The Hidden Costs of Custom-Built Grant Software

Hidden-Costs.pngFinding a grant management solution that addresses all of your organization’s needs is essential to ensure:

  • Compliance with external and internal processes.
  • Elimination of duplicative efforts.
  • Project timeliness.
  • Reporting accuracy.
  • Successful product adoption.

But, which type of solution is the best fit for you?

With their ability to be heavily tailored to individual organizations, a customized version of a customer relationship management (CRM), business process management (BPM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution may initially appear the way to go.

These solutions, however, often have hidden costs. Let’s take a look.

Higher Setup Costs

Custom-built grant functionality is built on an organization-by-organization basis. This means that the vendor will charge you to build each individual feature (reports, workflows, forms, applications).

In addition, some vendors limit the scope of the features covered under the price quote. For instance, you may be limited to a certain number of reports or users, which results in significant additional costs over time.

A purpose-built solution has core grant management tools baked into its offering for a much more affordable upfront cost. It was developed to meet grant management financial and programmatic requirements and can easily be configured to meet individual organizational needs, without the need for customization.

Longer Implementation Timeline

Because grant functionality is built specifically for each individual client, the solution will take longer to setup and launch. Customized solutions can take one to two years to roll out, whereas purpose-built software can be fully implemented in six months.

The longer it takes to the implement the solution, the longer it will take to see a return on your investment.

Additional Software Maintenance Fees

Purpose-built solutions are actively maintained and updated for security, functionality and compliance as part of the subscription fee. This includes universal product updates made available to all customers as federal regulations and data standardization requirements continue to evolve.

Updates to custom-built solutions are generally costlier as they must be built on a client-by-client basis.

Custom-built solutions can also open up your organization to unnecessary risk. If updates aren’t made as regulations or security needs change, your organization could face noncompliance, negative audit findings, data loss, decreased drawdown and other costly consequences. 

Limited Support Options

While CRM, BPM and ERP vendors will be familiar with installation for generalized use cases, they will not have the industry expertise of a purpose-built provider. Therefore, internal resources and support channels will be required to properly implement and manage the solution.

The use of internal resources comes at a cost of time, salary and missed opportunities to work on other projects.

The More Affordable Option

Most organizations find that purpose-built standalone grant management solutions are more affordable than custom solutions for the reasons noted above.

As stated in a recent Data Foundation report:

Purpose-built solutions offer much more robust capacities to ensure their clients can maintain compliance now and in the future, and at a much lower cost. They combine faster implementation and lower overall cost of ownership with the structural flexibility to easily adopt and adapt standardized data.”

What benefits does your organization receive from a purpose-built solution? Share in the comments below.

For more on the benefits of a purpose-built grant solution, download the full Data Foundation report.

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