We are really excited to release Biographica. This application integrates The RAiser’s Edge with Gmail (or Google Apps). This means that from within your Gmail inbox you can see details of a supporter as their email arrives. At the current time we show the biographical details (name, address, email and phone), constituent code, solicitor/canvasser, a gift summary and recently attended events. We only show this information if it is available for the constituent (so we don’t leave a lot of blank headers and take up a lot of space). Check out the product and view the screencast on our Zeidman Development site: http://www.zeidman.info/Integration/biographica.php
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.
I mentioned in a previous post how a service I was using to record screencast, ScreenToaster, dissappeared. When they dissappeared so did many of my screencasts. Well I am pleased to bring back to life Google Calendar Integration with The Raiser’s Edge and with Enterprise CRM.
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.