Small improvements that I like about Blackbaud Enterprise CRM

Blackbaud Enterprise CRM (eCRM or BBEC as it seems to be called interchangeably) is enormous. It is a big change to The Raiser’s Edge but then that is not surprising as it is not actually the replacement for The Raiser’s Edge 7. It is an application way beyond RE 7. Nevertheless you cannot help comparing the two as long as there is no RE8 to compare to. As a software developer it is a whole new paradigm. Of course even if you know how to develop software customisations for BBEC you still need to know how the program works from a user perspective. That is why I am not only learning a new development environment but I am learning a whole new program. Some of the concepts are very similar, some are different. As I learn I have come across some quite small changes that, for whatever reason, fill me with a “wow that’s great” feeling. These are not earth shattering improvements but just things that I am sure people will appreciate. So this post is dedicated to the small differences.

  1. You no longer import data directly into the application but rather into a batch so that you can review it before committing. There are very many more batch templates rather than just constituents, gifts and time-sheets.
  2. In a batch you can add a message to a row so that if there is some query about the details you can add it as a reminder.
  3. If you assign the incorrect constituent to a gift (now called revenue) you can change the constituent. If the gift has been posted then an adjustment is made.
  4. Verbiage is more useful e.g. revenue rather than gift, designation rather than fund, names rather than addressee and salutations and many more.
  5. As well as individuals there are also households. If you are very organised with your data you can ensure that you don’t send out multiple mailings to one residence just because you have several supporters who live there. Instead you send it out to the household.
  6. On a similar vein there are also groups that you can group constituents, individuals and organisations alike together.
  7. You can import constituents at the same time as gifts.
  8. No more .imp format for import files (although no xls or xlsx format)
  9. The media tab (now called documentation and combines notes and attachments) allows for links. No more having to store web sites together with phones
  10. and lastly and probably least significantly On notes there is no longer both note title and note description. This seemed so unnecessary but, OK granted, not at the top of my list of improvements.

I am sure that this list will be easily doubled or tripled before I am fully accustomed to BBEC (if that is ever possible given its size) but I have been impressed so far. As I said at the top of this post BBEC is not RE. It is very complex and many of the routines are not as intuitive as RE. Whether this is because the application is not mature or whether it is because there is a lack of detailed documentation only time will tell. One thing is certain though for the average RE user to use such an application many of the routines will need to be simplified for RE8.

3 thoughts on “Small improvements that I like about Blackbaud Enterprise CRM

  1. Pingback: BBEC additions that I like - Blackbaud User Society - Forum
  2. Hi David–great post! BBEC (and the whole Infinity platform) is definitely a different experience from the 7s!

    I’m a technical writer in product development at Blackbaud. Our group writes the help files and user manuals for all of our products. I noticed your comment about the lack of detailed docs for BBEC and would love to hear more on that.

    We are always looking for feedback and ways to improve our documentation, if you have comments or specifics you’d care to share.

    Thank you!
    ~Tina Fei

  3. Tina,

    Well the basic documentation is there for, what seems, most areas of the program that you would encounter on a day to day basis. I guess what I really missed though was more help on import file formats. In RE7 there is a great section of the help file where there is a description of the sort of data required to import,say a gift. It tells you what type of data RE is looking for i.e. which values are permissible, but also which values are required and which values are conditionally required to import data. I could not find such help in BBEC which made it much more of a guessing game to import data.

    I also found it difficult to add a gift at first. The reason being that there were very many interdependencies that required default values before I could enter a gift. It would have been good to see which fields required to be set up before I start. I understand that this is somewhat of an artificial viewpoint as most clients who purchase BBEC will, no doubt, have help in setting up BBEC but nevertheless I think it should be possible to work it out using help.


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