Removing Manual Entry & Streamlining Proposal Routing with Cayuse SP
At Rice University (Rice) routing research proposals among department administrators and principal investigators (PIs) was time consuming and inefficient. For years, everything was done on paper and organized through cover sheets. To get the required signatures for approval and submission, proposals had to be walked around campus and returned to the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), where they were logged in at the front desk and reviewed. Any changes to these proposals were sent out via email, and the proposals themselves were re-entered, line-by-line, into FastLane, Grants.gov, or other sponsors’ forms for submission. If any required documents were missing, OSR staff members had to circle back with everyone involved to track down necessary documents. Finally, in the evenings, an OSR staff member entered all the day’s proposals into Banner® by Ellucian, the university’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.
Rice is a U.S. News & World Report top 20 research institution receiving around $120 million in awards a year, and has several research-intensive departments, including the schools of natural sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences, architecture, and music as well as on-campus institutes like the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Jones Business School and the Glasscock School for Continuing Studies. Routing paper around campus and entering data twice was wasting time and complicating the submission process, so administrators and faculty were shying away from more complicated—and lucrative—funding opportunities. Rice needed an electronic solution to manage its sponsored projects.
In September 2012, Rice selected Cayuse SP, a proposal life cycle management solution from Cayuse, for its ease of use and quick implementation. Rice soon began converting its legacy data and by April 2013, the Cayuse SP system was fully implemented.
When Cayuse SP was first rolled out campus-wide, the OSR encouraged users to learn how to use the system through resources such as a dedicated training website with videos and screenshots, and a dedicated full-time trainer. Because Cayuse SP is so intuitive and user-friendly, many PIs only needed to watch the training videos to learn the system. Without an enforced mandate, Cayuse SP quickly became the system of choice. OSR tracked the amount of proposals that came in on paper for manual input into the system versus electronic proposals created, and found that within five months of rollout, 100% of Rice’s users were employing the new system.
Without an enforced mandate, Cayuse SP quickly became the system of choice.
The benefits of using Cayuse SP were felt almost immediately. Academic department staff members no longer had to hand-deliver proposals to multiple offices across campus or chase down signatures. Faculty and department administrators saw an immediate reduction in stress and time now that managing the proposal life cycle was straightforward and less demanding. OSR staff members were also saving considerable hours every day now that they no longer had to use a paper-based system for award management as well as data entry of proposal and award information into Banner®.
Rice also reduced unnecessary, repetitive data entry by implementing Cayuse’s Data Connect and HR Connect integration modules, which keep both Cayuse SP and Banner®, up-to-date. Prior to the Cayuse SP implementation, OSR staff had to manually enter all proposal data into Banner®, but with integration modules, everything that is entered into Cayuse SP automatically transfers to Banner®.
With an electronic proposal management solution in place, Rice can now trust that its proposals and ERP data are up to the minute and dependable. Without the old administrative strain on proposals, PIs, faculty members, and OSR employees can instead focus on writing successful grants and expanding Rice University’s research.