If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck … it must be The Raiser’s Edge!

The Raiser’s Edge version 8 revolution is coming (in 2010 we hear).

Using an all-new ‘Infinity’ platform based on Microsoft’s .net technology, Blackbaud’s flagship product will be transformed into an open and accessible tool that integrates with a growing range of third party solutions, especially online tools.

When (and if) existing users choose to accept the upgrade to version 8 they will automatically adopt the new technology, but to ease this transition it will be built to look and feel (and quack) much like the current beloved product.

But the big change comes for larger players. The same Infinity platform will be used for a new product called Enterprise CRM. This will enable Blackbaud customers to mix and match different solutions to suit the needs of the whole organisation – including back office, local branches, head office, web, service delivery, marketing – all in one joined up architecture.

This is important because it takes a big step towards the holy grail of the 360-degree customer view and total relationship management. In future, you will be able to look at an individual and see not only their recent donations and communications preferences but also their history of services used, online interaction and any other relevant links to your organisation.

Our sources at Blackbaud liken their new technology to lego!  Buy the simple model and it comes out just like the picture on the box; buy the big kit and you can build it the way you want.  Crucially, it all fits together all the time.

“Bring it on” I hear you cry!  But Blackbaud are not planning to launch these new products until they have credible anchor clients up and running successfully.  We have all read that Oxford University is the first high profile early adopter, and we hear that others are likely to be announced in the next few weeks.