Posted tagged ‘cost savings’

Orange Leap Newsletter August 2010

August 16, 2010

We thought you’d want to be kept up to date with some of the latest news and events in the Orange Leap Community.  Here’s what’s hot at Orange Leap as we melt in the heat of the summer of 2010.

Giant Leap Forward in Integration and Automation – MPX Refactoring!

MPX has been undergoing quite an overhaul with two main purposes; the first is to give MPX developers, customers, partners, and other third party developers an easier code base to add on to, integrate with, and develop around.  The second (and perhaps more important to MPX customers who don’t have as many IT resources) is to make it easy for our internal team to release all the cutting edge technology we’ve built for Orange Leap On Demand to MPX as well.  While MPX will always be our On Premise product, this refactoring enables MPX to take advantage of powerful new technologies that didn’t exist when MPX was originally released just several years ago.  Technologies like Business Rules, Active Messaging, and the Online Tools talked about in this newsletter. Read more about the MPX Refactoring here

Easier to Navigate, More Rapid Deployment of Features, and a New Events Module – Orange Leap On Demand Version 11

Orange Leap On Demand hasn’t been sitting still either.  Version 11 is our most ambitious release since Orange Leap On Demand was born.

  • If you thought our user interface was easy to navigate, just wait until you see V11 – we’re simplifying Orange Leap On Demand to put the right things at your fingertips where they make sense and do you the most good.
  • We’ve found the secret to screaming fast deployment of new features and modules – creating custom modules through a collection of custom tables, reporting views, and business rules.  This means we can create new features, screens, and even modules by our product analysts through administration screens instead of just developers through engineering efforts.  What once took “man-months” now takes hours.
  • In fact, our new Events Module was created using this new functionality – in three weeks.  Let us know what you want to see in Orange Leap On Demand next.

Read more about Orange Leap On Demand Version 11 here

The Power of MPX or Orange Leap On Demand Wherever You Go – Introducing the Orange Leap App!

The Orange Leap App is for nonprofit professionals who need the power of MPX or Orange Leap On Demand at their fingertips wherever they go by accessing and acting on real time their constituent data through their iPhone, Blackberry, or Android smart phone. Find out more about our new Orange Leap App here

Make Your Website Smart by Putting the Power of Orange Leap On Demand or MPX Behind It – Introducing Orange Leap Online Tools!

Every organization struggles with the problem of keeping your offline and online data in sync.  Whether you maintain a real time integration between the two or batch upload from one to the other, let’s face it, it’s the biggest problem facing the multi-channel marketing, communication, and fundraising world we now live in. Orange Leap has turned that problem on it’s head by creating a suite of Online Tools that literally “extend” your Orange Leap On Demand or MPX database online.  Tools that are easy to deploy and give your website the ability to serve your constituents better by taking donations, giving donors view and print access to their giving history and the ability to update their contact information, and even letting them register for events online and directly into Orange Leap On Demand or MPX. Read more about Orange Leap Online Tools here.

OrangeCon2010

Orange Leap Invites you to join our team, our customers, our partners, and the rest of the Orange Leap community for two days of Education and Collaboration.

November 3rd and 4th, 2010

OrangeCon2010 is a two day educational event focused on helping users and developers to get the most from Orange Leap On Demand, MPX, and The Guru. By attending OrangeCon2010, you will learn, grow, and inspire your organization to build better relationships with your constituents and raise more money to fuel your mission! Click here to learn more and pre-register Registration: $100/person to attend in person and free for customers to attend online.

Featured Partner: Donor Trends

Imagine if you had access to information that would show you who else your donors are giving to, the size of their contribution, the type of gift and much more.  OrangeLeap has partnered with DonorTrends to bring every customer a complimentary Giving Analysis Profile (GAP) report that will reveal never-before seen fundraising insights.  Click to find more

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OSS Adoption Becoming Ubiquitous

November 20, 2008

Gartner recently came out with a new report on open source software adoption . The wholesale adoption of open source software (OSS) across the enterprise seems to continue unabated. The firm found that 85% of companies are using OSS somewhere in the enterprise and that the remaining 15% plan too within the next 12 months.

Considering the looming recession, it is no surprise that respondents “consistently said that lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and reduction in development of cost-prohibitive factors were major factors for selecting OSS.” 

The simple fact is that open source software, with functionality that meets or exceeds that of older proprietary brethren,  allows you to focus your dollars where they are most needed: customization, marketing/fundraising, and service delivery. It no longer makes sense to invest significant money upfront for software licenses. Invest in what drives results.

Economic Crisis Makes Open Source Clear Choice

October 20, 2008

I have noticed recently that the pundits are aptly noting the growing importance of open source software. With the economic crisis, everyone is looking to cut costs and they will naturally look toward open source.

A great article in Express Computer relates that “Gartner predicts that by 2010 it will account for 20% of the global software market.” Open source is growing and, while the article outlines a number of reasons, I think Santosh Dsouza, Chief Technologist, Sun Microsystems, sums it up best, “There are a number of features in a product that only a few customers demand. It is not feasible for software vendors to spend time working on such features. In case of open source, the community contribution helps bridge this gap. This not only gives a customer more insight into the product but also helps in increasing the product quality as quality issues can be more proactively addressed and comprehensive testing can be done.” As software vendors have to tighten their belts (especially those that are publicly traded or trying to go public), you can bet they will have to cut back on staff and will not be able to maintain product velocity.

This is exactly why our ethos at Orange Leap is community first. Let’s leverage technology and expertise across nonprofits so you don’t have to rely on us for everything. That way we can focus on the core product (product governance) rather than a bunch of customizations that distract us, which is what takes up significant amounts of most software vendors’ time.

In CIO, JT Smith recently did an excellent analysis of why open source will expand even more rapidly due to the economic crisis. Basically, there is an open source solution that is as good or better than proprietary solutions for almost everything you do.  As Smith ends the piece, “Open source applications don’t have one thing that their closed-source brethren have: licensing fees. Certainly you’ll still have support, deployment, and possibly hosting costs; but you have those costs with closed source software as well. The difference is that you’ll save the money you would have put toward licensing fees and now you have that to put toward implementation and support costs.”

I truly think moving toward open source makes great sense for so many organizations right now because of cost and flexibility. Some have asked me if it makes sense for smaller organizations without much or any IT staff. I say absolutely. Open source can be hosted and on-demand so you have no infrastructure issues (albeit some additional cost, but much less than hiring IT professionals). And even if an organization never reads or writes a line of code, they benefit. They benefit from the community fixing bugs and adding features, and they benefit from a better quality product since we remain focused on the core product. They can even become integral participants in the community through user tips, answering questions and getting top quality fundraising advice. 

But more on the community aspects soon. We are about to make some exciting announcements regarding the future of the Orange Leap Community.

Do not let a “sunk” cost sink your organization

August 1, 2008

Large up-front license fees for software are a serious issue, and one we need to eradicate. However, one of the biggest things holding organizations back today is not the issue of paying those fees again now or in the future, but the issue of not letting go of the fees they paid in the past…even if it is the recent past.

I have often heard the comment, “Well, we spent a lot of money on that system and, even though it is not meeting our needs and holding us back, we need to wait until we have gotten our money’s worth to make a change.” While the “get your money’s worth” mindset seems to make sense, it is actually a logical and economic fallacy. “Sunk Cost” is one of the most important, but most overlooked, financial principals for nonprofits. It is important for organizations to take a holistic view around all decisions that takes into account all costs and potential revenue, so that they are focusing on total net revenue to achieve their mission. Let me elucidate with a simple example.

Say X organization has invested $50,000 dollars in a piece of proprietary software. That $50,000 includes license fees, deployment costs, staff training and time, etc. However, Soon after launch they discover the software is not meeting their needs. Staff time is twice what was expected and, as a result, their fundraising staff are only able to execute half as many campaigns as expected. In addition, restrictions in the data collection, tracking and segmentation means that certain targeted appeal strategies cannot be executed. But the organization feels like they invested so much in the software, they just have to “live with it” for a while and “make do”.

This sense of being held hostage is not only debilitating, it is a false sense of imprisonment. There are plenty of options for the organization. For example, the organization finds a piece of open source software they test out (for free) and find could solve th majority of their problems. 12 months after buying the current software, they invest $10,000 in data migration, implementation, some customization and staff training and time. Since the software is open source, they were able to tailor an number of modules to their specific business processes and adapt a community built adresss verification integration that significantly reduces duplicates and bad addresses in the system.

Once this new software is live, they find that they have cut staff time in half around standard operations with the software. Let’s say those two staff are paid $40,000 per year each and were each spending 25% of their time with the previous software. That is a staff cost savings of $20,000, netting $10,000 in efficiencies right there.

In addition, the new software capabilities around fundraising and the efficiencies gained have granted the staff time and ability to execute their more sophisticated fundraising strategies, which have yielded an additional $50,000 in the first 6 months!

Therefore, the move away from the previous system, even though it had only recently been acquired, yields an additional $40,000 in total net income to further the organization’s mission. This is why being anchored to a system that is not working, in the false belief that you have to get value out of a sunk cost, only serves to drag down your ability to help those you serve. And, in uncertain economic times, the ability to reduce costs while generating more dollars is needed now more than ever.