3 Questions to Answer Before Apricot Software Implementation
Most users find Social Solutions Apricot™ software easy-to-use. Users can navigate easily through Apricot’s data entry screens and administrators can easily create new data entry forms and fields. While there are a variety of factors that make Apricot a great nonprofit database software system, ease of use and an intuitive layout are always at the top of the list. But don’t let Apricot’s easy-to-use features and intuitive layout fool you. Apricot software is a capable and sophisticated database system.
The Apricot Software Implementation Trap
Apricot software is a platform that needs to be customized, so the Apricot software implementation process builds the forms, fields, links, reports, and permissions that create the structure of your Apricot database.
It can be easy to “dive into” Apricot implementation without upfront planning because Apricot is perceived as easy to use and easy to set up, but don’t rush into Apricot implementation. Instead, take your time upfront. Plan the design and structure of your Apricot database at the beginning of implementation by answering three important questions.
Answer three Apricot software implementation questions
Apricot software implementation translates your data entry and reporting requirements into the architecture of Apricot software. To assist the translation process and to create the best Apricot database possible, answer these three questions before you ever start building forms, fields, reports, links, permissions, or any other feature in the software.
Question #1 – What reports do we need to run in Apricot software?
Your organization’s goals may include:
- The number of people you want to serve;
- The number of program participants you want to take from intake to a particular outcome;
- The amount of money you want to raise per year; or
- The number of volunteer hours you want to accrue per month.
Your goals are an expected level of performance.
Apricot can help you measure performance toward your goals with reports.
Apricot software reports aggregate data and transform it into actionable information with charts, calculations, formatting, and filters. Ultimately, Apricot reports can make your organization smarter, more efficient, and more effective.
The format of your reports determines the type of data, the style of data, and the formatting of data in your Apricot database. Define the reports you need from Apricot software at the start of implementation, and then build Apricot forms, fields, and links based on the requirements of your reports.
Defining your report requirements upfront will guarantee that your Apricot database captures the data you need to measure performance toward your goals.
Question #2 – What data is required for our Apricot software reports list?
You can track anything in Apricot software, but that doesn’t mean you should track everything in Apricot software.
Data is valuable when you use it to take action. Data is actionable when it is formatted in reports. So after you define the reports you need with the first question, list the data that is required to generate those reports.
Data that is needed for required reports is relevant and valuable to your organization. Data that isn’t needed for reports is of less value and may not need to be captured in your Apricot database.
Determine the importance of the data you build on each Apricot form by associating it with a report that you need to run in Apricot software. Complete this process during implementation and before you start building forms. Doing so will lead to a cleaner, healthier, and easier-to-use Apricot database.
Question #3 – What processes do we need to sustain Apricot software?
Processes are the link between people and technology.
Define processes for your organization’s Apricot software system by answering these questions:
- How will users enter data and with what data standards?
- How will we manage data quality?
- How should we monitor user engagement?
- How often should we run reports for specific data sets?
- How often should we evaluate potential improvements to our system?
- How often should users attend training to keep their skills up to date?
- How will we keep the system healthy and sustainable?
Processes should be addressed during implementation because they begin at the go-live launch of your Apricot database.
Creating harmony between your people and Apricot is how you can “get the most” from Apricot software. Launching your Apricot software system with processes provides users and administrators guidelines and expectations for interacting with the database.
Processes give your organization the best chance to sustain Apricot and maximize your return on investment in the software over the long term.
Be Intentional during Apricot Software Implementation
Implementation, in some form, is required to start using Apricot software. Since implementation is the first step on your journey with Apricot, get off on the right foot with an intentional process.
Take a measured approach, thinking through how you want your database to look and function. Implementation is a great opportunity to ask targeted questions and systematically integrate new software with your organization. Avoid the Apricot implementation trap by embracing an intentional implementation process.