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GCN : October and November 2016
“We like the fact that it’s a web- based system,” Wooton said. “Anyone in the department can just log in and look at the documents they need ver- sus having to call somebody for a file. [That makes it] a lot more convenient for anyone who may have a question surrounding a grant that we have or that we’ve given.” AmpliFund Public Sector software — which also comes in pre- award, full-cycle, federal and specialized modules — is ex- pected to save time for Wooton and other grants administrators. She won’t know how much time until they’ve used the software for a grant award cycle or two. “In some of the programs, es- pecially ones that have a lot of requirements and documents,... I think it will save us a lot of time and effort in looking for papers or maintaining papers or files,” she said. “And then anyone can access documents. They’re not locked in somebody’s office who’s on vacation.” She’s in the process of adapt- ing the grant application for the awards the county makes from its general funds and communi- ty development block grants. Wooton plans to release all applications this year and next year get to the point where actual data from the account- ing system can be rolled into Ampli- Fund and linked to awards. The county did not have to add any infrastructure to use AmpliFund; it’s as simple as going online and log- ging in, Wooton said. Plus, employees can access the cloud-based system remotely, and the interface is similar to the county’s other web-based sys- tems, making acceptance of the new approach easier. “It’s nothing foreign that folks are going to have a hard time understand- ing,” she said. StreamLink CEO Adam Roth said ease of use is an important feature of AmpliFund. “We’re never going to be a server- based solution, so there’s going to be very little infrastructure that [agen- cies] need,” he said. AmpliFund was built using an open application programming interface, so it seamlessly connects to existing en- terprise resource planning databases and financial and human resources systems. It also offers detailed insight into how money is flowing in and out of the organization for more effective management. AmpliFund can standardize grant processes, create core systems, pro- vide access to data at all layers of the grant, and collect and manage finan- cial and programmatic data. All those activities give governments greater visibility into their data, ensures compliance with new federal grant requirements and allows agencies to draw funds in their allotted time frames, Roth said. Kaua’i County’s push for less pa- per is a common impetus in grant management. Another is the public’s demand for transparency into how government funds are spent. External sources — especially the federal government in the form of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Grant Guidance and the Trea- sury Department’s Do Not Pay initiative — are also forcing state and local governments to be more open and report infor- mation on grants in machine- readable formats. Grant managers are also fac- ing greater pressure to track post-award performance. “It’s no longer just acceptable to say, ‘Hey, we did X.’ Now it’s ‘How did you ensure that subrecipi- entsA,B,CandDwereableto accomplish what they said they were going to do?’” Roth said. A final motivator is old-fash- ioned return on investment. “We see anywhere from a 15 [percent] to 40 percent uptick in unspent revenue in the first year of implementation with a soft- ware system,” Roth said. Governments are taking notice. He said his company is experiencing a 700 percent to 800 percent increase in the number of states asking for infor- mation and proposals for grant man- agement upgrades. After all, big numbers are involved: The federal government manages about $600 billion in grants annually, and state and local governments de- pend on those grants for 20 percent to 30 percent of their spending. “When there’s pressure that gets created relative to how those dollars are being managed, these are real is- sues for state and local governments to figure out,” Roth said. • “It’s no longer just acceptable to say, ‘Hey, we did X.’ Now it’s ‘How did you ensure that subrecipients A, B, CandDwereableto accomplish what they said they were going to do?’” – ADAM ROTH, STREAMLINK CHRISTOPHERP.BECKER/WIKIMEDIA.ORG GCN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016 • GCN.COM 61 1116gcn_060-061.indd 61 10/5/16 10:01 AM
August and September 2016
January and February 2017