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SAP SCN Podcast Transcripts

Starting in December of 2007, Jon began a multi-year series of podcasts with the SAP SCN Community team. Many of these have their own transcripts, which you can view here. If you want to check out all the SAP SCN podcasts and download them, go to the JonERP.com SAP SCN Podcast Page.
How Penitus and Collier County used SCN For Their Grants Management Project Print E-mail
Article Index
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Podcast Transcription:
How Penitus and Collier County used SCN For Their Grants Management Project
An SCN Community Podcast
Hosted by Jon Reed of JonERP.com
Podcast Interview Date: March 30, 2010

Jon Reed: Welcome to this SAP Community podcast. I'm your host, Jon Reed, of JonERP.com and joining me today is Freddy Guerrero, principal partner at Penitus Global Solutions, and Marlene Foord and Kelly Jones of the Collier County SAP Project. We're here to talk about a recent implementation of grants functionality they did at Collier, the lessons learned and how Penitus developed this grants functionality through the involvement with the SAP Community Network. We're going to start the podcast with Freddy to give us a sense of how this grants functionality originated.

Freddy, it's nice to have you back for another podcast. You specifically developed this Penitus grants functionality in collaboration on the SAP Community Network. Can you tell us how you did that?

Freddy Guerrero: We used the SAP Community Network, the Business Objects Community and the SAP EcoHub to develop our solutions, which are the products we present to the EcoHub and to our future customers searching for solutions.

We also worked with the SAP Community Network and the Business Objects Community to find ways of solving issues regarding any Business Objects problems and issues we may have. That way, we can resolve them quickly, without having to spend too much time on it. For something that would normally take a couple weeks to resolve, we just quickly tap into the SAP Community Network to find solutions; therefore, we can provide better services to our customers and provide products that we can deliver to other communities like the SAP EcoHub.

Reed: What role did EcoHub play developing and sharing your grants solution?

Guerrero: The EcoHub helped us by putting out products and having customers do a search in our products, evaluating and eventually buying these products. Working with Collier County, we were able to get customer success stories of the solution we created and implemented at Collier County.

Reed: Thanks, Freddy. I'm going to talk with the Collier County team here for a few minutes and find out how you did taking this functionality live. Marlene and Kelly, tell us about your roles on the Collier project.

Marlene Foord: I am the Grants Coordinator for Collier County. I work with all of the departments to mainly assist with the pre-award process if they're looking for grants or applying for grants. I make sure we get the internal approvals necessary, and I also work with them after they've gotten the grant award to ensure that we do all of the management, compliance and tracking that is necessary post-award.

For this particular project, my goal was to get everyone on the same page as much as possible so we could develop a system that would work for all of us for the pre-award and post-award process.

Kelly Jones: I'm an accountant with the Finance Department here at Collier County. I'm responsible for the day-to-day accounting functions for all of the county's financial responsibilities, as well as the single audit. For this project, I was the functional lead for Grants Management, so I wanted to make sure that everything Marlene was trying to do with the different departments and all of that coordination and effort then led to a successful single audit, and that all the needs we had for that project had been met.

I was also responsible for making sure the integration worked within the rest of SAP, especially with the funds management module and the budget constraints we have.

Reed: Kelly, that sets the stage for the next question, which is the SAP products that you are running and how your organization relies on SAP.

Jones: Collier County is currently on ECC 6.0. We are using the FI, CO, FM, MM, HR and PS modules, and we're also running the NetWeaver Portals with Resource Portfolio Management and cProjects, cFolders and BI. Up until a few years ago, I would say Collier County has basically been using basic standard SAP functionality. We've been able to pay our people, pay our vendors, requisitions, control budgets, prepare financial statements.

With the implementation and integration of Resource and Portfolio Management and Business Intelligence, we have really opened the door for providing real tools for the day-to-day needs of our project managers - and now our grant managers.

Reed: Marlene, can you give our listeners a sense of why this grants solution from Penitus is important to what you're trying to do?

Foord: We started just about four years ago with a core group, which we called our working group, to come up with the needs we have in the agency from all of our departments. That's including our support departments, the finance office, human resources, purchasing, the grant coordination office, our office and records management, just to name a few. We wanted to come up with a list of things we thought would be important if we had a system, and we started to do a little bit of research to see what was out there.

At the same time, we had our SAP system for financial management and were starting to broaden that use a little bit. For managing the pre-award aspects of our grants, all we had was an Access database. That database really was very limited to keeping track of the grants we received, how much each grant was, who it was from and how long the grant was going to last. It really wasn't robust enough for us to manage the various compliance aspects of the grant.

Our goal was to see if we could put the two together somehow and look at the grants in a financial system more from the lifecycle perspective. Taking the various items we identified as needs for pre-award process and post-award process, we put it all together and worked with Penitus to come up with a system.

Now we are able to enter our grant at the proposal stage, take it all the way through the internal review process, the approval process, create the budget for the grant, and we can think about the budget from the grantor perspective, as well as our own SAP and financial management perspectives, which is very critical. When the grant is awarded, we've already done all the hard work; it's just a quick push of the button to create the grant in the financial system. We were also very pleased to have some tools developed for us, like dashboards and task systems that helped us during the implementation and oversight of the grant itself.

Reed: The pre-awards piece is part of the challenge here, right? You have pre-awards information that's important, but it's not necessarily always integrated with the grant system or the post-award system - or the ERP system, for that matter. Is this something you think a lot of organizations are probably struggling with?

Foord: I do know from the communications that we started years ago that it is very important that when you apply for a grant, you have internal processes that surround the application of the grant and the committal of the grant. You have to really think about it from the final awarded grant perspective as much as possible, and that's not easy to do because things do change from the time you apply for the grant to the time you receive the grant.

This is really forcing us to think about these grants ahead of time in a much bigger way, a much more detailed way, so we're prepared when we actually receive the grant. Of course, there is a lot of flexibility so we can adjust things when we get to the point when there's a grant to award.



 

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