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Look to the cloud for clear skies with grants management

July 17, 2018 / By

Managing government grants is often cumbersome, complex and confusing. Grant funders, intermediaries, grantees and sub-recipients are already squeezed by scarce resources, and new regulations add new compliance challenges. Many do not have the money, personnel or time to handle convoluted administrative work, intricate IT infrastructure and security and compliance issues – all while effectively strengthening communities. Most organizations administrating grants are using systems that have been in place for decades: spreadsheets, word processing documents and massive stacks of paper. The good news: cloud-based management is on the horizon, and it is transforming how grant professionals work.

The problems with on-premises grant management

Time-consuming, tedious paperwork tied to legacy systems slows down the work of grant professionals. Many grant organizations operate across on-premises computers and old-fashioned paperwork, resulting in informational silos that hinder effective insight and increase the difficulty of gathering data for reporting. The lack of a comprehensive, efficient system to track and manage grant activity creates a tremendous burden for grant professionals, with 75 percent of US grant recipients noting that the complexity and time required for applying and reporting on contracts or grants was a problem1. New and changing regulations, regardless of how well-intentioned, add to the many challenges of managing grant programs without a cohesive, flexible and centralized system.

Handling data on-premises adds cost, complexity and compliance challenges. Significant on-premises IT infrastructure demands a large internal budget and entails extensive ongoing expenses that many grant organizations simply cannot afford. Meanwhile, grant professionals face decentralized data scattered across on-premises computers. With critical information spread between employee’s hard drives and inboxes, there is a high risk of data loss from technical issues or simple employee turnover. Due to the stringent reporting requirements placed on grant organizations, data loss can cause serious compliance issues and delays in grant project approvals and funding. Finally, on-premises infrastructure is frequently unsecure – with confidential data spread across employees’ computers and the costs of effective security measures often out of reach for grant organizations. Legacy systems and aging infrastructure force grant professionals to focus more on IT problems and administrative tasks to gather reporting data, and less on their mission-critical activities. Luckily, the forecast calls for the cloud.

The future of grants management is in the cloud

The cloud offers universal accessibility, flexibility and near limitless scale over on-premises technology, with dramatic total-cost-of-ownership savings. With a cloud solution, grant recipients and intermediaries are empowered to seamlessly update their progress and report to their funders anytime, anywhere, on any device. Moreover, centralizing grant and contract processes in the cloud enhances efficiency, and enables funders, recipients, sub-recipients and intermediaries to have access to the same reporting data. Going a step further, organizations can easily make their grant program data available to external constituencies, maximizing transparency as they see fit. Finally, migrating systems and processes to the cloud enables grant organizations to drastically reduce or even eliminate their infrastructure investments and the overhead on IT personnel.

New regulations and security threats continue to alter the grant management landscape. The cloud offers organizations enhanced security and compliance with the adaptability they need to meet future challenges. Data loss can become a thing of the past, with information stored, centralized and backed up easily in the cloud. The risks of employee turnover are dramatically reduced, with confidential data and information key to compliance no longer stored on PC hard drives. Grant organizations and government agencies are also moving to the cloud to streamline compliance and maximize security. By evolving along with new regulations, cloud providers not only ensure compliance, but also leverage huge security investments and advanced security technology that organizations using on-premises infrastructure simply cannot match.

Easily manage grants in the cloud with GrantVantage® and Microsoft

The GrantVantage Grants Management solution, built on Microsoft Cloud technology, represents a revolution in how grants are managed. The solution empowers organizations to unify the entire spectrum of grants management in the cloud, enabling them to ensure the success and community impact of grant funding across their entire portfolio, essentially enabling grant organizations to do more and achieve more for the people they serve.

With the Microsoft CloudGrants Management offers organizations a trusted infrastructure to help ensure the protection of their sensitive data. The Microsoft Cloud meets more compliance standards – such as the US’s FedRAMP, the EU’s Model Clauses and the UK’s G-Cloud – than any other cloud provider, enabling grant organizations to enjoy the compliance and data confidentiality, integrity and availability they need. Finally, the Microsoft Cloud provides powerful security to protect confidential data – with over 3,500 professionals dedicated to security and more than $1 billion invested in infrastructure annually.

Grants Management enables organizations to streamline grant activity, cut costs and enhance the security of their data. Try the solution on Microsoft AppSource today.

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1http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/24231/412962-Nonprofit-Government-Contracts-and-Grants-Findings-from-the-National-Survey.PDF


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