Tag Archives: Infinity

Blackbaud Conference Sessions to Watch out for #bbcon

It seems like a time honoured tradition of existing speakers telling others which sessions at the Blackbaud Conference  (BBCon) they should look out for. There is Heller Consulting’s, Joe Matic’s ( take his advice with caution – he is, after all, a robot) and, um, others. (Feel free to add them to the comments.)

I have now attended five conferences in the US and three in the UK. What do I look for in a good session? Well quite often the speaker is key. If they are not engaging then however interesting the topic , it will be lost on the audience. That being said some topics just shouldn’t be missed. (You can always moan about the speaker afterwards!)

So in no particular order (other than my two are going first as this is my blog and I am allowed to throw impartiality out the window), here is my choice of great speakers and sessions to look out for.

 

Performance Management using Audit Trail – David Zeidman and Mohammed Dasser

Have you ever wondered how you could use Audit Trail to measure your organization’s performance entering accurate data? You may wonder what records are being entered the most or how many different people are entering data onto a specific area. David will give a little background to Audit Trail and Mohammed will show you how University of Central Florida have created various metrics to report on performance. This is not going to be a sale pitch for Audit Trail (come to the Zeidman Development booth for that) .

Raiser’s Edge Geek Forum 2: The Revenge – Ed Hohlbein, Melissa Graves, Kirk Schmidt, Bill Connors and David Zeidman

There are very many different ways of using The Raiser’s Edge. If you went to the session last year you would have seen 5 Raiser’s Edge experts from three different countries, discussing / arguing about best practises. If you have a burning question about how some aspect of The Raiser’s Edge should best be done then don’t expect one straight answer! The panel will debate different solutions based on your questions.

Real-Time Integration Between The Raiser’s Edge and the Cloud – Jonathan Puddle

Now more than ever the digital and technology world is moving to the cloud. There are many definitions of “cloud” but any technology that doesn’t connect through traditional solutions (same network, etc) requires new solutions. I have done some work with Jonathan in the past and know that some of the things that Catch The Fire have done with their various systems are quite remarkable and well worth hearing about.

Social Media Police: Nonprofit Edition – Allyson Kapin, Maddie Grant, Melanie Mathos

I have seen Melanie speak about nonprofit social media on numerous occasions and in previous BBCons she has spoken with Chad Norman in a session that went on to become a book – 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits. It does not sound like this session is going to follow the same format but nevertheless it certainly sounds like this is one to watch. Social Media changes rapidly and keeping on top of the latest changes is a must. (Then you can implement them with the book!)

Infinity Platform Features and the Software Development Kit – Ben Lambert

I am a big sucker for the Infinity platform and Ben always does it good justice. It is a great environment to work with and with each version release there are always some really interesting things added. I will be watching this one closely to see what new tricks Ben has up his sleeve.

How Would you Enter THIS Gift? – Bill Connors

I have known Bill for many years. He could talk about anything and make it interesting and dynamic. However this time he is talking about gifts! And who doesn’t like a gift? Well if that gift is sent in by a known donor, from an offshore company, signed off by his spouse and as a tribute to their gardener’s special birthday, would you know how to enter it into RE and in such a way as making it reportable too?

The Raiser’s Edge Roadmap – Tom Maszk and Emily Dalton

This is an annual favourite. Tom and Emily are going to be revealing the latest greatest additions to The Raiser’s Edge. We are told that many of those that made the cut were user requests so this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I just hope that they have beefed up the security to take care of those people who were less than pleased about their own suggestions (Yes, when will The Mergician, Validatrix and Audit Trail be added as standard RE functionality!!?)

 

Well those are my top picks. Sorry if I overlooked anybody but I am sure you will appear on somebody else’s list. Look forward to seeing you all there!

Introducing Blackbaud +1?

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.

Blackbaud moving towards the future, just not all the way to Infinity (yet)

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.

Blackbaud Enterprise CRM Integrations

If you had not noticed, our website zeidman.info has had a make over. We have also added a new section of everything to do with Blackbaud Enterprise CRM and the Infinity platform. Some of the screencasts there were previously embedded in conference presentations so now they have a home of their own. We are really excited by what the Inifinity platform has to offer (even if it is slow coming to the majority of users). Now you can see for yourself the kinds of customisations that can be developed and just how powerful the platform can be.

Have you been working on any BBEC customisations that you would like to share? Have you seen any others out there in the wild. Leave a comment and let us know.

Customizations, SDKs and API’s, Oh RE

If you recognise the title of this post then I was inspired by a BlackbaudKnowHow article of a similar name. In that article the author describes the differences between the three terms and how they relate to Blackbaud Enterprise CRM. This is a good overview and works well for Blackbaud Enterprise CRM. However it breaks down when talking about The Raiser’s Edge 7.

Continue reading Customizations, SDKs and API’s, Oh RE

Audit Trail on the Infinity platform versus The Raiser’s Edge 7

I was prompted to write this after seeing a tweet highlighting Altru’s history function. The tweet pointed to the Blackbaud Know How article about how you can see who changed what and when on a record. For those of you unfamiliar with Altru, it is one of the more recent applications released on the Infinity platform.

Continue reading Audit Trail on the Infinity platform versus The Raiser’s Edge 7

Google Calendar Integration with The Raiser’s Edge and Blackbaud Enterprise CRM

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.

Continue reading Google Calendar Integration with The Raiser’s Edge and Blackbaud Enterprise CRM

A New Raiser’s Edge Package released but no sign on RE on the Infinity platform

Fundraising UK are reporting that Blackbaud have released a new version of The Raiser’s Edge. This is clearly not the new version that very many people have been waiting for. It is not RE8 nor is it on the Infinity platform. It does appear to be useful however for those organisations that want an enhanced, internet aware version of The Raiser’s Edge. The Raiser’s Edge (i) as  it has being called (more details on Blackbaud’s site) is a new hosted package that incorporates a web presence as well as donor maintenance application.

As this new product has just been released, it is hard to imagine that Blackbaud will be announcing RE8 on the Infinity platform any time soon. Combine this with the fact that no major enhancements to The Raiser’s Edge version 7 application are expected, many organisations are surely feeling frustrated by Blackbaud’s apparent inertia. I have worked with Enterprise CRM and know how far advanced that application is from the existing version of The Raiser’s Edge. I have said on numerous times that it is worth wait and I still think it is. The question is how long will others hold out. An organisation that is thinking of upgrading functionality will not wait forever for Raiser’s Edge on Infinity and will certainly be tempted to look elsewhere.

Infinity platform Workflow on Blackbaud Enterprise CRM

I have just finished Paul Gibson’s Workflow workthrough. At the two Blackbaud conferences I attended recently there was much fan fair about Workflow and how it will blow our minds away. Having just started to look at it in some depth, why were they understating this technology implementation! This did more than blow my mind away. The potential is very clear. All of a sudden very complicated applications can be created without the need to write a single line of code. Move over SSIS and bring on Workflow.

What this space for some more customizations in the future using Workflow.

Blackbaud – My purpose is their passion

I am sitting in the plane on my way back to the UK following the Blackbaud conference in Washington DC. There were no new announcements about the generation eight products (few seem to refer to it as The Raiser’s Edge 8), no new major applications and no new major personnel changes (that I was made aware of). However there was a new branding. The new logo should represent a more open Blackbaud. At first I was unsure about the design. It seemed somewhat cartoon like but now it has grown on me. To put the record straight the tag-line is not as in this post’s title but rather “Your purpose -> Our passion”. I ought to remember it. The free WIFI from Blackbaud at the conference used this as the username and password. Instead I managed to use each permutation available. If we take this tag-line at face value what can we expect?

Continue reading Blackbaud – My purpose is their passion