.
- Building business, finance and compliance dashboards ensure teams have access to key metrics and KPIs which assists the organization with following their organizational strategy in relation to grants.
- Identifying areas of risk and providing compliance a single location to monitor activity allows leadership to breathe a little easier knowing their team is able to be an efficient watch dog.
Examine cost versus benefit
- Approaching the need of a new solution is usually met with two questions: how much does it cost? Will the benefit to the team outweigh the expense?
- Identifying an internal champion is the first step to building your business case, ensuring they can be the voice for the broader team and outline the justification and need for a new solution.
- Anticipating the concerns with new technology, change management and ancillary stakeholders whose support is needed requires some initial due diligence by you and the champion(s).
- Simplistic visuals and KPIs, if you can gather them, will also support your choice of building the vision.
- If you’re a high-growth organization who is expanding rapidly, remind your team that spotting the iceberg and adjusting your course is cheaper and easier than fixing your boat after it’s sprung a leak.
Identify a partner, not a vendor
- Identifying a strong partner whose knowledge can provide insight into the industry and recognize how your organization can improve their processes will assist in justifying your need.
- A strong partner will provide the current solution but also be able to speak to how their solution will grow and scale with your organization.
- The partnership means, even if a solution does not have every single piece of functionality you need at this time, they will work with you to build or provide alternative options (which may be better in the long run).
To summarize, it’s important to focus on the benefit to your organization, not the features of the solution. Decision-makers want to understand how a solution will save them time, money or assist the organization to fulfill their overall strategy. When putting your proposal together, ask yourself, “so what?”. This can help drive the refinement of how you present the information, ensuring you are hitting on the goals, objectives and benefits to your organization.