Getting the most bang for your buck from Apricot by Social Solutions
Updated July 31, 2020

Getting the most bang for your buck from Apricot by Social Solutions

Bill Payne | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

Apricot Core

Overall Satisfaction with Apricot by Social Solutions

The mission of Second Chance Program San Diego is to disrupt the cycles of incarceration and poverty by helping people find their way to self- sufficiency. Second Chance prides itself on the use of evidence-based practices in all our work. Our stakeholders want evidence that our programs positively impact individuals, families, and communities. Second Chance has chosen to use the Apricot data system. Our data system allows us to document, report on, and share how our efforts help us achieve the expected outcomes. Data is a crucial part of telling the Second Chance story of mission achievement. We also collect data for safety, accountability, and to measure progress.
  • Ease of Use + Ease of Configuration
  • System Flexibility
  • Highly Effective Support Team and Tools (Knowledge Base, Training, etc.)
  • Release management - surprise feature changes
  • Lack of proactive communications about the product and transparency
  • Timely development of features prioritized from customers
  • Data integration/integration with other data systems
  • Understanding the population we serve
  • Insights into our processes and practices
  • Contract compliance
  • Measuring outcomes and impact
What we have achieved with Apricot is the removal of a "barrier" between program operations and the agency's supporting functions, such as Development, Finance, Leadership, and the Board of Directors. For example, instead of a monthly manual data gathering exercise to report outputs, we have a real-time analysis of outputs, outcomes, and impacts that also rolls up into a live dashboard.

A similar example is a difference in compiling information used to respond to RFPs or to apply for grants. We are able to gather in minutes what used to take weeks, and the information is more meaningful and more accurate.

The improvements we've made to the quality of the services we deliver are equally meaningful. An example in this area is the way we've configured follow-up reminders for our Case Managers, which supports consistency and improves the quality of service delivery for our program participants.
A relevant example here would be the difference in the way we now compile information used to respond to RFPs or to apply for grants. We are able to gather in minutes what used to take weeks, and the information is more meaningful and more accurate. Because the information is all in Apricot, we are able to better support fundraising efforts. The mechanisms we use to do that are detailed below.

Our programs start with a pipeline of demand that comes from different sources. Our first step is to record the status and history of potential program participants and to perform an initial assessment to enroll those most likely to gain the benefit from our programs.

Once participants are enrolled, our family services work towards outputs that contribute to disrupting the cycles of poverty and incarceration. Our second step is to record details about our service delivery so that we can provide service to the very best of our ability.

We measure results by tracking the output of our programs, recording details about each participant’s program completion. We also measure results by performing assessments against our participant’s progress, which yield changed circumstances and different behaviors. This gives us an opportunity to compare our population of participants to statistics or benchmarks to understand the difference our outcomes have produced. The final step of measuring the impact of our services over time requires longer-term assessments.

There were four primary risks that we managed in the procurement and implementation of this software system:

  • The first and primary risk was failing to meet the
    agency’s requirements for a data system at the right total cost.
  • The second risk was incurring high procurement,
    implementation, and operational costs.
  • The third risk was requiring duplicate data entry
    into external data systems and the proposed internal data system.
  • And the fourth risk was obligating the agency to unfavorable terms and conditions.
Our mitigation of these risks began with focusing on software-as-a-service (SaaS, or cloud-based) systems. To further mitigate risks we also performed an extensive analysis of the agency’s needs and the capabilities of the vendor’s systems. Our analysis included identifying and documenting the processes and outcomes that must be supported by a new data system. We also identified the external systems in use and included data import/export capabilities in our evaluation criteria. Out of the ten initial candidate systems we identified through research and industry knowledge, we were able to choose four finalist systems. Out of those four, Apricot progressed to the final selection process.
Apricot (Core) will deliver a faster time-to-value for organizations that enjoy a higher level of process and data management maturity. This is because of its flexibility and almost infinite form configurations and design capabilities. On common maturity scales such as CMM-I, a Level 3+ organization will achieve a faster implementation and time to value than a Level 1 or 2 organization.

However, that does not limit Apricot Core to organizations that are more mature in the areas of process and data management maturity. With sufficiently thought-out organizational change management (OCM), implementation, and sustaining strategies, Apricot Core can be a catalyst to transform an agency into a data-driven and evidence-based organization.

It is worth putting emphasis on the need for well-thought-out OCM and sustaining strategies for the system. The system has the flexibility to support any workflow. With sufficient organizational change management and the right sustaining strategy, it will enable cohesive continuous improvement in standardizing and organizing the infrastructure to support your organization's goals.

If, however, the organization is not willing to commit to investing in these strategies, Apricot Core might not be the right platform. This is primarily why I've rated it a 7 out of 10 on how likely I am to recommend it to a colleague.