SaaS To The Rescue

On-demand software changed the Humane Society's IT strategy for the better. Can it do the same for your organization?

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

May 16, 2008

2 Min Read

Our senior director of member loyalty, conferences, and events pushed for more automation in her group, which has been especially affected by new initiatives to increase contributions and interaction with members. E-mail has been the group's lifeblood, and an uptick in membership activity caused messages to swamp employees' in-boxes. Although the increased volume was affecting response time, it didn't make financial sense to add staff to answer routine queries such as address or name changes. A push for more automation resulted in the addition of SaaS applications for event management, gift matching, and member support.

SaaS will help ease the burden of routine e-mail with an on-demand customer service solution. The system selected will be integrated with the Humane Society's Web site to provide a self-service customer portal, which is backed by a knowledge base for instant responses to a wide range of typical questions from members and even our own staff. A built-in query-ticket system allows unique questions from members to flow through customized rules and filters for faster response. The membership department is working closely with our online communications department to ensure seamless integration of the SaaS application into our Web site. Deployment will take about four months.

Humane Society events also are an important mechanism for member interaction. Planning and managing them used to be a labor-intensive manual process, so we deployed another SaaS application to automate tasks such as event e-mail marketing, online registration, payment processing, and reporting. The process of deployment took about one month. For fund raising, we're implementing a SaaS gift-matching service for our Web site to help donors instantly know if their employers will match a gift, how much the employer will contribute, and related procedures to process the funds.

Cost-consciousness is in our DNA, so we'll continue to consider SaaS for deployment of new applications and replacement of old ones. SaaS is our future, and it has earned its place as a technology-delivery path for improving our business.

Beverly Magda is CIO and director of information systems and technology at the Humane Society of the United States.

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