Effectively administrating the process for grants, awards, and scholarship applications is undoubtedly a challenge, with program managers required to juggle an influx of multi-format applications and multiple deadlines, all while maintaining consistent communication with both internal and external stakeholders. This doesn’t take the rigorous process of screening for quality or the judging process into account, which makes this struggle even more cogent – considering the makeshift systems used to manage these applications are usually cobbled together with an archaic combination of emails, binders, PDFs and spreadsheets.
Luckily, technological innovations of the last 20 years have offered a range of solutions to these challenges, and one such comprehensive solution is OpenWater.
“For years, organizations and awards managers have faced the monumental challenge of managing the awards submission process with little outside or technological help,” says Kunal Johar, Cofounder of OpenWater, “That’s why we developed a software that enables managers to move away from manual management systems of paper, spreadsheets and PDF’s, and empower themselves with a robust, comprehensive, cloud-based technology that solves many pain points related to the applications, management, and judging process.”
Founded in 2014 by Timothy Spell and Kunal Johar, OpenWater’s technology works by removing the less efficient aspects of the manual submissions process, such as paper applications, responding to applicants individually, database management and more, replacing these outdated methods with a cloud-based technology that covers the entire process – from application submissions and categorizing data, to communication with applicants, applicant insights, and automated back-end reporting.
As such, this automation simplifies and streamlines the entire process from start-to-finish, enabling managers to focus on what really matters: sourcing the most qualified pool of applicants possible. Previously, using manual systems, initiatives managers would often be required to sift through hundreds of paper or PDF applications and categorize them one-by-one into spreadsheets. This process wasn’t just inefficient, but also introduced the possibility of human error, in which worthy applicants could potentially be overlooked, or in the worst case, their application lost entirely. Using OpenWater’s software negates this risk through the automatic categorization and collation of applications in one place, as they are submitted through an online portal. A search function also enables managers to search for specific qualifiers to ensure only worthy applicants make it through each stage of the awards screening process.
OpenWater’s offering doesn’t end at awards application management either, with the all-in-one software platform enabling users to collect, collate and review any type of application, while also providing the tools and resources necessary for online review. This means any type of application, from awards and grants, to abstracts and accreditation, can be managed easily in the cloud.
“OpenWater’s versatility is a point of pride. We have rigorously battle-tested our growth stack to ensure its capabilities in handling the most demanding application and review processes for any type of application. As such, we are confident in our software, as well as our team of developers and agents who work with clients to ensure our solution covers any function they need it for. We’ve been working so hard on the customer service front we have managed to achieve a satisfaction rating of 99.2 percent,” says Johar.
Customer service is a vital component of OpenWater’s comprehensive offering, with the company offering clients more than just software. In fact, their personalized customer service is what sets them apart from the competition, with a team of developers guiding clients through every step of the process: from planning and initial system build-out, to providing ongoing support throughout the client’s application management journey.
Service is taken a step further with their large, dedicated team of customer support representatives. The team’s size means each client has a dedicated, named agent handling their unique cases and queries, so users can build a productive, personable working relationship with their agent. The importance of educating their users is also emphasized as part of OpenWater’s offering, with a robust self-help center containing more than 300 articles, and a dedicated online course that features 24 hours of free training content so users can become experts in using the software.
This dedicated customer focus is something that Johar and Spell believe has driven the companies’ rapid growth, which has seen OpenWater grow 35 percent year on year, with Johar stating, “OpenWater’s comprehensive software, combined with our dedicated customer support team has driven our growth so far, and through building upon our current offering and continuing to dedicate ourselves to excellent customer service, our projections show this growth continuing through 2020 and beyond.”