8 Step Social Solutions Apricot Software Review
Social Solutions Apricot™ software is an incredibly powerful nonprofit database software platform, but it needs to grow, evolve, and change with your organization. Managing your Apricot database is a long-term process that requires consistent reviews and assessments.
As a benchmark, we recommend conducting an Apricot software review and assessment at least once per year.
Conduct a semi-annual or quarterly Apricot review if your organization is innovating, evolving, or making changes to the way you use Apricot software and track data on a more frequent basis.
Assess your Apricot database
An assessment will identify the current and desired future state of your Apricot software system. An assessment will define benchmarks you can use to take action and improve your Apricot database.
1. What are the strengths (efficiencies) of your Apricot software system?
What do you like about the current setup or function of your Apricot database?
It is very easy to jump into the negatives. We urge you to start by defining the strengths of your current Apricot software setup.
Strengths provide a comparison, a benchmark, and a measuring stick for the list of negatives. You need a clear list of strengths to determine the value of your Apricot system in its current format.
2. What are the limitations (inefficiencies) of your Apricot software system?
What don’t you like about the current function or setup of your Apricot database?
Be open and honest about the limitations of your Apricot database.
Identify limitations of your Apricot system by defining the “because” of each statement. “_____ in our Apricot software system is a weakness because _____.” The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to develop a list of action items for improvement.
3. What is the desired future state for your Apricot software system?
In a perfect world…what would our Apricot system look like?
After you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your Apricot system, develop a vision for the future. This question should be answered with a very specific definition.
Here are some topic areas you might consider in your future Apricot vision.
- New or reformatted reports and dashboards
- Streamlined form design, workflows, triggers, and logic
- Improved data entry procedures and data quality
- Organized user access groups and permissions
- Fluid integrations with other database systems
- More training, education, and capacity building for users and administrators
A future vision of your Apricot system is critical. Without it you cannot develop a plan to move forward.
Improve your Apricot database
The second step uses the conclusions from the assessment to develop a strategic action plan for your Apricot database.
1. How can we further improve our Apricot system’s strengths?
Strengths and efficiencies are positives that need to be leveraged, strengthened, bolstered, and supported. They might also be a source of further improvement.
It is also important to determine whether the strengths and efficiencies of your Apricot system can be expanded to other areas of the database. For example, if reports and dashboards are a strength of one program or service area, you might consider mimicking those reports and dashboards in other programs or services.
2. How can we reduce or eliminate our Apricot system’s limitations?
Weaknesses are negatives that need to be minimized, reduced, solved, and eliminated.
Make sure the weak parts of your Apricot database are corrected and are a focus of maintenance and improvement. Improving upon weaknesses is especially true if those weaknesses negatively affect the user experience or core functionality of your Apricot system.
3. What components of the desired future state are need-to-have?
This question and the next question in this list will develop action items from question three of your assessment, “what is the desired future state for your Apricot software system?”
Those items in your vision that are “need-to-have” are high priority. They are either necessities to your organization or are a major urgency to complete.
Need-to-have components may be required by external pressures (i.e. funding requirements, board reporting, etc.). Need-to-have components may also be items where without them, you are holding back the everyday functions of the organization.
Examples of need-to-have items may include demands by recent funding awards, internal program or service changes, or correcting a major data collection gap identified during the review and assessment.
4. What components of the desired future state are nice-to-have?
Nice-to-have components are less priority than need-to-have components.
Nice-to-have components are the wishes and aspirations of your vision. They define where your organization should go in the long-term.
The nice-to-have list is comprised of staggered developments (as compared to the need-to-have list) that will take your organization to an ultimate Apricot vision over time. For example, integrating Apricot with other database software may be a nice-to-have, long-term development because it doesn’t impact the core, day-to-day functions of your Apricot database.
5. What actions do we need to take with our Apricot system in the short-term and long-term?
Based on your list of action items, what actions should be taken in the short-term and what actions should be taken in the long-term?
Now that you have a list of actions from strengths, actions from weaknesses, need-to-have actions, and nice-to-have actions, define how each action item fits into your short-term and long-term strategy. You can assess whether an action should be taken in the short-term or long-term based its impact on the return on investment in Apricot software.
Get the most from Apricot software
An annual Apricot software review is a best practice. A review will outline ways to get the most from your Apricot database by keeping the system fresh and relevant. Download our full Apricot review and self-assessment guide below.