Rhode Island School of Design Uses Baldrige Criteria to Analyze, Select Software

Administrators at the Rhode Island School of Design use the Baldrige criteria to re-engineer their budget process. The criteria lead the university to new software that ties the budget to the strategic plan, increases fiscal accountability organization-wide, and offers deep, intuitive functionality.

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“When a client asks how your product will help achieve the goals of a strategic plan, it’s a different game than being asked what features you deliver." Lawrence Serven, XLerant Founder

Providence, RI/Norwalk, CT (PRWEB) April 18, 2012

Skip the features wars and “shiny object” traps that create quagmires when buying new software. The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has found a better way to select a mission-critical budgeting program by applying the seven criteria of the Malcolm Baldrige framework.

Instead of scouring the web to capture buzzwords and features that sound important, RISD leaders looked at a broader picture. They assessed how their budgeting process supports or hinders the nimble pursuit of the college’s strategic plan, and considered what department leaders can or cannot achieve using traditional Excel spreadsheets.

“As an institution serious about quality and fiscal accountability and determined to remain a national leader, we need intuitive, deep functionality in our budgeting software,” said Linda Murphy Church, RISD budget director.

“We need the entire campus to be highly engaged in the budget process. Our goal is to give them the tools to budget for those initiatives that support an aggressive, evolving, strategic plan. The Baldrige criteria gave us great confidence in choosing the software that would meet those needs.”

Lawrence Serven, founder of XLerant, the company that created the BudgetPak software Murphy Church and her team eventually implemented, said the RISD selection process using the Baldridge criteria was the most thoughtful and relevant he’s seen.

“When a client asks how your product will help achieve the goals of a strategic plan, it’s a different game than being asked what features you deliver,” he said.

“With the Baldridge criteria, you can’t hide behind gee-whiz programming. You have to prove that scores of people creating individual parts of an overall budget can do so easily, while more effectively than ever before. You have to prove they can align their budgets with organizational goals and have the tools to support change when opportunities fall in importance or arise unexpectedly.”

Serven notes that most organizational leaders make major software purchase decisions just a few times in their careers. Rarely are they software experts, and rarely do they know all the details of what’s available vs. what they need. “We all just want something that works…”

A recent webinar led by Murphy Church and Lawrence Serven, founder of XLerant, about using the Baldridge criteria to evaluate software is available at http://www.xlerant.com/news/Webinars.aspx
About Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned an international reputation as the leading college of art and design in the United States. Approximately 2,400 students from around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 studio majors. RISD is known for its phenomenal faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on, studio-based approach to learning– one in which critical thinking informs making works by hand. Required courses in the liberal arts provide an essential complement to studio work, enabling graduates to become critical and informed individuals eager to engage with the world. Through the accomplishments of its 26,000 alumni, the college champions the vital role artists and designers play in satisfying the global demand for innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum of Art help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit http://www.risd.edu orour.risd.edu

About XLerant
XLerant is a software solutions company that builds and implements innovative, practical, and incredibly powerful corporate budget preparation software for mid-sized and large organizations, energizing a "Culture of Budget Accountability" among users. The company has a dedicated focus on higher education.
XLerant's premiere budgeting and planning application, BudgetPak, replaces spreadsheet-based budgeting and provides maximum user flexibility and financial controls. Improved communication, greater ownership of the numbers and increased transparency enable organizations to better manage financial performance throughout the fiscal year.
Contact: Lawrence Serven, XLerant, Inc. Phone: 203.883.4381


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  • Sherry Knight
    XLerant Inc.
    734-944-0704
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