December 21, 2010 § Leave a comment
Posted on behalf of Loretta Smith-Hawkins, Grants.gov PMO
Since accepting the first online applicant submissions in 2005, the Grants.gov program has experienced phenomenal growth in both visibility and rising submission rate that is a testimony to the original vision for Grants.gov. Grants.gov continues to provide a common face to the public for grants find and apply while delivering easy access to shared citizen services.FY 2010 was the year that application submissions surpassed the one-million mark before the close of the first quarter. Throughout the remainder of the fiscal year, monthly submissions rose continually to reach more than 250,000 by September 2010. Funding opportunities also increased significantly, reaching 4,374 as compared to 3,453 in FY 2009. Registered Authorized Organization Representatives (AORs) also rose from 201,040 to nearly 240,000.
Customer Contact Center reached new highs of effectiveness by reducing customer support cost through deflection of approximately 17,000 non-system-related calls and launching a Self Help Portal, iPortal on the Grants.gov website. The program achieved new FY 2010 benchmarks with remarkably high ratings from users of the system – the ultimate judges of our service delivery. Overall customer satisfaction was 96%, with ratings for courtesy, knowledge, and time to handle showing 97%, 95%, and 96% respectively.
Throughout the year, the Grants.gov PMO constantly reviews system technology and processes to evaluate current performance in order to determine ways to enhance system performance and improve customer service delivery. System releases, or builds, are implemented to support increased processing power that is required to effectively manage the upward trend in website traffic and rising application submissions.
The Grant.gov System Boost was implemented during the first and second quarters of FY 2010. Additional hardware and related software enhancements were deployed to further stabilize and increase the reliability of the Grants.gov production environment. Benefits from the Boost include increased capacity to support a high volume of grant application submissions; the ability to support a larger number of concurrent user sessions; and faster application processing. Additionally, test and training environments were established and augmented. As a result, Grants.gov was available to grantor agencies, grantees, and the public more than 99% of the time during the past year.
The Security Release was deployed on October 11, 2010 and its primary objective was to update the Grants.gov system to comply with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) security standards. This software release provides applicants with enhanced security features that include strengthened password requirements and 90-day password expiration. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Overviews of audience-specific information are available as follows:
- Applicant/Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) or Individual: www.grants.gov/securitybuild
- E-Biz POC: www.grants.gov/securitycommebiz
- Grantor: www.grants.gov/securitybuildcomm
Moving forward, Grants.gov will continue to focus on enhancement priorities to improve overall system performance, disaster recovery capabilities, and reduce operating cost. There are new challenges every year and new opportunities for even more productive collaborations with the 26 grant-making agencies, the Grants Executive Board/Grants Policy Committee, and the applicant community. Our fundamental goal is to ensure that our robust and diverse Grants.gov community of applicants and stakeholders continues to find, apply and succeed.