Meet our amazing Tech Lead who built our  Grant Management System!

By April 28, 2020 November 7th, 2020 Grant Management, News Stories

Creating greenfields software is what excites development teams. Brett Hirst, SurePact’s Head of Engineering, and the SurePact development team have taken Megan’s design solution, and created a stronger level of capability and compliance in SurePact’s suite!

Traditionally, even the largest organisations leave the management of their grants to colour-coded spreadsheets – now Brett and the team have created a 360-degree suite to manage the full grant lifecycle through to completion of delivery of the grant asset with full visibility, transparency and accessibility. Brett relished the adventure of investigating how best to solve this problem technically in a way that met client needs, made sense and was simple to use. The outcome is SurePact’s Grant Management System module.

For Brett, the most interesting and exciting thing was there was no other system that completely managed the process. Previously, he had never really thought about a grant management system. It was only when Megan floated the idea that he started looking into it and researching it. He said, “you’re not developing something someone else has already developed a thousand times before – you are literally building technology that no one else has and that creates excitement and creates challenges.” 

The SurePact team looked at some bits and pieces in other systems, but found theirs was truly unique. Some could search for a grant, or start the very beginnings of an application for a grant. There were other systems which managed grants from the funding body who allocated the funds, but none from the recipient side to manage the funds alongside the entire process from end to end. But with SurePact’s GMS you will be able to search for grants, import all the data you need to create a grant application and run through the whole lifecycle of the grant process including managing the risks. 

The look, feel and process borrows heavily from the SurePact Contract and Project management software, making the take-up of the new system easy for existing clients, but the concepts are all new.

The challenges included all the usual suspects – time and resource constraints. Brett also was managing the constant upgrades to the existing modules. He said that moving forward, they could not just stop working on the Contract and Projects modules for 3 to 6 months to develop the new module. SurePact continued to do 3-weekly releases as well as developing the GMS in parallel. 

A highlight of the GMS is that it takes a valuable task which is highly manual and creates a single place to centrally house and submit everything to do with a grant, streamlining and automating the process.

For Brett personally, some of the biggest challenges included learning how grants work and the current work processes. He said “to solve a problem, the more you understand the problem, the more you can solve it.”

The best part of developing the GMS for a techie like Brett was being able to build something unique and brilliant from inspirational design as a new solution to an existing and genuine problem.

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