Posted tagged ‘new model’

Forget the RFP and Long Sales Cycles: The New Model of Software Acquisition

March 3, 2009

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has chosen Orange Leap as the platform to manage constituent relationships across the entire organization. For the details, you can read the official press release. Naturally, we are thrilled to partner with them. But, the most exciting aspect of this decision is how the selection process occurred.

Historically, organizations like MADD would have hired a consultant to develop an RFP and choose a number of vendors to participate in the RFP process. There would have been a couple of rounds in that process eventually ending with a winning vendor and contract negotiations. That process typically takes ~9 months from start to finish with an additional 6-9 months to deploy, test and go-live with the new system. That is a total of 15-18 months to select and deploy a new system.

MADD has accomplished all of this in less than 6 months and without the costs and headaches associated with hiring a consultant and developing a robust RFP. This has to do with the inherent efficiency and lack of risk in the open source model. Because Orange Leap is open source, MADD was able to download the software, install and test it within their unique business environment and then sign a support contract in less than 3 months. No lengthy and costly RFP process and complete risk mitigation because they knew the platform would meet their needs. They were not relying on vendor promises, referrals and demos. They knew exactly what they were getting and what to expect because they had already been using the platform or months.

In addition, our delivery model, which includes no up front costs for training, data migration or installation,  has shortened the deployment process to less than 3 months. This is significant when dealing with an organization as sophisticated as MADD, but it is a result of employing an open methodology that allows automation of core processes.

So, along with being thrilled MADD has joined the Orange Leap Community, I am even more excited that we were able to save them significant money, time and headaches before they even went live on the platform. That is the new model. As I said in an earlier post, throw away your RFPs and try before you buy! It is an easier, cheaper and more transparent process for everyone.


Fundraisers Embracing the Open Model

February 5, 2009

This time last week I was at the DMA Nonprofit Federation conference in Washington, DC. Along with all the usual sessions looking at fundraising innovations, new media channels and last year’s success stories, cost-cutting and efficiency seemed to be the buzz words of the day. This is no surprise given the times, but what got me excited is that most people were not simply talking about classic cutbacks. Rather, much of the conversation was around new models of operating and how technology is allowing organizations to do more with less.

Naturally, interest in Open Source technologies was high. I actually led a session on “Demystifying Open Source CRM” along with David Michael Jeremiah of Turning Point and Brian Bitler of America’s KESWICK (You can download the presentation here).

One of the things I stressed in the presentation was that open source software is not inherently better than proprietary software. Rather, open source software is simply a model for developing and delivering software. But the open source model is proving to be an inherently more effective way to build and distribute software.

The analogy I made was with You Tube and Wikipedia. Both are a new and open way for creation and delivery of video and topical information. Both forgo the old ‘top-down’ model and instead leverage the creativity, knowledge and contributions of millions of ‘amateurs’. And, crucially, both are reliable, trusted and used primarily by people who may never edit or contribute something themselves. In those aspects, they are analogous to how open source software works. David and Brian then walked our session through what that has meant for their organizations in concrete terms. The new model is not only exciting, it is proven.

In all the engaging conversations I had with folks at the conference, I realized people are really beginning to understand this model, not only because open source saves them 40-70% in total cost of ownership, but also because they are getting better–often much better–software. In difficult times, we are forced to adopt new models and innovative approaches. The net result can be a better, more effective way of operating.