Serenic Helps FHI 360 (formerly Family Health International) Lay Foundation to Efficiently Deliver Its Services Around the Globe
“First and foremost, FHI wanted a financial management system that incorporated fund accounting. Other criteria included handling multiple currencies, assisting with grant management, and servicing the organization’s diverse geographic network of offices and staffs with a single, standard system interface that simplified the training requirements. After evaluating several potential solutions, Serenic Navigator best met our requirements.”
– Ilona Sher, Director, Enterprise Project Management Office
Family Health International (FHI), a leading global health and development organization, improves the lives of the world’s most vulnerable families through its unique approach of delivering sustainable programs based on scientific research.
Since 1971, FHI continues to lead the global response to HIV/AIDS and is making major contributions to address reproductive health, malaria, tuberculosis, and other infectious and chronic diseases. Beyond immediate care and treatment programs, FHI engages staff scientists in research, testing, and developing new treatments to advance public health and development. FHI’s community-building and service delivery model responds to the most pressing and anticipated needs in developing countries.
FHI is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, N.C. With more than 2,300 employees working in over 55 countries, FHI is a partner of choice for funders, local governments, nongovernmental agencies, research institutions, and community-based groups.
In early 2007, FHI’s Global Shared Services team, including its finance, accounting, IT, contracts and grants, and human resources departments, embarked on an infrastructure improvement initiative. The team prioritized migrating all FHI offices to a new integrated accounting system, so the entire organization could view the figures and information more readily and easily.
“Our biggest challenges relate to where we do our work,” said Ilona Sher, director of FHI’s enterprise project management office. “Locations – ranging from Thailand and Ghana to Tanzania and Mozambique – have different infrastructures and capacities on a national level. Ongoing access to the Internet for email, programs and FHI tools is sometimes limited, which creates challenges for obtaining needed reporting, tracking and monitoring.”
According to Ilona Sher, director of FHI’s enterprise management office, “First and foremost, FHI wanted a financial management system that incorporated fund accounting. Other criteria included handling multiple currencies, assisting with grant management, and servicing the organization’s diverse geographic network of offices and staffs with a single, standard system interface that simplified the training requirements. After evaluating several potential solutions, Serenic Navigator best met our requirements.”
Since April 2007, FHI has rolled out Serenic Navigator in 10 of its offices. According to Sher, the migration to Serenic in the back office is laying the foundation over time for improvements that help drive efficiency for FHI. The organization’s commitment to the implementation includes weeklong training sessions for its 75+ users, which has produced the following returns on its investment:
Timely Data Access Strengthens Communication and Efficiencies.
Prior to implementing Serenic, FHI access to financial information from its offices was more labor intensive. As roll-outs continue across global sites, financial data is more accessible and timely.
Ability to Leverage Existing Equipment Limits Expenses.
Serenic allowed FHI to avoid spending extra money on new equipment, providing a savings to its funders. “One of the key factors in choosing Serenic was the ability to use the solution on existing computers in locations where we actually do our work around the world – without adding additional server hardware or software,” said Sher.
Modular Solution Enables Phased Roll-out.
FHI likes the ability to roll-out Serenic Navigator in “pieces” over the long-term to meet its limited capacity for implementation and training. “We can limit the amount of process changes we’re making yet still have an impact on the overall organization’s efficiency,” said Sher. This matched the FHI team’s philosophy to “go wide but not deep” to deliver new capabilities to all FHI countries, without enabling all of Serenic Navigator’s features at the start. Purchasing capabilities, for example, are currently available only in the United States and slated for future rollout to the field.
AwardVision Supports Ongoing Award Management.
FHI manages more than 300 awards that involve a variety of expenses, such as labor for services, travel, third-party contractors and local NGOs. The organization worked closely with Serenic to develop AwardVision for the market, and it plans to implement the module to provide a single repository for compliance information, program monitoring and financial data. Full Microsoft Office integration will make it easy to edit and store Word documents and import data to and from Excel.
“Our award tracking is very complex, and we look forward to moving to full use of the tremendous advance represented by this award management system” said Sher. “With the addition of AwardVision, we hope to make information more available.”