Driven’s Dave Saraiva On How To Prepare For A Successful Implementation

dave saraiva data migration 
 

Implementing new software can be nerve-wracking. It’s a long process that requires a lot of time, communication and trust with your vendor or data-migration consultant to ensure everything is running smoothly and on time. So how can you prepare for your next implementation and what should you look out for when getting started? 

Dave Saraiva is the Head of Product at Driven and has helped hundreds of organizations like yours with their data migration. He joins the podcast to give insider tips on setting your organization up for success during your software implementation. 

Dave’s Top 3 Takeaways

 
  1. Set aside the time and resources for thorough data migration. How your database is set up will impact how well it performs for years to come, so making sure everything is set up and running smoothly the first time will help prevent problems in the future. This could mean hiring a concierge service or working with a vendor (like Driven) that will help walk you through the process and how your new system will work in the day-to-day of your organization.
  2. Build and implement a data process within your organization. One problem nonprofits face is not having a unified way of organizing their data, and with each new employee comes a new process. This creates a mosaic of different processes in your system which can lead to a big mess when migrating your data into a new system. One way to prevent this is to create a standard process that is in writing and understood by everyone in your organization. 
  3. Any comprehensive system is not going to be easy to implement, and if a vendor is promising a "quick” or "easy” implementation, be wary. This often means corners are being cut somewhere, as it’s hard to access how much time a project will take without first looking at (or at least discussing) the state of your database. 

Our Favourite Quotes


(01:34) The thing with these systems, the software that many nonprofits use, and this is more true, the more complex the software is and sort of the bigger the use case. The set up often informs how successful the actual use of the software will be for years to come. Meaning if you're setting up something that's sort of going to run a significant portion of the important functions of the nonprofit, and that's not set up correctly on day one, you may save money, you may save a little bit of time at that time, but it's going to cost you for years to come.

(16:09) This is another thing that comes into play with CRMs. Vendors, and sometimes I'm guilty of this as well. We want to show all of the bells and whistles and the exciting things that look at this really neat, powerful thing that my software can do, and that stuff is all great. But you don't want to get away from the fundamentals of like, these are the most important things that my organization does and make sure that is supported. And a good vendor should be asking those questions in the sales mix.

Transcript


Sabrina 
Let's talk about successful implementation planning with Dave Saraiva. Hello, and welcome to Driven's Fundraising Superheroes Podcast. I'm your host, Sabrina Shoshante, and as an innovator in nonprofit technology, our team at Driven is determined to help you to unlock your true fundraising potential. Please give us a visit trustdriven.com if you'd like to learn more. We'd love to talk fundraising with you

When your organization is shopping for new fundraising software. How much time do you dedicate to the implementation process? Software implementation is crucial to setting up your organization for success with your new tool. Because your data has to be handled with care, the state of your database can drastically impact the time and resources needed for implementation. So it's crucial that you're spending that time to ensure that everything will run smoothly.

I'm so excited to have our CEO and head of product, Dave Saraiva, on the show. He is a true professional and is helping nonprofit game back hours of time through inefficient software and data. Not only is he a tech with, but Dave has worked closely with nonprofits to help them find fundraising success, especially with their implementations. So thank you so much, Dave, for joining the show today.

Dave 
Thanks for having me. Always a pleasure to be here.

Sabrina 
So can you start off by explaining why nonprofit implementation is so crucial to the overall set up and success of new software?

Dave 
Absolutely. So, I mean, the thing with these systems, the software that many nonprofits use, and this is more true, the more complex the software is and sort of the bigger the use case. The set up often informs how successful the actual use of the software will be for years to come. Meaning if you're setting up something that's sort of going to run a significant portion of the important functions of the nonprofit, and that's not set up correctly on day one, you may save money, you may save a little bit of time at that time, but it's going to cost you for years to come. Essentially often the life of that software product because it can be very difficult to go back and fix things that sort of decisions that were made at the start. And the longer you sort of use it in one way, the harder it can be to change what's been done in the past.

Sabrina 
Yeah, when you're starting with something new, you definitely have to be really careful of how you're implementing that information. What should organizations be expecting during this process? Is there kind of like a standard that is like across the industry?

Dave 
There's a couple of ways that it's done. So here at Driven, we have sort of like a very weight glove, concierge level of service where there's a dedicated project manager who is an expert in the software, who will sort of guide you through the implementation and sort of talk about- marry their knowledge of our system with your knowledge of your organization and sort of bringing those two together to make sure that your organization is set up for success. From day one, eliminating risk is very big for us, and that's one of the ways that we do it. Some other popular models are sort of like a do it yourself. So you'll sort of purchase the software from a vendor, and then someone from your organization will go in and fill out all of the different configuration options and make all of the choices, sort of in a bubble and launch the software. And then sort of the third common model is sort of via, like a vendor or an agency. This typically comes into play with sort of like more complicated, more sort of powerful solutions like Razor's Edge or engaging networks or Salesforce. And there you'll not only buy the software, but you'll also engage the services of a third party sort of implementation specialist in that software.

And they'll sort of ideally fulfill that sort of concierge role where they walk you through the implementation and sort of provide that expertise to you.

Sabrina
Yeah. You talked about risks, and then definitely I think that's the biggest fear that anyone has when they're switching tools. Can you go over some of the most common challenges, issues, complaints that organizations face when they're experiencing, like a data migration?

Dave 
Yeah. I mean, changing significant systems is always scary. It doesn't matter what product you're going to who's involved. It's always a scary proposition to sort of significantly change how things are done, but sometimes it's necessary. Right. So the things that you need to look at are basically making sure that the project has enough resources to be successful. And that's not just sort of money. Right. Time needs to be invested on your side of the table as the organization implemented the software to make sure that what you need is being communicated clearly.  And you also need to make sure that there's enough on the vendor side to provide the support that you need. That may look like having very robust documentation to sort of allow you to support yourself in a self implementation. And it may mean an agency partner or a company like us that does concierge implementations there to sort of walk you through the parts of the system that are going to be new to you that are going to be different from what you do today and sort of can explain those differences so that the decisions that are made will serve you in the long run, as opposed to just sort of getting you through the implementation.

When it comes to risk, sort of one of the biggest things that can happen is just sort of never actually launching, which is something that's not terribly uncommon. Right. There are projects that begin and just fail for whatever reason. And it's typically lots of reasons that can play into that. But that's one of the biggest risks when you're making a significant software change. So it's important that whoever is involved, whether it's all internal or a mixture of internal and external resources that are participating, that sort of there's experience and understanding and sort of how to mitigate that risk as best as possible and sort of set your organization up for success. From day one, when we launch that new software.

Sabrina 
It sounds like communication between the organization and the vendor is almost critical. You have to streamline that somehow.

Dave 
Communication is absolutely critical. Ensuring that sort of the resources you have on your side are willing to take accountability for the responsibilities that will fall on your lap as the organization also hold the vendor that you chose accountable for the promises and the deliverables that they're making. There's a lot that comes into play there for sure.

Sabrina
I know when we were discussing implementations, like within our company, one of the things that we do that really sets us apart is that we actually look at the quality of the data before we give quotes, before we can make promises. What are some things that organizations can do to kind of help them in that assessment stage? How can they make it as easy for their vendors as possible?

Dave 
Yeah. I mean, it's not an easy answer, right? That's not true. It is an easy answer. It's just not an especially exciting one. Because the problem is where you go wrong is sort of years of bad data process. Bad data practices where someone joined the organization and they did things one way, and then they left onto another thing and someone else joined and they did things in a slightly different way, and then a third person came and they did things in a slightly different way. And so now everything is kind of all over the place. You can unify that down into sort of one common way of doing things. The problem is when you're sort of looking at, say, 5-10 years of sort of no specific process in place for managing your data and keeping it consistent is not an easy fix. It can take significant amounts of time, and sometimes there is capacity for that organizationally, and that's great because you can do that work and save the cost of sort of paying someone else to do that. But sometimes there isn't the resources from a time perspective to do that, and there isn't really a choice but to get someone to help with it.

Sabrina 
So we kind of touched on how different organizations handle all the implementation, whether they're hands on or hands off. But from your experience, how involved should organizations chosen vendor be? And do you have any tips on how organizations can advocate themselves with their vendors?

Dave 
Yeah, I'd say from our perspective, the ideal situation is to have a vendor that sort of is going to take that responsibility and take full ownership of every aspect of the project. There's inherent value for the organization when that happens, right. That's why we've gone this path. That's why we offer that. That's the solution with our products. I think there's certainly great business reasons to sort of do it the other way. When you're doing these self implementation or agency supported implementation, depending on where the complexity of your solution is on the spectrum. Right. That's great for you as a vendor. Because you sell the software and then sort of your part is essentially you've met your obligations because you've provided the software. And if there's problems and if there's problems with your implementation and the client is using a third party vendor to support that implementation, it's their fault. Right. So I think there's, like I said, great business reasons to do that. We didn't found this company just to sort of become very profitable and successful. We wanted to sort of intentionally look at things in a bit different way and sort of look at what makes sense for the user, for the organizations that are going to be buying their product, versus what's the most advantageous business decision here.

And that's sort of a common theme at our discussions in our leadership team. It's not just about how much money we can make, but about sort of looking at what makes the most sense and provides the best outcome for our partners and those that choose to join us on the platform.

Sabrina
So kind of going back a little bit, there's so much information that you gave on kind of navigating through the process. But where does it start when organizations are shopping for their software? It's so common to be sold on this idea of like quick implementation seamless. It'll be easy, but you don't really know until you assess the state of your database. So what terms or promises should organizations look out for when they're shopping around?

Dave 
Well, that's a really big topic and probably not something where you can touch on all of the aspects in a couple of minutes. But there's certainly a lot time back there. And I'd say, honestly, any comprehensive system is not going to be easy and quick to implement. And anyone that sort of says that they will do that, quarters are being cut somewhere. Right. Whether the system isn't as comprehensive as you think or there isn't sort of the same degree of ability to customize it to sort of your branding, organization or other areas, there's just trade offs.  Like these things take time.  So if you're going to do it quicker, there's going to be trade offs, and that's  something to keep in mind when vendors are making promises in the sales prospect or in the sales sort of stage of the decision making process. And that's something that I always advocate for when you're buying anything to remember in that stage when you're deciding to buy but have not yet decided to buy, that is the best customer service you will ever get. Ever in that relationship. Right. Even if it's just a tiny little drip down, it's not going to get better after you've made the decision that they want you to make.

So that I find is like a really sort of high level, easy way to gauge how things are going, because if they're not caring about sort of meeting deliverables and providing what they said they would and so on in the sales process, how can they be expected to do that after you've made the decision? Right. And then sort of on the whole number of different things that you can look at when you're making this type of decision. What type of vendor to buy? We actually have a very great guy that you actually helped create, Sabrina, and that maybe we can link in the show notes and share with people because it's an excellent sort of very editorial outline of like, here's the questions to ask, and here are the things that you should look at. I think it's quite large. There's a lot of content there. So that's probably what I'd recommend people get that guy and go through it because it'll give you some really great ammunition on sort of how to navigate that process successfully and set yourself up for success.

Sabrina
Yeah. It really is helpful for those looking to shop for new software because there is a lot of things that you need to look out for, especially when you're not equipped with the knowledge, a really strong technical background. It's easy to kind of fall into the habits or the beliefs that other vendors give you. Before we go, I would love to hear if there's any key questions you feel organizations should be asking for. I think that contracts are huge when you're signing on to a new product that's like the in writing. So is there any advice you can give there? Yeah.

Dave 
I mean, depending on the size of the vendor, there's generally not a whole lot of flexibility you can expect to get in the contract. But it is important to know what you're signing up for. I know we've talked to potential customers that are sort of wanted to come on our platform, and then when they dug into the contract that they had signed, they realized that they were on a three year term and they had like a year and a half or two years left, and they just couldn't do anything because they're stuck. Right. So definitely make sure you evaluate and go through that and make sure it's something that you know what you're signing.  And I know that may sound like common sense, but sometimes it doesn't happen. You just sort of skip that step and it's an important step to follow. But honestly, the thing that you should be looking for is the vendor that you are considering to be actually taking the lead and asking those questions. And diving into your use case and making sure that they're not glossing over the detail and they're sort of understanding what is important to your organization.

This is another thing that comes into play with CRMs. Vendors, and sometimes I'm guilty of this as well. We want to show all of the bells and whistles and the exciting things that look at this really neat, powerful thing that my software can do, and that stuff is all great. But you don't want to get away from the fundamentals of like, these are the most important things that my organization does and make sure that is supported. And a good vendor should be asking those questions in the sales mix. Not trying to rush you to sign a contract and start implementing on the software, but making sure that there's a good fit there and that it's going to meet your organization's needs because surprises are great for birthdays, but after a contract has been signed as the worst surprise in the world. Oh, we needed this and we didn't talk about it. And now our platform can do that for you or our platform can do that, but it's going to cost 25% more than you've already signed and you didn't budget for that. So now you're in a big, awkward position.

So I tend to see sort of and it's not everybody, but I do tend to see a lot of vendors trying to push them. Like, let's get this signed as quickly as possible. Sometimes when your use case is very straightforward and there's no nuance and no complexity, that's okay. But it is really important to make sure that you're exploring, especially in a large project, as much as you can, because things will get missed. And that can create a problem when you're in the implementation phase. Right. It can add additional cost. It can add time frame additional time on the end of the project. If just a little bit gets through, then it's okay. It's not going to be the end of the world. But if there isn't enough exploration and understanding of what your organization's needs are, they can sort of spell disaster for a project because you could run into major cost overruns, major budget overruns, and you're sort of already on the hook at that point. Right. Because if you've made a significant investment, you signed a contract. And the use case that you have that is critical to the organization hasn't been outlined, hasn't been documented in that contract.

What do you do other than sort of start over or do what you need to do from a cost perspective to get it done. So that's really what you should be one of the top things to look for. Right. Whoever is trying to sell the system should be taking that leadership role and taking you through that and asking those questions and doing that exploration.

Sabrina
Oh, totally. One of the things that really stood out to me when I was talking with Farrah about implementations or director of partnerships is that she was telling a story of how she was in a demo call and she's asking people about their data and they were like, they're like, oh, you're the first person to ask me these questions. Why is someone else asking these questions? Like, these are critical questions? So I totally agree. I think it's important that you're getting into the nitty gritty and you're putting it all out on the table before you sign anything Because you're going to get your real answers.

Dave 
Yeah, and yes, these things slow down the process and make it take a little longer to get from that initial call to the sign. And sometimes that's frustrating for you as the customer, and I assure you it's frustrating for the vendor because we all want to make sales. But at the end of the day, right, the sort of trend in technology to sort of rush to growth as quickly as possible and sign deals as quickly as possible and accelerate, accelerate and accelerate. It comes at a cost. We don't want our customers to be paying that cost. We want to put the effort up front to make sure that we do as much as we can on arrangements for each and every project is successful.

Sabrina 
Well, before we sign off today, is there any final words you'd like to say to those listening on implementations?

Dave 
As I download the guides, I think it's an excellent resource if you're shopping and I think it's important today more now than ever, with all of the market consolidation, we're seeing vendors being rolled up into one super company that sort of owns everything that's happening all over. And when market consolidation happens, the new owners sort of look at sharpening the pencils and finding out how they can make more revenue generally comes at the expense of the customers. So those questions are more important today than they ever been.

Sabrina 
To get in touch with Dave and learn more about successful implementation planning, make sure to visit Trustdriven.com there you can sign up for our newsletter, get the latest tips and tricks for fundraising marketing and more delivered straight to your inbox. I've also included a link to our guide that goes over all the red flags you need to know before shopping for nonprofit software, so you can find that in the description box below. Thank you all so much for listening and we'll see you next time on the fundraising superheroes podcast.

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Podcast May 18, 2022, 12:00 AM

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