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Five Trends in the Modernization of Government Grants Management

Jason Adolf, Industry Vice President - Global Public Sector
June 18, 2020

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an unprecedented outpouring of government lending and stimulus. One interesting thread to follow is how the government accounts for this money, as taxpayers demand efficient spending and accountability.

Appian has worked with many federal, state, and local government agencies on large scale grants management programs and modernization efforts, helping them find a better way to work with efficiency, transparency, and accountability.

The Appian Grants Management solution provides end-to-end functionality, from application intake through close-out. The Appian platform modernizes government grants management systems, including grant applications, awards, financial reporting, progress reporting, monitoring, auditing, and close-out.

In the interview below, Jason Adolf, Appian Industry VP – Global Public Sector, talks with Alexis Kane, one of Appian’s grants management experts, who has spent a significant amount of time working with government customers.

What are the biggest grants management pain points for government agencies?


Alexis Kane: A lack of performance reporting and multiple disparate systems.  Government Executive magazine recently surveyed both grantees and grantors. About 35% of grantees said that they had no database for reporting and that they still relied on email reporting. Even more alarming, half of the grantors surveyed said that they cannot measure the performance of their grant programs. Appian addresses these issues with robust reporting capabilities and no-code integration with third-party business intelligence applications. Customers can connect the dots, tracking overall usage of grant money, funds remaining, performance metrics, and reporting schedules.

Our customers also grapple with disparate systems. Many agencies navigate multiple systems through the numerous steps of the grants management process. This is an inefficient use of time that frustrates both grantors and grantees. Appian empowers users to take data from any system and bring up all the information they need in a single unified view, from application details to award overviews.

What capabilities are most important for Appian’s government customers?


Alexis Kane: Performance reporting resonates the most. After grants are awarded, agencies need to see how the money is being used, remaining funds, transaction history, and much more. Performance reporting is critical for tracking award performance over time. Appian can quickly and easily produce reports in real time using data from our platform and other systems, as well as enable agencies to create performance graphics and dashboards for grant programs.

Furthermore, performance reporting using forms like the SF-425 requires a great deal of manual data entry. Appian automates this stage with Appian robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI). Appian’s Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) uses machine learning and AI to automatically read documents and accurately extract data. With IDP, agencies are able to quickly automate document workflows, enabling high-volume processing of different document types. This is a valuable application for document-heavy processes, like grants management, with cumbersome manual tasks.

What does the future of grants management look like?


Alexis Kane: It is important for federal agencies to invest in digital transformation and grants management modernization, and now is the time to do this. Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, grants are more important than ever for citizens, businesses, and state and local governments. Grantors and grant recipients need a platform that will unify their data and provide performance reporting tools for tracking an award throughout the grants management lifecycle.

Contact us if you would like to see an Appian grants management demonstration. The demo features highlights from the Appian solution for federal, state, and local government agencies, including:

  • AI to streamline the performance reporting process and document extraction for parsing critical program information
  • Ad-hoc amendment changes for configuring modifications on the fly and updating changes in real time
  • Schedule generation that automatically populates performance reporting schedules and accounts for government holidays