Amidst all the uncertainty of our nation’s post-pandemic outlook–given budget shortfalls and declining revenue streams–two things are certain to remain: procurement and grants processes. What’s also abundantly clear is that the status quo of manual and paper processes is no longer sustainable, especially in the era where governments have been forced to quickly move workforces, tasks, and processes alike to virtual environments.
Given the current reality, how do state, local, and tribal departments and agencies modernize government functions like procurement and grants management that seem as old as time itself? This article delves into why it’s essential to invest in tools to help virtualize procurement and grants management now and two ways to get started.
Why Legacy Modernization is Long Overdue
There are many good reasons as to why governments have remained on their legacy systems and processes, including time, concern for security, and cost savings. However, not only is cloud technology becoming more advanced by the day, more secure, and even more cost-efficient, but failing to modernize legacy technologies and processes is hindering public servants from being able to deliver essential services to their communities.
For example, a recent national survey from the Economic Policy Institute found that millions were unable to file an unemployment insurance claim. Upon examining this issue more closely, the last time states saw a surge of claims was during the Great Recession in 2009. While states later received funds to modernize their unemployment insurance systems and made some strides later in 2010, there were few jobless individuals actually applying for benefits. Their systems at the time were deemed “good enough” and remained largely untouched. Fast forward to today’s economic crisis, and many departments are now feeling the burden of legacy systems as unemployment claims skyrocket.
The moral of this story is that the era of COVID-19 is demonstrating the necessity of digital transformation across government. Never has it been more important or challenging for procurement and grant professionals to do their jobs.
How to Virtualize Your Procurement and Grants Management
Both eCivis (a leader in cloud-based grants management) and Bonfire (a leader in strategic sourcing software) understand what it takes to bring essential government processes online. Here’s how:
Taking Grants Management to the Cloud
eCivis helps state, local, and tribal governments reimagine the grants process by taking the full lifecycle of grants management to the cloud. Traditionally, governments manage grants through expensive legacy systems and disparate spreadsheets that are not only time consuming but also are more likely to lead to error, misused funds and audit findings.
By virtualizing grants management, grants professionals can automatically develop and track budgets by quickly importing cost data and excel spreadsheets all into one system. Teams can update these budgets and develop cost allocation plans in real time, calculate indirect cost rates on demand, and seamlessly manage their side of the grants in a centralized system (whether they’re on the awarding or receiving side of funding).
To help governments streamline the process of searching for COVID-19-related grants, eCivis recently launched a new COVID-19 Funding Toolkit. This digital toolkit has helped nearly 300 state, city, county, territory, and tribal governments maximize grant dollars through the CARES Act, with the ability to clearly delineate COVID-19 related grants through automated tagging.
Future-proofing Your Procurement Process
The role of procurement was already challenging, and with added pressures to deliver results faster than ever before amidst economic uncertainty and nationwide emergency supply shortages, it truly has never been more difficult for procurement professionals to do their jobs. Amidst all this, many public procurement teams have had to adjust to a new reality of working from home. As a function that tends to still rely heavily on paper-based processes, this was no easy task.
Bonfire helps procurement teams prepare for any future disruption to their business continuity by bringing the end-to-end sourcing process online. With tools optimized for collaboration and in-app access to RFP (Request-for-Proposal) insights and templates, Bonfire enables public procurement teams to drive greater agency impact, achieve better outcomes, and engage colleagues along the way.
After hearing client feedback on the role the Bonfire platform has played in ensuring emergency procurements get to the frontlines fast, Bonfire launched a program to offer its strategic sourcing software for free for 3 months. The program has already seen over 50 public agencies sign on to bring their procurement process online quickly.
Whether things may feel like they are finally starting to return to “business as usual,” or you’re still in the thick of COVID-19-related projects, it’s important not to fall into the mindset that this is a once-in-a-lifetime crisis. Procurement and grants management play a vital role in any national emergency, so it’s critical that your processes are prepared to handle any future disruption that comes your way. In today’s economic crisis, that means re-evaluating your legacy systems and bringing your essential government processes online.
For more information about bringing your grants management and processes online, reach out to eCivis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Schedule a demo to learn more about how Bonfire enables public procurement teams to future-proof their processes, collaborate better with stakeholders, and make data-driven sourcing decisions.