5 Reasons You Might Need an eRA Solution
Are you ready for an electric research administration (era) system?
Is it taking longer and longer for you to manage your research operations and keep up with new sponsor requirements? Are you having trouble keeping up with the volume of work and are faculty relations are fading as a result? Is your team tired of chasing paper and in need of a solution to alleviate your administrative burden?
Every institution is unique, there’s no single indicator that says, “You NEED an eRA now!” However, the institutions that would benefit most from an eRA solution often face similar problems and frustrations. Are you ready for an electric research administration (era) system?
#1: You Use Different Software For Different Processes
How does your team record, track, and process information?
Do you use one system for tracking pre-award activity, and another to track the proposed budget or awards? How much time do you spend on creating reports to get a basic idea of where your institution is day to day? Essentially, is your end-to-end grant management process a long, tedious,and manual process?
When various systems run separately, it can wreak havoc on the processes that are meant to ensure your operations are running smoothly. Without up-to-date data from your legacy systems, creating an accurate budget is near impossible. While not having the latest information from your PI’s financial records, tracking and reporting on your expenditures is practically torture.
#2: You Don’t Have Easy Access To Information About Your Business
If someone asked you what your proposed average submitted to approval rating was, how long would it take you to find out? For institutions that rely on piecemeal systems and spreadsheets that need to be constantly updated and reconciled manually, it could be a while.
The expectation for concrete information is greater than ever before, which means employees across your institution need immediate access to key data. With an eRA solution, executives and administrative staff can get a comprehensive view of operations at any time, while researchers can get the information they need at the press of a button.
#3: Accounting Takes Longer & Is More Difficult
Often, the first noticeable signs that your institution needs an eRA solution will come from your accounting department. If your employees rely on paper-based invoices and sales orders-and spend hours every week manually entering data into different accounting and sales systems-you need to consider how much time is being wasted. eRA solutions can handle in an instant.
The same goes for financial reporting-if it takes ages to consolidate or reconcile financial information across systems and through countless spreadsheets, an era solution can make a significant impact. With all financials in a single database or integrated through a data warehouse or reporting system, accounting staff won’t have to spend hours cross-posting information, re-keying numbers, or reconciling data manually. Your accounting staff will be more productive, freeing them to deliver critical reports without delays and frustration.
#4: Your Faculty Experience Is Suffering
As institutions grow, one of their biggest challenges is maintaining faculty relations while juggling the constant burden of overwhelming responsibilities.
Tying your expenditures to awarded budgets, allows budget projections, burn rates, and tracking more detail on general ledger expenditure records. If a PI calls to inquire about their expenditures or an up to date burn rate and your institution can not give them that information in a timely manner, you start to develop a poor reputation for reliability and service.
With an eRA system, on the other hand, staff in every department will have access to their information. Financial staff and administrators should be able to answer questions without having to hang up the phone and check with another department. Better yet, users should be able to simply go online and view the status of their projects.
#5: Your IT Is Too Complex & Time-Consuming
Let’s face it; IT management can become a nightmare. Customizations, integrations, maintenance, patches and upgrades can be complex and costly and can drain your resources.
System upgrades alone can be more trouble than they’re worth. Not only are these updates expensive and time-consuming, but they may also undo customizations. Given that, it’s no surprise that two-thirds of mid-size businesses are running outdated versions of their business software.
Rather than adding more software-and complexity-to an already ineffective system, eRA technology can give you the agility to respond to changing business needs rapidly.
It may be time to consider an electronic research administration (eRA) system–start now!
Moderas specializes in web based electronic research administration (eRA) solutions developed on the open source Ariah Research platform. To find out more about us click here.