I did not know much about GMS systems. I had to do some research to understand what a GMS system even was. A Grants Management System allows you to track grant money that is requested from various funding entities. A GMS will generally allow you to enter the name of the organization(s) from which you apply for a grant, how much grant money you are requesting and any documentation that you submitted along with the request. The GMS will generally allow you to track if and when the grant was awarded, and the exact dollar amount that was awarded. Your organization should also be able to track when you request the payments from the grants and when that money is received.
I was assigned to a project where our team was responsible for creating a new GMS for a State of Indiana Government Agency. Game on. I had my plan of attack. I would research existing GMS systems and have a general idea of how they are supposed to work. Check. I would learn the business to see how they would use the GMS system. Check. And that’s when it hit me. This GMS system wasn’t going to be a typical Grants Management System. This system was not being designed to track grant money that is being received. This GMS was going to be built to track grant money that was being awarded to other organizations.
This was a whole new ballgame. Everything I thought I knew about GMS systems went out the window. I began digging for information about GMS systems created to track outgoing grant money and realized there was not a lot of documentation available. There aren’t many GMS systems currently in existence that track outgoing grant money. That’s when I realized exactly how cutting edge this project would be. We were not playing a regular season ballgame. We were thrown straight into the playoffs.
The Grants Management System our team created is truly unique. After the State researched several systems for this project, they landed on Salesforce. We were able to leverage the power that the platform provides. It had to handle all the various grant scenarios available, including modification forms, employee access via the User Interface, calendar-sensitive application portals, invoice systems, strict reporting, among other specifications.
Most importantly, all grants require payments. Nobody wants to fill out all the documentation listed above without receiving the reward of the actual grant. However, grant money is much trickier to track than one may realize. Our GMS system had to track money that was allotted for the various grant types. It had to keep track of Federal money vs. State money and generate different reporting for each type. It not only needed to track the amount of money awarded, requested and paid on every grant, but it also had to keep track of various categories of money awarded for each grant type. For example, the GMS had to track how much money was awarded for New Construction vs. Supplies.
Our team was able to hit every curveball that was thrown our way. We completely knocked it out of the park by delivering a robust Grants Management System. It was a win for our client, who now has a new user-friendly GMS that caters to all their needs, and it was a win for our team that was provided with an opportunity to design and create a new piece of software with capabilities that didn’t previously exist. Ahh, the sweet smell of victory!
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