Our integration with HubSpot came about because they thought it would be a great idea. Well who wouldn’t think it a good idea to integrate with The Raiser’s Edge. HubSpot said that they had a number clients who use both systems and being able to transfer data from HubSpot back into The Raiser’s Edge would make both systems work better together.
I’m a big fan of Google and a big fan of Blackbaud. What do the two have in common? I’m not sure really. They are very different companies offering very different product ranges. However one obvious difference that is currently affecting me day to day is the fact that whereas Google are changing their interface throughout to reflect a modern sleek approach, Blackbaud (for the their “Edge” range of products at least) are not. In fact, not only are they not changing the way they look and feel, these products are stuck in a design that is several generations old. Due to the nature of the products they are also very restricted as to what they can do.
At the Blackbaud Conference for nonprofits in Washington last month I saw a demo of new functionality in Blackbaud CRM. It was highlighted that this functionality is only available in the “webshell” feature set of the application (as opposed to the ClickOnce feature set). If you are not familiar with those terms then essentially the “webshell” is the functionality available for all in a browser whereas the ClickOnce functionality is available only on Windows. What this also means though is that the webshell can utilise html5 and not be restricted to Windows Forms. This means a beautiful upgrade of the user interface is possible with much less of a struggle.
With the news that there will not be an RE8 what does this mean to those on RE7? When I recently showed our Chimpegration application to MailChimp I felt the need to apologise for the way that The Raiser’s Edge looked. When you look at MailChimp’s website it is very cool and very funky, just as you would expect from a website devoted to email marketing that takes pride in the range of sophisticated email templates on offer. Clearly there is a lot more technical wizardry to MailChimp than just the templates but if their site did not look good, you would be put off from creating a campaign through them. They could see that the RE7 interface was antiquated but were clearly impressed by the depth of functionality available to users which was matched in Chimpegration.
And that is the point. The most noticeable changes that Google makes in Gmail, calendar, docs, reader, etc are staring right at you in the form of the interface. But they also make a lot of functional additions too. With the release of RE7.92 Blackbaud will certainly make some good improvements but they cannot afford to stop there. The reason Google is updating is as a form of rebranding. Raiser’s Edge 7 does not have that luxury so it must shine with its functional enhancements and make them known as loudly as a new interface would do.
If you don’t receive my somewhat irregular newsletter (and you can sign up for it here if you want…) then you will, perhaps not have heard that I will be speaking in both London and Washington DC over the next couple of weeks.
I shall be speaking on the differences between customisations on the Infinity platform versus those on The Raiser’s Edge platform. I have a several customisations created for the conferences one of them an integration with Mailchimp, the email delivery provider. The session is not going to be technical (there will be no code) so it is open to everyone. If you are going to be at either of the conferences then it would be great to meet you.
I am looking forward to some exciting announcements from Blackbaud. Here are a couple of my predictions:
A public, free, release of the Blackbaud Enterprise CRM SDK
The dropping of the name “Raiser’s Edge” in favour of “Blackbaud CRM”
Free iPads for all the speakers! (possibly wishful thinking but it may come true)
Zeidman Development are proud to release the first customisation for Blackbaud Enterprise CRM on the Infinity Platform. Google Calendar Integration for BBEC allows users to save events and have them published to their Google calendar. This first release is relatively simple as it only allows for new events to be published. The source code for this can be found on Zeidman.info. If you don’t feel inclined to compile and install the source code then check out the screen cast below for more information.
For those of you still on Raiser’s Edge 7 (don’t worry you are in the vast majority at the time of writing) Zeidman Development is also pleased to release a Google Calendar Integration plug-in for The Raiser’s Edge. See here to download and look at the screencast below for an overview.
Coming soon the Google Calendar Integration Pro which will include the integration of participants from your calendar to The Raiser’s Edge event and vice versa.
What better way of starting the new year than taking a look at the next generation of Blackbaud’s products that are based on their Infinity platform. A couple of products have already been released but unlike many other products released into the IT wild Blackbaud has chosen, wisely in my opinion, to make the release a quiet affair and not a must have upgrade. I have managed to take a look at Blackbaud CRM. This product is aimed at the larger fundraising organisation and its flexibility certain shows this.
I have been at the Blackbaud European Conference for the past two days and had a great time. My session seemed to go well enough and I hope that those that were there found it useful. Again if you want see the slides again then look at the posting below. (Note that you can watch it full screen using the second from right icon at the bottom of the presentation).
If you don’t remember anything else about my presentation remember this: You do not need to purchase RE:API to create a plugin. You are not going to hear that from Blackbaud too often but I have been told from high up in the company that this is the case. You are able to develop your plugin against the sample database (where all the modules are unlocked) and then deploy it to your production database.
I had a good conference and learnt a great deal about BBEC (Blackbaud Enterprise CRM) and the new Infinity platform. (Thank you Ben). Watch this space for more about my experiences of that product.