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Extending Grants Manager Plus

Grants Manager Plus provides grantors with an all-in-one, integrated solution that simplifies the grants process from initial solicitation through review, scoring, award, payment processing and post award. InfoStrat designed the solution to allow it to be extended and customized to meet the needs of specific grant programs.

Grant programs may be quite different from one another, and adopting grant management software for your grantor agencies requires flexibility and rapid development of solutions to meet program demands.  For instance, Grants Manager Plus is being used by local government for small grants of less than $1,000 to individuals for public safety initiatives and also large state grants for disaster recovery managed through sub-recipients. Some grant programs call for detailed invoicing on a monthly basis, with payments tied to achievement of milestones and performance metrics.

Grants Manager Plus may be viewed as a layered solution, as shown in this figure:

Grants Manager Plus is based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement.  This means that it come with hundreds of features from Microsoft, and is being updated continuously with new features and apps.  For instance, Dynamics 365 provides mobile clients for Android and iPhone, and Grants Manager customers can take advantage of all the innovation that Microsoft offers in Dynamics.  Grants Manager Plus uses the security model provided by Dynamics, including single sign-on and integration with Office 365, SharePoint, and Azure.

The second layer of the solution is Grants Manager Plus.  These features include entities to track data relating to grant applications, contracts, programs, metrics, budgets and much more, along with workflows, reports and dashboards based on grant management patterns and standards.  Our goal was to include the most common functions used by all grantors, including features where the grantor is a grantee, such as a state receiving a federal grant which in turn is granted to local government or non-profit sub-recipients.

The outer layer of client-specific customizations represents the final stage of tailoring Grants Manager Plus to meet a grantor's specific needs, such as data elements which are program specific, and reports formatted to a client's desires. Because one size does not fit all in grant management, these configurations allow an agency to improve the user experience of grantees, and make their business processes more efficient.  You can even change the way that Grants Manager Plus behaves fundamentally if that is appropriate for your agency.  For instance, we included a feature to allow a grant manager to return a proposal to an applicant for corrections, changing the status from read-only (when the applicant submitted) to editable.  You can turn this feature off if it is not part of your business process.

Beyond this outer layer are integrations.  The most common products integrated are document management and financial integration.  Microsoft provides integration with SharePoint in Dynamics 365, as well as integration of the portal with Azure Blob Storage as options for storing file attachments submitted along with grant applications.  Financial integration allows you to pass payment requests to your financial management system after they are approved in your payments workflow.

By understanding how to extend Grants Manager Plus, you can make your implementation faster and more effective.

For more information on grant management and Microsoft Grants Manager Plus, see my posts:

5 Ways to Ensure Compliance with Your Grant Management System
6 Things to Look for in Grant Management Software
Estimating the Cost of a Microsoft Grants Manager Plus Implementation
Extending Grants Manager Plus
Flexible Grant Management Software: Long Term Considerations
Grant Management for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
Grant Management Portal: What to Include
Grant Management with FedRAMP Certification: Microsoft Dynamics 365
Grants Manager Plus: Theme and Variations
InfoStrat Grants Manager Plus Review on FinanceOnline
InfoStrat Releases New Version of Grants Manager Plus
InfoStrat Releases New Videos on Grants Manager Plus
Microsoft Grants Manager Plus
Microsoft Grants Manager Plus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Online Resources for Microsoft Grants Manager Plus
Portal Options for Microsoft Grants Manager
Statewide Grant Management Systems
The DATA Act Driving Grant Management Automation
The Story of InfoStrat and Grant Management
Usage Scenarios for Microsoft Grants Manager
User Stories for Grants Manager Plus
Understanding Budget, Payments and Milestones in Grants Manager Plus
Understanding Grant Management Data: CDBG-DR Programs
Understanding Programs in Grants Manager Plus

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