Bryan Newsome of the Comdyn Group provided a successful process automation of Apparo’s tech maturity model resulting in 30 staff hours saved annually.
Apparo transforms the community and improves lives by connecting local nonprofits to technology expertise and resources that amplify their impact. They provide services to the nonprofit community through both internal Apparo resources and external skilled volunteer resources. Apparo offers tech therapy and community impact project to nonprofits to help them reach their technology goals.
As part of Apparo’s work with nonprofits, a Technology Maturity Model is completed. The tech maturity model provides nonprofits with a high-level snapshot of their current technology state. Once completed by the nonprofit, the assessment results display a scale of ratings ranging from deficient to strategic on various factors. The completed model allows the nonprofit to consider where to focus their energy and resources.
The tech maturity model, originally used only for community impact projects (CIP), required manual work to generate the report (color-coded house). At the beginning of each CIP, a SurveyMonkey survey was sent to each nonprofit to fill out, then a member of Apparo’s Client Services team manually aggregated the data to build the report and share with the nonprofit. This process would take an hour or two on average.
Jennifer Ray led the effort with a team of Apparo colleagues to explore how to further automate the tech maturity assessment process, not only to save staff time, but also to make it easier and more efficient for nonprofits to use.
A Dedicated Volunteer
In 2019, Bryan Newsome of the Comdyn Group created a custom application for Loaves and Fishes. For that project, Newsome volunteered to build out a software program, allowing them to serve more people. When Apparo’s team considered taking the tech maturity online as part of the process automation, they immediately thought of Newsome. They met with Newsome in May of 2022, and he agreed to build out the model for Apparo.
Process Automation Goals
When Apparo’s team started thinking about the tech maturity model’s process automation, they had several goals in mind:
- Minimize manual work for the staff
- Generate the report (color-coded house) immediately
- Include a legend
- Include nonprofit answers to assessment questions
- Make it easy to retake after nonprofits engaged in improvement activities, providing comparison over time
When Newsome met with Apparo’s team in May of 2022 they discussed the goals, and he agreed to build out a whole new solution. He built a test version of the maturity model in his own system but designed it to be housed in Apparo’s Azure database. Newsome taught Apparo’s Jennifer Ray and Todd Reavis how to edit and maintain the model. With the online solution, they were able to meet their automation goals.
In the new system, a nonprofit is sent a link to Apparo’s tech maturity model site. Once they have registered on the site and completed the assessment, they automatically receive their results. Both Apparo staff and nonprofit participants are able to access the tech maturity results by logging onto the site. The new system can be used on any device with internet connectivity, including mobile phones.
Process Automation Results
As a result of the tech maturity model’s process automation, Apparo is saving 30 hours annually in staff time. The time savings made it practical to use the tool with more nonprofits. Due to the improved process, the tech maturity model is now being used in Tech Therapy engagements, giving Apparo staff an overview of a nonprofit’s current technology state. This also allows Apparo to collect more data and begin the process of assessing trends over time across all nonprofits served. This fiscal year alone, 60 nonprofits have completed the tech maturity model.
Since completing the process automation for the tech maturity model, nonprofits and Apparo have been happy with the updated process. Ray of Apparo also had kind words for the volunteer, Bryan Newsome, who made it all happen. “Newsome has such a deep expertise in software development. He is so cognizant of seeing the bigger picture inside the question we are asking. Newsome will take that question and say, ‘Have you considered XYZ?’ He offered ideas about how we may use this information. He helped us expand our thoughts about gathering data. He offered really good ideas on how to make a positive end-user experience. This helped us make important decisions about how our nonprofit clients would interact with the system.” The tool is easy-to-use, and the nonprofits have expressed appreciation at receiving the results immediately.
Newsome found meaning in his work as a skilled volunteer for Apparo. “We were thrilled to work with Apparo on another project. It is heartwarming to know that this project will be able to help many other nonprofits in the area. Our company and staff look forward to working with Apparo. Apparo provides us with such amazing opportunities to use our skills in software and integrations to give back in very meaningful ways and make an impact,” he shared after the completion of the project.