As more and more nonprofit and social impact organizations move their processes and data to the cloud, many find themselves asking how best to manage newly launched systems over time. Managing both user and technical needs today, as well as preparing for the future, inherently means having a Managed Services strategy in place. An effective Managed Services strategy helps NGOs focus on the day-to-day running of the program and the longer term vision, rather than administrative problem solving.
Managed Services exist in many different forms. From a single administrator to a complete support team, from a functional business analyst to a technical developer. From full-time to part-time. Choosing the right combination is essential to ensure your newly implemented solution keeps up with your growing nonprofit organization.
Managed Services: what, why, how and who?
When people hear “Managed Services”, most think of a service desk, but in fact, Managed Services are so much more than merely providing standalone functional or technical support.
It’s about ensuring a connection between system reliability and expansion capabilities in line with organizational growth. Key considerations when planning a CRM Managed Services strategy should include:
- Are internal activities changing to adapt to new goals within programs?
- Does the system reflect changes in data, and processes, or meet new reporting requirements?
- Can these changes be quickly and effectively implemented in the correct way?
- Is the system robust and stable, even post triannual upgrades?
- Will functional changes remain in place even after upgrades, or do new releases replace recent implemented capabilities?
It’s also about filling knowledge gaps in the most efficient manner.
- Does the size and user base of your nonprofit organization justify a full-time in-house Analyst or Admin?
- Could signing up for Managed Services boost in-house capabilities, or even free up valuable time from reviewing user requests, pre/post-release testing, making day-to-day changes, and system optimization reviews to free up valuable time to allocate to the mission and driving impact?
Once the decision to outsource Managed Services has been made, it’s very important to identify the right type of provider, one that truly understands both the mission and the solution to help drive impact. Organizations should ask:
- Does the Support Services or Admin Services provider have the right experience and expertise level to understand the nonprofit organization’s goals?
- Have they implemented the same or similar solutions? Or perhaps the provider implemented your organization’s solution – who better to provide Managed Services than the original implementation partner?
Having worked with numerous clients in identifying needs and building Managed Services strategies, we are delighted to announce the launch of two new Managed Services packages: Managed Admin Services and Managed Support Services, offering flexibility and scalability to align with any organizational growth.
Managed Support Services
Managed Support Services provides one main support point of contact, a dedicated service delivery analyst, to serve as the primary liaison for support, typically closely collaborating with the organization’s System Administrator.
Managed Support Services include the organization of regular monthly support calls, assisting with day-to-day System Administrator troubleshooting (in line with agreed criticality escalation), building Reports and Dashboard, updating email alerts and other minor automations, providing recommendations, executing proactive optimizations, and providing end-user training and documentation.
Managed Admin Services
Managed Admin Services provides a System Administrator. This could be shared amongst a team of two or more analysts, typically to augment internal capability or replace System Administration tasks.
Managed Admin Services include all the same activities as Managed Support Services, just with a higher volume of needs and no dependency for the organization to have an internal System Administrator.
Let’s take a look at how Vera’s Managed Services offerings have met the support needs of a nonprofit organization that we have been fortunate to work with over the past several years.
Customer success: Justice Rapid Response
Justice Rapid Response (JRR) is a not for profit organization and its mission is to partner with international, national and civil society actors by providing them with prompt, impartial and professional expertise, tailored to each context, to investigate international crimes and serious human rights violations and to promote the rights and access to justice of victims and survivors.
In 2016 JRR engaged Vera Solutions to develop their solution, with custom configurations on their Salesforce Platform, providing the ability to record, manage and monitor requests from international, national and civil society actors, as well as a back end system with enhanced search capabilities containing profiles of legal experts, experiences, thematic areas, geographic locations and languages spoken.
Following the initial implementation, JRR no longer had enough ongoing requirements to justify a full time internal Systems Administrator. Outsourcing to Vera Solutions was the obvious choice, providing technical expertise provided by Vera’s Managed Admin Services. Having both day-to-day end user support and proactive systems analysis ensures solution stability, seamless integration with 3rd party tools, rapid bug fixes and faster development of reports, and dashboard creation to provide greater insights and tracking of their status versus their mission goals. This has resulted in being able to deploy expert legal advice more efficiently, thus providing better access to justice for all victims and survivors of international crimes and serious human rights violations.
Why use Vera Solutions for Managed Services?
As discussed earlier in this article, one of the key drivers of a successful CRM Managed Services strategy is working with the right Managed Services provider(s). This will not only save time and money but will also reduce future headaches. Having a provider that truly understands the mission, domain, areas of operation, geographic considerations, and technical challenges will deliver the most efficient managed service provision.
With over 12 years of experience working with nonprofits, Vera Solutions has been a leader in developing program management and impact measurement solutions on the Salesforce Platform. Currently, over $8.5 billion of programs, grants, and projects advancing the SDGs are managed using Vera’s flagship product, Amp Impact.
Our team has both extensive knowledge of the nonprofit sector and the unique challenges faced by organizations as well as deep experience in delivering the right solutions for a wide range of clients. We also offer:
- A large pool of highly skilled and experienced Salesforce Consultants, with over 175 active Salesforce certifications and counting
- Experience in successfully delivering over 1,000 projects and services in the social sector
- A dedicated team located across 5 continents
As a long-time Salesforce International Impact Partner, and now a top-tier Salesforce Summit Consulting Partner, we’ve been dedicated to the Salesforce ecosystem for more than 12 years. With the growth of Amp Impact, Vera Solutions has also been recognized twice as Salesforce.org Product Partner of the Year (2019, 2022) and with a Partner Innovation Award (2021) As such, we are constantly evaluating the latest features and enhancements to the Salesforce platform and how they can be leveraged to support our clients’ missions.