As discussed previously on FTI, the grants management process is a delicate, complex system that needs to be approached in a very specific way. Because the spectrum of organizations seeking grants is so broad, it’s important for federal agencies to be able to take a streamlined approach to grants management and put those necessary efforts into action as quickly as possible.
Federal agencies are applying several technological approaches to improve their processes and improvements to their grants management process is no exception. To further explore the technologies that untangle the glaring challenges of the grants ecosystem for government entities, FTI sat down on our podcast program with Jason Adolf, Federal Practice Lead at Appian.
In our discussion, Adolf explained that one of the top challenges federal agencies are dealing with as they trudge through the existing grants management process is the fact that most of the systems and procedures are still handled manually. These manual processes present hurdles in reporting as well as scalability.
“They’re doing it all by hand. They’re doing it in spreadsheets and documents and it’s not efficient. And what you end up with in those instances is organizations that are spending a disproportionate amount of money just administering the grants and the process,” stated Adolf.
From this stems a different obstacle: demographics differences in expectations both within a given agency and those applying for grants. Younger individuals are more accustomed to an electronic filing process and a handwritten application for a grant seems foreign and outdated, potentially deterring them from applying.
Looking beyond demographics, electronic-driven processes may be more realistic for grants applications depending on the current environment of the grantee. Finding a printer may not be feasible for someone on the ground of a natural disaster, but an internet connection might be. Adolf explained, “The agencies need to be responsive to the ways that the grantees have available to them at that time.”
These are just some of the challenges facing both granters and grantees; because the process remains so cumbersome and time-consuming, it means less available funding or delayed funding for causes that really could be making a difference. Federal agencies recognize this and don’t want to discourage grantees from seeking important funding because of an outdated system.
Adolf points out that this dire need for system improvement, while still being sensitive to tight budgets, is encouraging federal agencies to look to and build upon IT updates that fit into their existing systems and applications. The concept that meets those needs is known as Application Platform-as-a-Service (aPaaS) and is helping government agencies update these outdated processes like grants management both quickly and
Listen to the full podcast to learn more about the grants management process and how aPaaS is alleviating some of the challenges for federal agencies by modernizing their IT infrastructures.