RETHINKING MAJOR DONORS COMMUNICATIONS SOFTWARE FROM THE GROUND UP (AGAIN)
We’ve been on a long, twisting, and enlightening road. We started this venture to build major donor communications software that supports front-line fundraisers in cultivating human-to-human relationships. Along the way, we expanded our vision to include stewardship and donor relations. Soon thereafter, we recognized that we were not building a platform for one seat or one perspective — we had built a platform that fused together the “digital advancement office.”
While the result of building as we went has worked, it has had a natural, but not ideal consequence: layer upon layer of modifications, replacements, re-organizations, compromises, and additions led to unnecessary complexity in our codebase. Add to this that cloud computing and the tools used to achieve it are in a constant state of improvement, and we felt like passengers on a runaway train.
So we asked ourselves a fundamental question: How could we leap beyond these challenges to ensure that we are positioned to ever expand the value we deliver to our clients?
Our first step was to set in stone what we won’t change. We are an enterprise tool built to engage donors and prospects at the top of the gift pyramid. This means never abandoning the deeply-branded, hyper-customized approach to building each client system. It also means that, while we could simplify them, we would not reconceive the workflows our clients have come to appreciate and use every day.
Holding these principles firm and working from the ground up, we set about to completely rebuild our application in order to…
- Upgrade the core technology stack the application runs on. We settled on react.js for the front end, served by a multitude of API microservices on the back end. This combination opens a very wide horizon of future integrations across our clients’ digital ecosystems (from CRMs to DAMs).
- Address a critical set of roadmap objectives to improve our clients’ capabilities, workflows, and collaborations. If interested, we would be happy to walk you through what will be specifically addressed in the new version of Ovrture (schedule here).
- Radically improve the nimbleness of our technology to adapt to new requirements and opportunities. By simplifying our application, we will deploy changes faster, more holistically, and with greater confidence.
So where are we? We have been quietly, yet doggedly, pursuing the above for the past nine months (see teaser screenshots above). We are approximately 80% of the way through and will deploy the new application (with existing clients’ systems, data, and outputs in place) by the end of 2022. We absolutely cannot wait to show you what we are building and, even more importantly, to deploy it to our production environment in the near future.
From the Japanese words “kai-,” which means “change,” and “-zen,” which means “good,” Kaizen is known by some as “The Toyota Way.” We’ve adopted “Kaizen” as our Ovrture rallying cry, encouraging our entire team to strive for continuous improvement in building ever better major donor communications software.