It's hard to believe that a year has passed since we created the Stimulus360 solution for Microsoft. When the American Recovery and Revitalization Act (ARRA) passed last year, few could forecast the impact on state and local government. The program was unprecedented in scope and pace, and required state, county, city and federal governments to quickly design and implement systems to track the funding and make information on grants available to citizens.
As it turns out, probably no solution was more widely adopted for ARRA tracking than Microsoft Stimulus360. In its first year, Microsoft Stimulus360 was adopted by over twenty governments across the country, including six states (AZ, CA, IL, MO, MS, WI), cities including DC, San Francisco, and Seattle, and large counties such as Harris County (TX), Los Angeles County (CA), and Cook County (IL). All together, governments using Stimulus360 account for over 100 million of the U.S. population and 2,000 grants worth billions of dollars.
What were the lessons learned?
1. The time has come for hosted solutions in government. We learned a great deal about hosting Dynamics CRM in the past year. Offering a hosted solution saved us and our clients several times. Without the hosting option, it would have been difficult to serve smaller customers, and hosting made it much faster and easier to make changes to Stimulus360.
2. The federal government can move quickly when motivated. The pace of ARRA funding really was impressive, and many of the rules and policies had to be worked out on the fly.
3. Flexibility is paramount, even for complex line of business systems. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform in particular helped us respond as reporting requirements were changed by federal agencies.
4. Partnering helps projects in many ways. We were fortunate to find teaming partners across the country to extend our geographic reach and provide complimentary technical skills. Working alone, InfoStrat could not have reached nearly as many customers.
We expect that some of the principles used in ARRA will expand to other government grants, and there is no visible slowing of government transparency efforts.