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AppOmatic – Life Support for The Raiser’s Edge?

For years, we waited for The Raiser’s Edge 8.  Eventually, Blackbaud decided it wasn’t coming after all.  Then, last year, they acquired Convio and we looked forward to a new era of modern digital tools – but most of these are only available in the US!  Meanwhile, every day we listen to the growing frustrations of fundraisers trying to integrate new channels and sources of supporter data in today’s 24/7/365, digitally and socially engaged world.

Now, at last, someone has done something …  Has Blackbaud finally announced the way forward for their flagship mid-market product, The Raiser’s Edge?  NO – but someone else has!  Sort of …

 

Introducing AppOmatic

At this year’s BBCON, Omatic Software, well known authors of great tools such as ImportOmatic that complement The Raiser’s Edge, launched AppOmatic.

AppOmatic is billed as a whole new way to interface with your donor data without using The Raiser’s Edge itself. It is freely available to download and enables RE users to do two main things:

  1. Use the AppOmatic “desktop canvas” – a different way of viewing and working with the traditional Raiser’s Edge interface – including files, data and records held outside the system.
  2. Select, download, and deploy ‘apps’ (rather like Plug-ins) that have been written – for now by Omatic but potentially by other partners in future – and use these to enhance their own experience of The Raiser’s Edge

 

How does it shape up?

This sounds encouraging and quite exciting. But how helpful is it really? AppOmatic is similar in concept to the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace and Salesforce AppExchange – both highly developed with thousands of participating partners and tools.  Will AppOmatic dissuade nonprofits from moving to these impressive platform-based competitors?

We decided to assess AppOmatic against some of the key issues and limitations of The Raiser’s Edge:

Criteria/Issue Our Assessment Comments
1:  User experience and adoption

Will AppOmatic encourage users – in particular digital fundraisers – to work with The Raiser’s Edge more easily and effectively?

Score: 6/10

 

The new AppOmatic interface – with a more dynamic, modern look and feel than RE – can only help improve user experience.  However, at this stage there are few integrations with best-of-breed tools – such as email marketing, online fundraising or events tools like Just Giving.
2:  Open Access

Will AppOmatic help the growth of an ecosystem of The Raiser’s Edge developers?

Score: 6/10 Again, this move – interestingly driven by Omatic Software rather than Blackbaud themselves – can only be a good thing. Other developers – for instance Zeidman Development in the UK – will, hopefully, engage and publish their apps too.
3: Multi-channel

Will AppOmatic help The Raiser’s Edge become a multi-channel solution?

 

Score: 0/10 Sadly, AppOmatic doesn’t seem to address this issue.  Omatic has developed and published apps for integration with Twitter and LinkedIn – but so far there is no evidence of third party apps by authors of tools like Mailchimp, EventBrite, Constant Contact or Hootsuite, as are available on the Salesforce and Microsoft marketplaces?
4: Multi-platform

Does AppOmatic help The Raiser’s Edge become a truly multi-platform solution?

Score: 0/10 AppOmatic works on Windows and with Microsoft tablets but it doesn’t extend The Raiser’s Edge so that users can access their data and system on other platforms, such as iOS or Android, or on a web browser in a non-Windows environment.

 

5:  Whole-organisation CRM

Can AppOmatic help The Raiser’s Edge become a CRM system rather than just a donor database?

Score: 3/10 There are two barriers to The Raiser’s Edge expanding outside of fundraising: user experience and database structure.

  1. AppOmatic helps with user experience, and could screen some of the fundraising details from non-fundraisers.
  2. But AppOmatic still relies on the underlying data structure of The Raiser’s Edge. This lacks the extendible, configurable nature of other CRM solutions and, for this reason, it is limited in its ability to operate beyond fundraising.

 

Our Conclusion

Many organisations are considering how and when to move on from The Raiser’s Edge and those at the ends of the size spectrum are starting to take this step.  Nevertheless, The Raiser’s Edge remains fit for purpose for many traditional fundraising needs and we expect it to be around for quite some time, especially in medium-sized charities without the agility or the budgets of their smaller or larger peers.

For these organisations, AppOmatic is potentially a very useful development.  In the same way that ImportOmatic has brought real enhancements to fundraising business processes, AppOmatic may well help extend the life of The Raiser’s Edge – at least until Blackbaud announces the roadmap for its replacement.

To find out more about AppOmatic and other ways to make the most of your technology for fundraising we are running a series of complimentary breakfast briefings and discussions with suppliers and experts entitled “Life after The Raiser’s Edge”.

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