Software for Tracking Grants & Grants Admininstration Jane Prudhomme 06 Jan 1995 10:46 EST

 Our institution is going through a similar study and is almost
ready to make a decision.  I primarily deal with "pre-award" and this fall
completed a pretty thorough analysis of all the "on-line, etc." databases
out there used to locate "grant opportunities".  So because of
my experience in researching those systems (i.e. I.R.I.S., Spin Micro, Spin
Gopher, fedix, STIS, Dialog, etc.), I was asked to assist with the other issue
of software primarily for "post award" administration.  My opinion (and it
ist strictly my opinion, and not necessarily that of my institution is the

 RAMS is basically "all there is", (which was surprising to me), but
it does have its problems.  It is fairly limited in the user's ability to
make modifications, hence you are pretty much "obligated" to go to Rodman &
Assoc. when you need to customize things for your own site (which you most
likely will want to do).  This can get pretty expensive.  Although they do
a good job, it might have been nicer if the company would sell a "shell"
and allow customers to "plug in" much of what suits their needs.  This is
not usually the case when you have primarily only 1 or 2 companies
controlling most of the market.  It doesn't make good business sense for
the vendor.

 Peat Markwick also has a total accounting package which includes
much more than grants administration, so consequently is more suitable if
an institution buys it for all of their accounting needs, but the price tag
is *much* higher:  well over $20,000.

 There is now a relatively new company based in Birmingham, Alabama
called Priority Inc. and they (apparently) built their system around the grants
admin function at University of Alabama; now they are marketing the
product more extensively.  We are giving this one a serious look, because
among other things, it's Windows-based which seems like a good idea
considering how the software market is going.  We still haven't been able
to arrange a product demonstration here and we are not sure we'll do so.

 We also found, that many largert insitutions that have been into grants
admin. for a long time have designed their own software (using combinations of
database and spreadsheet software).  The reason this is most desirable (if you
can afford it & if you know enough about grants admin to include the proper
system design) is that, while accounting principles might be generic, the
procedures and departments that must produce the data within the
institution will very likely differ from one place to the next.  Since it's
not desirable to change accepted procedures to suit software packages
(these will always be evolving), it makes good business sense to implement
software plans that incorporate rather than change everything around to
suit how the software is designed.

 Incidently, although this isn't directly related, it appears that
Rodmann & Assoc. also is the subcontractor that set up and maintains the
*fedix* system if you're familiar with that.  If you want to call me later
I'd be happy to pass along phone numbers, etc. for Priority Inc. (the
person who actually has that file is not in today).  You  may also want to
talk to her directly about RAMS etc.  Good luck & let everyone know what
you finally decide.  It seems to me this topic is seriously neglected at
NCURA but quite important.

*       Jane E. Prudhomme, Director      *
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*       University of New Orleans        *
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