The past two weeks have been packed with all things Blackbaud. Last week was the Blackbaud conference in Washington DC and then this week in London. Being a big fan of
all most things Blackbaud, I had a great time, met some great people, got to meet the all new star cast at the top of the company and was pleasantly surprised by the announcements made.
Waiting for RE8 has gone from waiting with great anticipation and expectations in previous years to how we find ourselves now. We now know that RE8 will happen at some point (albeit probably under a different name) but the wait is over. We are no longer waiting for the next big thing, but for the little things. In past years we have been wowed by what was to come on the Infinity platform. This was exciting but left us wanting it without it ever arriving for the majority. Now however, looking at the new functionality in RE7; query lists, new lookup functionality, better dedupe features and being able to easily mark participants as attended, shows that despite its name (and its UI), RE7 is moving forward. Blackbaud is moving forward for everyone.
This was demonstrated so much more so in Blackbaud Mobile. The application allows you to promote campaigns through channels that may have been previously inaccessable to the majority of organisations. Allowing organisations to promote and give supporters the mechanism to donate through text message and mirrored on a Facebook app, brings their technology offerings into this decade.
After being burned by the anticipation of the Infinity platform’s greatness for The Raiser’s Edge users, Blackbaud are quite rightly avoiding the risk of repeated vaporware. One such thread could, in previous years, come from the exciting news of Raiser’s Edge Mobile. This application will be native to iPhone, Android and possibly Blackberry, will allow users to access their RE database directly from their mobiles. After having looked at a prototype version, I am quietly confident that this application will make it in the near future. This is another step in Blackbaud’s progression of the RE7 platform into the modern age.
What is really exciting however is the technology required to enable this. There will need to be a webservice layer for The Raiser’s Edge. There has been this web service layer for a while now with the NetCommunity integration. However it has always been restricted to NetCommunity specific tasks with limited use for other applications. If Blackbaud do the right thing this time around and make the web service layer generic and open to all applications, all of a sudden we will integration with The Raiser’s Edge like never before from all sorts of web based applications.
It does not matter what it is called (RE7 or RE8, Infinity or not) it is the perception that Blackbaud’s offerings are going forward and not stagnating. With the wait for RE8, RE7 was left languishing. The risk was great that organisations would move away from Blackbaud to other platforms offering what Blackbaud should have been doing years ago. Now at least they are moving into the modern era.