Five Habits of a Strong ETO Administrator

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ETO Software by Bonterra Tech (previously Social Solutions) is powerful and configurable, but it can be hard to keep everything straight. This is especially true when you’re dealing with lots of forms, reports, and people.

ETO Administrators have a big job:

  • Training new users
  • Developing reports for everyone
  • Configuring/re-configuring,
  • Listening to user complaints


We’ve worked with hundreds of administrators, and noticed several traits that define high-performing administrators.  You can easily incorporate these habits into your regular weekly schedule:


#5: They Never Put a Form into ETO “As Is”

It happens all the time – a manager stops by your desk with new form and tells you, “we just received a new grant, and I wrote up a one pager that I want staff to fill out.”  The wise Administrator says, “No, but…”.

High-performing admins have a process they follow for making sure that new forms don’t duplicate what’s already in the system.  It’s not your managers’ and directors’ jobs to know how to configure Social Solutions ETO Software well; that’s up to you. It requires strong knowledge of the tools that are available.

The strong ETO administrator knows her system and can quickly analyze how a new requirement will fit into the overall structure.


#4: They Explore and Try New Things

  • New Referrals
  • Collections
  • Advanced TouchPoint Settings
  • Primary/Sub Forms
  • Dashboard Messages
  • Alerts and Workflow
  • ETO Results.  

Have you tried these functions?  While Alerts and Workflow are Add-on products (Social Solutions is currently offering a discounted bundle that we have heard good things about), all of these functions are critical components of a successful configuration.

If the administrator’s job is to choose which tool is right in a given situation, then you must be familiar with all of the tools at your disposal.  

Strong ETO administrators have built playgrounds in extra ETO Sites and Programs to try new things, and as a result, know which tool is right in any given situation.


#3: They Know When to Ask for Help and Get Trained

While experimenting with all the tools in ETO Software is highly recommended, doing so with real people and real programs can be problematic.  Configuring a program poorly can mean a lot more work down the road.  Equally as important, poor configuration can make reporting much more difficult.

The single most important investment for an organization using ETO Software is administrator and reporting training.  Strong ETO administrators both (a) know their own limits and (b) seek to expand their knowledge by getting the right training or consultation.  

Social Solutions offers a wide variety of training content.  When administrators reach a certain level of confidence, a consultant can make all the difference in getting to the next level of knowledge and skill.


#2: They Know How to Batch Upload

Perhaps ETO Software’s greatest feature is its robust Batch Upload tools.  Batch uploading (mass data uploads into ETO forms) can (a) extend ETO Software’s value (integrating with other systems and receiving batch updates from other data partners), (b) increase your internal options for collecting data (allowing users to track data in spreadsheets, then upload into ETO), and (c) allow a strong Administrator to fix large sets of data when data quality issues are identified.

Strong administrators know how to use Batch Upload to make the whole organization run well, and to fix user errors en masse.

And the Number One Trait of Strong Administrators…


#1: They Meet with EVERYONE…All the Time

The ETO administrator reports to the whole organizations.  The administrator must develop reports for everyone from the board and executive director, down to front-line staff, in addition to making sure that staff are using the system properly.

One of the biggest reasons that organizations fail with any data system (not just ETO), is failure to keep the system current.  Staff stop using certain forms and don’t tell anyone.  A manager doesn’t know to ask the administrator to make system changes.  Over time, the system becomes nearly useless, and communication is to blame.

Ensuring effective communication allows the ETO administrator to keep ahead of reporting and configuration problems. It also allows projecting confidence in ETO, which can make an enormous difference in data quality and usability.  Strong administrators set regular meetings with ALL programs and executives, asking what ETO can do better for them, from reports to workflow, and constantly look out for new requirements before they become emergencies.



Need help with your Apricot or ETO software?

Focus on what you do best and leave the data to us.

Treadwell is Bonterra’s (previously Social Solutions) only certified implementation partner for both Apricot and ETO software. Schedule a free consultation to learn how Treadwell can increase your impact and help you reach your goals.

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