Grant management is a complicated process that traditionally has been time intensive. A single grant application can require the input of multiple individuals to move it through the system. Much of the work involved is tedious, such as pulling information from one document and putting it in another. Ensuring proper compliance, though critical, adds another layer of complexity that can potentially slow things down. The result is that while grant applications are tied up in an administrative limbo, those who need the funds to continue important social work, research life-saving cures, etc., are unable to do what they need to do.
Many organizations in the government, higher education, and healthcare space struggle with the time it takes to award a grant and provide the necessary funds. Modern grant management systems can help streamline grants by centralizing data, reducing the number of necessary integrations to collect data, and creating greater transparency. These systems come with some automation features built in.
But while a cloud-based grant management system goes a long way to improving the grant management process, these tools can also serve as a good foundation for another transformative technology, one with huge potential in this space: robotic process automation.
RPA and the Grants Management Process
In case you aren’t familiar with the term, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to the use of advanced software (referred to as a “robot”) to automate certain business workflows. These types of automation can be used at various points of the grant cycle, from handling applications to issuing payments. Since many of the steps involved in the grant management process are basic administrative tasks, they are well suited for automation. While many of these tasks are simple, they take time to complete, which can add up, especially when an organization has limited resources or a large volume of grants to review.
RPA can be used for approving grant applications, emailing submission deadlines, extracting data from grants, updating grant management applications with grant information, sending payments, and notifying students if there are any issues with a grant.
Automation allows grant specialists to be more efficient and allows them to handle more grants in less time, getting money to the right people and programs sooner. For example, the University of Melbourne was able to use RPA to transition from providing financial aid payments to students once every two weeks to issuing payments three times per week. This has saved the school 4,500 hours of work to date.
As mentioned earlier, RPA technology can also be used to take data from documents and input them into a grant management system, eliminating the need for manually entering data. This brings up another benefit to automating the grant management process: data accuracy. Any workflow in which a human being needs to input information over and over is going to have a certain amount of errors, no matter how thorough that person may be. Automation can decrease or eliminate these errors, reducing the amount of double work and helping to ensure compliance.
As mentioned earlier, to truly utilize RPA technology to streamline the grant lifecycle, you need a solid foundation. Workday Grant Management Software centralizes all of an organization’s grant info and documents; such as applications, notices of awards, and budget sheets; makes it easier for organizations to stay compliant; and provides greater transparency into the grant lifecycle. With this system in place, you can then pair it with an RPA solution like Automation Anywhere to truly make your grant management process more efficient.
Automation Anywhere combines RPA and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to create “bots,” which can automate a wide range of business processes. The solution integrates with Workday and can help organizations reduce internal workflows, improve compliance, and operate with greater agility.
To learn more about how Collaborative Solutions can help your organization to combine Workday Grant Management and Automation Anywhere, contact us today.
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