Open Government Partnership

Written byBjørn Koding

Open Government Partnership

In just two short months, Venn took international non-profit, Open Government Partnership, from limited and frustrated—to effortless, efficient, and effective.

Dedicated to promoting democracy around the globe, Open Government Partnership (OGP) had grown and thrived under the umbrella of its much-larger nonprofit fiscal sponsor. One of several projects piggy-backing on that organization’s digital ecosystem, OGP was ready to “leave the nest."

So, with the spin-off deadline looming large, OGP raced to get a robust accounting and CRM integration of its own, live, before hundreds of key partner contracts expired at year-end.  

The OGP team had identified Sage Intacct and Salesforce as the best platforms to support their operations across multiple countries and currencies but wanted their CRM implemented very differently than others they had used. So, when the two VARs OGP had narrowed their search to recommended Venn Technology as best qualified to tailor a system to meet their unique needs and wants, the introduction to Venn was made.

Together Venn and OGP spent a full day white-boarding the desired process architecture and, due to the imminent deadline, arrived at a strategic prioritization. The project was broken into three steps: a contract sprint, a revenue sprint, and an operational sprint. Clearly, if OGP couldn’t launch as an independent organization with signed partner contracts in place, that failure could have seriously compromised the organization’s credibility and reputation.

According to Judith McCormack, OGP's Director of Finance, “We had our own vision of how we wanted our scenario to work. We threw this 120-bullet wish list at Venn, and they told us what was realistic, suggested alternatives, and threw what-ifs at us, like: ‘What if we could save you money by doing it this way, instead?’” Added McCormack, “Working with Venn was educational—a true thought partnership.”

The system needed to be robust enough to support OGP’s far-flung staff—more than half operating outside the US—as well as dozens of multinational partners and contractors. At this point in the organization’s history, the system would have to track the multi-faceted financial contribution history of each of the 79 countries OGP had now grown to impact.

“The newfound, instant visibility into our data (instead of waiting weeks as before) was game-changing,” says Annora Borden, Grants Officer—adding “Venn was wonderful to work with. They met our impossible deadline, helped us build systems that meet our impossible needs, and earned deepest appreciation.”

Founded by eight government and nine civil society leaders from the United States, Brazil, India, South Africa, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom, —OGP was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive citizens.

Bjørn Koding

About the Author

Bjørn Koding

Bjørn hails from Tallinn, Estonia, and wears multiple hats here at Venn (mostly fur). He's got a knack for making the right connections and having the right conversations—which, in our business—is the name of the game. He's a blast to have around the office and brings a fresh new perspective to the party. Now, if we can only get him to leave the thermostat alone (55° is a tad low for us Texans).