Monday, December 23, 2013

The Top 10 SmartSimple Blog Posts of 2013!

The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on everything you've managed to accomplish during the previous 12 months. We've decided to take a look back on 2013 to bring you the ten biggest articles and most important announcements we've made on our blog!

10. Top 7 Qualities of an Ideal SmartSimple Candidate
At the start of the year, we put together a list of the seven most desirable traits of a successful SmartSimple candidate. We look for these qualities every time we welcome someone aboard the SmartSimple crew - do you have what it takes?

9. SmartSimple's Best Practices and Lessons Learnt on... the Grant Application Process
Based on years of feedback, SmartSimple has learned several valuable lessons on how to create and maintain a grants management solution that is truly authentic to the needs of our clients.

8. A Convenient Truth: 6 Reasons Why Your Grant Applications Need to Go Paperless
We live in an increasingly paperless world. Have your grant application processes caught up? We list six compelling reasons why you need to make the switch to digital - right now!

7. SmartSimple in New York City 
One of the biggest landmarks for SmartSimple in 2013 was opening our very first American office in the heart of New York City. We dedicated an entire blog series to interviewing those who were instrumental in our big move.

6. VASCO Data Security Named Leader in User Authentication
We were extremely proud to learn that our security partner, VASCO Data Security, was named a leader in User Authentication by the 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant.

5. SmartSimple’s 5 Best Apps for Social Good
One of the biggest trends this year was the merge between social media and philanthropy. We're huge app lovers here at SmartSimple (try to catch one of us without our iPhone or Android device - you can't!), so we've thrown together five of the best mobile apps that help you do good with a few swipes of your screen.

4. Brian Lai Receives First SmartSimple Innovation Award 
2013 was a year of many firsts for SmartSimple. One of the most notable was the creation of the SmartSimple Innovation Award - a way of recognizing employees who discover new and innovative ways of using the platform to benefit our clients. 

3. Introducing SmartSimple’s New Upgrade Schedule
If we could have an arcade machine in the office, trust us, we'd leap at the chance. We're such old-school videogame nerds that we decided to create our brand new 2014-2016 upgrade schedule with two of the biggest gaming icons in history: Donkey Kong and Mario.

2. Cool Things to Do with Google Maps in SmartSimple
We love Google Maps. We love cool things. Ever since we introduced Google Map functionality into the SmartSimple platform, a blog post like this was inevitable. Check out our tips and tricks on getting the most of maps on your system!

1. 100% of Surveyed Foundations Recommend SmartSimple in New Idealware Report 
SmartSimple couldn't possibly measure its own success without the continued success of our clients. That's why we were so heartened and humbled to learn that 100% of SmartSimple-based founations who were surveyed by Idealware had recommended our grants management software, GMS360°.


Learn more about SmartSimple at our main website, contact us at info@smartsimple.com, or contact us at 1-866-239-0991. Remember to check out our new support schedule hours for this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

SmartSimple's 360 Software Series: Authentic Contact Relationship Management

You might have noticed that all of SmartSimple's software suites are named 360°. Why, you ask? We want to provide you, our clients, with a software solution that provides a full, holistic view of the relationships and processes that matter to your organization.

Contact relationship management (CRM) is an essential component of SmartSimple. Contacts can be internal, external, and adjusted to reflect their most current status (e.g. a new employer). You can create an unlimited number of relationship types as well.

Everything you need to track is done as a result of your contact’s interaction with the system. For instance, once an applicant uploads a financial statement, report, or meeting minutes to your system, you can easily identify those who belong to a given organization, and those who are associated with it.

The image below displays the applicant and organization attached to a sample grant application:

By clicking on the applicant's name, you’ll be directed to their profile where you can view vital information such as contact details and their associated organization.



From here, you can click the organization name to view their profile. The organization profile displays all associated contacts, activities, applications and more:



Google Map integration provides a fantastic geographic view of all your system’s contacts and related organizations.

Say you need to conduct a site visit for a client, and you’d like to view their location beforehand. All you need to do is click the street address in a contact or organization’s profile, and voila!  



You can even select the Street View tab for a more accurate look:


These features unite to provide the essence of our 360° software series: a full, 360° perspective in which you can view all records attached to a contact, and all contacts attached to a record. SmartSimple has curated this method of CRM to provide our clients with the most authentic and efficient way of managing their contacts and organizations.


Want to know more about SmartSimple's 360° software suite? Visit our main website, email us, or contact us at 1-866-239-0991. Be sure to check out the official SmartSimple Wiki for frequent news on system upgrades and features!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

SmartSimple Employee Spotlight - Danielle Burke

Our Employee Spotlight series will highlight a different member of the SmartSimple crew every week. Take some time to get to know the wonderful and diverse team behind the SmartSimple platform!

Danielle Burke is our Corporate Services Associate on the Administration team and has been working for SmartSimple since August 2011. In this week's SmartSimple Employee Spotlight, Danielle tells us about her hobbies and her best productivity tip (not to mention her guilty pleasure)!


Productivity tip:
Manage your time by prioritizing tasks. The easiest way to keep track of your time and tasks is to keep a to-do list. Ranking your tasks based on priority is key. This will also ensure you won't forget tasks or miss deadlines.

What is your favourite part about working for SmartSimple?
The people! Everyone works together so well, and it's a great team to be a part of.

What are your hobbies?
Watching TV, hanging out with my family, and my puppy Jade.

What is your favourite movie?
Devil's Advocate.

Random fact about you that most people wouldn't know:
It's actually kind of embarrassing, but I'm obsessed with reality TV!

Want to know more about SmartSimple and the team behind it? Visit our main website, email us at info@smartsimple.com or contact us at 1-866-239-0991. And check back next week for another installment of our Employee Spotlight series!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Arthur's WikiPeeks - 12/13/13

In this series, Technical Community Support member Arthur Lathrop updates us on new and updated articles of interest in the SmartSimple Wiki! Read on to check out the latest Wiki news.

Adding Styles to XML Worksheets
A new page has been added containing instructions on adding CSS classes to your XML fields, complete with examples.

Referencing Other Sections in XML Calculations
A new page has been added with a walkthrough on how to reference other sections within XML formulas.

XSL Template
A description of the XSL Template section of the XML custom field is now available.

Importing and Exporting Reports
Did you know that you can export your reports and import them into other SmartSimple instances? This article explains how!

Upgrades by Category
The Upgrades by Category page has been brought up to date, current to the October 2013 upgrade. Take a moment to appreciate the evolutionary timeline of SmartSimple's different features.


Questions? Comments? Don't hesitate to contact us at 1-866-239-0991, email us at info@smartsimple.com, or visit our main website.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

SmartSimple Client Story: Consortium of Florida Education Foundations

The SmartSimple Client Story series highlights different clients and sheds light on how they came to choose and trust SmartSimple as their management software adviser.

About CFEF


The Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) is the professional association for Florida education foundations that serve over 2 million students and 295,000 educators throughout 67 county-wide school districts.

The CFEF serves as the conduit for business and philanthropic investment in Florida’s classrooms by creating state and regional partnerships that directly impact student achievement at the local level.

Challenges


CFEF was in a position where they had outgrown their previous grants management system. As the CFEF granting program grew, the system remained stagnant. It was unable to accommodate new processes and meet evolving business needs. The grant application form, for instance, could not be edited or changed to any degree.

“There was little flexibility with our old system,” says Tracy Burger, the Associate Director of Programs at CFEF. “This became problematic because of the costs and time involved in making changes.”

CFEF began their search for a management software solution that was adaptable and scalable – in other words, a system that could easily function under the duress of change. Due to their relatively small staff, they required a solution that was simple to learn and easy to master.

Selecting SmartSimple


While the Request for Proposal stage of software acquisition is daunting for many foundations, CFEF’s choice became clear once they were presented with SmartSimple’s GMS360° grants management system.

“It was a combination of many factors,” Tracy says of choosing GMS360°. “Straightforward presentation, simple pricing structure, the assurance of strong technical support, and the ability to adapt the system to our needs made SmartSimple stand out above the rest.”

Additionally, SmartSimple’s strong presence in the grants market, experience in implementing cloud-based software, and the robust features of its platform made GMS360° the obvious choice for CFEF.

How SmartSimple Helped 


Once SmartSimple entered the picture, CFEF was able to relate the issues they had with their previous system, and SmartSimple responded accordingly.

“The SmartSimple team recognized our needs, created a system to meet those needs, and made it manageable to a non-technical staff such as us.”

CFEF’s old system was antiquated to the point where administrators did most of the processing by hand, with paper applications entered manually into their online database. With GMS360°, that process has been completely streamlined thanks to its online cloud-based infrastructure. Additionally, application forms are now configured specifically for the foundation.

“Having the review process online has been a great time saver,” Tracy expressed. “I can download individual scores if needed, post reviewer comments directly to the application, and tally scores very quickly.”

External users have also been very vocal about the improvements to CFEF’s granting processes. GMS360° has enabled CFEF applicants to easily toggle back and forth between application sections, and save at any point they choose. The foundation’s reviewers have especially enjoyed the ease of viewing applications online and entering scores at the same time – an important feature that simply was not possible with the old system.

Implementation


SmartSimple performed the implementation of CFEF’s GMS360° system in several phases. This was done to ensure that CFEF was able to interact and grow comfortable with GMS360° throughout its deployment process. This method of project delivery also ensured that SmartSimple was able to incorporate CFEF’s valuable feedback in stages throughout the process.

Implementation began with the configuration of application templates and the migration of CFEF’s existing contacts and organizations. After the application review processes were built, post-grant functionality (such as reports) was completed. Quality assurance testing was completed shortly after, followed by the implementation of payment tracking functionality.

CFEF staff was closely involved throughout the deployment process. Tracy and her team were particularly impressed by the malleability of GMS360° during its build. “The system has a myriad of capabilities beyond its grants program. SmartSimple staff was able to recognize our needs, create a system to meet those needs, and make it manageable for us, a non-technical staff.”

“We were incredibly pleased with the attention we received during implementation. Our one-on-one relationship during this stage felt exclusive, which limited any frustration for us.”

After a meaningful and collaborative deployment process, the system officially went live in October 2013 and feedback from both CFEF staff and grantees was immediate and positive.

“We look forward to a long working relationship with SmartSimple,” Tracy says. All parties are very optimistic about the longevity of SmartSimple as CFEF’s grants system adviser, and are excited to see what the future holds for this successful partnership.

About SmartSimple Software


SmartSimple strives to empower organizations with a cloud solution that enhances and simplifies their business processes. By using their platform to better connect with their communities and each other, SmartSimple’s clients enjoy a solid framework for their initiatives and a strong return on investment.

SmartSimple operates on an international level with a diverse staff spread across Toronto, Dublin and New York. The platform is geared toward medium and large organizations of all types. To learn more, visit the main website at www.smartsimple.com.

Download or view a PDF version of the CFEF Client Story here

Monday, December 9, 2013

Employee Spotlight - Karim Fahmi

Our Employee Spotlight series will highlight a different member of the SmartSimple crew every week. Take some time to get to know the wonderful and diverse team behind the SmartSimple platform!

Karim Fahmi is a Technical Resource for our Sales team and has been working for SmartSimple since March 2013. We get to know Karim better in this week's Employee Spotlight, which includes his best productivity tip, favourite movie, and his musical background!


Productivity tip:
When uploading data into the system, always test first by taking a sample of that data and ensuring it is loaded properly. Then, load the rest of the data. This will help you avoid unwanted records and save time. If the data is bad, you will only have to remove the sample you uploaded, as opposed to removing everything that was loaded.

What is your favourite part about working for SmartSimple?
The people I work with every day. It's almost like a little community on its own. SmartSimple is made up of people from all over the world with a variety of educational backgrounds and unique skills.

What are your hobbies?
I love to watch TV (Top Gear UK, Criminal Minds, Big Bang Theory, Modern Family) usually with a pack of Skittles or some sort of sour-flavoured candy.

Favourite movie?
The Avengers.


A random fact about you that most people wouldn't know:
I used to be in a jazz band for all four years of high school. I also used to play the trombone.


Want to know more about SmartSimple and the team behind it? Visit our main website, email at info@smartsimple.com or contact us at 1-866-239-0991. And check beck next week for another installment of our Employee Spotlight series!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Giving Thanks for #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a growing global movement that takes places today, the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. After a long weekend of shopping and deals, #GivingTuesday is a new day for giving back to charities and nonprofit organizations. As the tagline says, "Help good go viral."

We at SmartSimple are lucky to be engaged with a number of different organizations, charities and active members of the philanthropic community.

We've decided to share these fantastic resources so you can get involved right from your computer - and to help you make the most informed decisions about your charitable output.


Google Hangout-a-thon

Google is hosting an all-day #GivingTuesday Hangout to encourage users to either donate directly to nonprofits or purchase goods for good. They’re partnering with Mashable to feature over 24 charities and brands for users all over the world to support.

Join the Hangout while you can, it ends at 9 pm EST!

The Unselfie

An interesting sub-movement that’s been gaining traction is the “unselfie”, a charitable response to the trend of taking pictures of oneself and uploading them to our favourite social media sites.

The unselfie trend asks that you write a quick personal pledge on a piece of paper, which could include your favourite causes, charities, or your own #GivingTuesday goals.  Then, simply hold that pledge over your face, snap a pic, and share with the world using the #unselfie hashtag.

Example of an unselfie.
Just check out #unselfie on Twitter for more examples, and get inspired!

Organizations

Here are a handful of our favourite causes, nonprofits, and charities that you can donate to today:

Do you have suggestions for causes to donate to? Leave us a comment or tweet your favourites with the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

For more information on the #GivingTuesday movement and how you can help, please visit their main website.

Find out more about SmartSimple and our grants management system GMS360° by visiting our site or contacting us at info@smartsimple.com

Monday, December 2, 2013

SmartSimple Employee Spotlight - Sarah Harris

Our Employee Spotlight series will highlight a different member of the SmartSimple crew every week. Take some time to get to know the wonderful and diverse team behind the SmartSimple platform!

Sarah Harris is SmartSimple's Operations Manager and has been working for SmartSimple since May 2010, where she began in Administrative and Accounting Support. In this week's Employee Spotlight, we get to know her favourite movie, her diverse hobbies, and a surprising craft project from her past.

Productivity tip:
Work back schedules are the best way to prioritize your work and ensure you understand what's on your plate at any given time. If you're overwhelmed by having too many things to do at once, this is a great exercise. It also works well for team projects.

What is your favourite part about working for SmartSimple? 
I really enjoy working with a diverse group of people. SmartSimple employs great team players.

What are your hobbies?
I am a former dancer, and an avid yoga and Pilates practitioner.

What is your favourite movie?
A Single Man. Tom Ford's treatment of Christopher Isherwood's novel was perfection.

Random fact about you that most people wouldn't know:
In grade four, I made an entire miniature medieval castle out of food for a project. It involved lots of cheerios, pretzels, and hot glue. (Could this be the next way we create our SmartSimple UTA diorama?)

Want to know more about SmartSimple and the team behind it? Visit our main website, email at info@smartsimple.com or contact us at 1-866-239-0991. And check beck next week for another installment of our Employee Spotlight series!