Apricot by Social Solutions--Love it!
Updated May 11, 2021
Apricot by Social Solutions--Love it!
Score 8 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Apricot by Social Solutions
Apricot is being used by the executive, HR, director, managerial, and social work staff levels (including two administrator user slots). It was chosen to migrate data management from a non-integrated manual recordkeeping (paper file) system to an electronic database.
- Human service organizations are often required to provide efforts-to-outcomes reports for their stakeholders. There are different databases that can provide standard templates and query wizards that can be tailored for customized reporting, depending on size and needs of the organization. We chose Apricot because it fits the needs of smaller organizations. Our package came with both a small number of templates that are easily adaptable to required reporting forms, and the ability to create forms from scratch.
- As an administrator, I can easily save and publish forms and reports, and then view them either as administrator or as one of the user accounts without having to log off as administrator, which saves a lot of time and keystrokes.
- Apricot's online Help Center (tab available on user dashboard) is very comprehensive, offering, in addition to instructional articles, short, simple how-to videos for users and administrators. I have used them for myself and for training staff.
- Apricot is built on a "file folder" structure, using categories called profiles. Our main profile is for our clients. Each client has a profile with static demographic info (the "file folder"), and within that profile structure, forms are completed and filed for that client, easily searchable and accessible. If a complete, to-date historical record is needed for the client in a presentation format, everything for that client can be produced in with a simple menu command for that purpose.
- Reports can be created to include data across multiple profiles. Data is reported in real time as entered or updated. Data fields in the report can be filtered easily. No queries or wizards needed. Reports are accessed without need for third-party platforms. Graphic enhancements are very attractive and available during report-building.
- Administrators get a very thorough hands-on training through basic "boot camps" and additional follow-ups, depending on level of services purchased.
- I found it very easy to train staff down-line because of the navigational ease in Apricot's user dashboard. No way to get lost!
- Drag-and-drop features in right pallette of report-builder could be improved. Space is small for too many drop-down and scrolling options.
- Systems Field section on all forms could include more comprehensive historical data entry record. It currently includes the form creator and the latest user to update or edit data in the form (plus dates for same); would be useful to include latest two or three user edit/update records.
- Incorporate a true auto-populating feature, rather than a linking system beween records or profile data. Correcting, deleting, or revising data links when creating or revising forms has, at times, been confusing or complicated.
- As I am not part of the executive team, and staff became users in August, I cannot provide ROI dollar specifics, but I can report that the big objectives were (1) to cut down the time spent in handwritten and MS Office-based forms and change to one-time database entries and auto-updating reporting capabilities, and (2) have data reportable for stakeholders (executive team, directors, board members, state and local reporting agencies, private funders, and potential funders).
In the short amount of time Apricot has gone live for our organization, we have been able to convert 3 years of enrollment, education, and employment data for our clients into an aggregate report requested by one of our private funders in consideration for future grantmaking. We have also been able to import donation and event registration data from recent fundraising efforts for annual recordkeeping. Reported fundraising data can be beneficial for attracting potential funders.
This organization derives major reimbursement funding from state government support, with additional support from private funders. It is our desire to secure additional renewal funding from current private funders, in addition to newly-secured grants. Apricot has already provided our executives and directors with graph-enhanced reports (with very specific drilled-down data), presented to current funders who desired efforts-to-outcomes for our clients concerning their entries in our programs, graduation records, and employment histories. We were also able to further drill down high school data upon the funder's request. We are awaiting pending renewal of funding.
- Social Solutions ETO
The Social Solutions sales team actually suggested Apricot to this organization, based on its needs and SaaS contract cost. The other Social Solutions ETO software is more feature-laden and costlier than what was needed.
Apricot presents a manageable amount of record and reporting options for small service organizations that don't have large reporting or record-keeping needs of government or large government-partnering stakeholders. I have used both Apricot and Social Solutions ETO SaaS systems, so can speak from experience on the back end of report and record management. Apricot would probably be less appropriate for large institutions, where large aggregate data information may be queried under other parameters.
My current involvement with Apricot now includes entering data and reporting monthly to the executive director and his program directors on very specific milestones for the agency's participants concerning their medical appointments/practioners accountability, education, employment, and financial savings. The data comes from the program directors, and the statistics are both aggregated to their individual programs and to the total number of participants. By seeing the monthly results in graphs and percentages, the incentive to maintain sustained and/or improve outcomes in coming months is emphasized and encouraged. This reported information is also very valuable for licensing and accreditation reviews, and in attracting private foundation funding, which more and more requests to review outcome analytics.
The organization, like so many others in its state provider community, has had the blessings of the state medical authorities to follow somewhat relaxed HIPAA compliance measures for meeting with health and licensing agencies. This includes its participants meeting, if possible, with therapy specialists by telehealth and telephonic communications, through non-public facing media. This also includes regular licensing and accreditation surveys and audits. Regular licensing in-person visits will resume shortly, but regular data reporting will continue online through state website platforms. Apricot reports have not been required, but we definitely see the value in presenting aggregated data in easy to read reports when offered or requested. As the program directors meet online biweekly, how they serve their participants can definitely be impacted by reviewing monthly Apricot reports with them.
The last meeting held with program managers, emphasis was placed on the participants' financial savings habits and how that was being accounted for. Because visual is impactful, especially with graphs, the goal is now to get all savings data accounted for across all programs so that this particular milestone can be addressed regularly. We would like to see the participants on a healthy financial footing when they permanently leave any of the programs.
The most valuable Apricot features:
The most valuable Apricot features:
- Robust report designer that can utilize any tier fields
- Drilldown capabilities in both designing a report and in running a report
We pretty much built the forms and reports we needed from the organization's existing program forms, but in order to do so, we followed the standard Apricot tier platforms. We did examine and follow Apricot's built-in templates for form logic and to make our work as uncomplicated as possible. While we could be using Apricot for all forms data collection and reporting, the staff relies more on other reporting means for day-to-day case management. Summarized monthly data for individual overall goals is captured in Apricot. The highest impact has been in reviewing this aggregated monthly, summarized data for overall goal achievements and shortfalls.