Guest Post: Angie Stapleton, The Helen Brown Group
It’s funny how quickly we become accustomed to our favorite resources. It doesn’t take long before we know where each bit of helpful information is kept, which buttons to click, and which tabs we’ll spend a little extra time with while we’re compiling research for our organizations.
To be truthful, if it’s a good resource, we rarely have to think about the platform at all. We just do the work we love to do and compile, analyze and dissect the data the platform provides.
Inevitably, there comes a day when one of our favorite platforms announces that upgrades are coming. An announcement like this makes even the optimists think, ‘Oh, please don’t ruin this!’.
I feel a little silly admitting this was my exact first thought when iWave announced they were making changes. Over the past few months, our team has had the opportunity to review their new platform and – spoiler! – it is the same wonderful iWave we have all grown to love and depend on – but somehow even better.
The homepage for the new iWave platform is a fresh, modern dashboard sectioned into 360search, iWave Profiles, Get Score and iWave Screening. While these are the same offerings that were available in the previous version, the new layout brings each feature front and center.
360search – If you’re a researcher like me, you likely spend most of your time within 360search. The good news here: the data remains intact and the information layout is largely unchanged, so it still feels very comfortable. The better news: our team has been very pleased with the functionality upgrades!
First and foremost, searches run significantly faster. The presentation of information is cleaner and clearer, which makes it easier to read and easier on the eyes if you’re looking at data for a significant period of time. The optimized screen makes it much easier to use the platform on a tablet or split-screen on a laptop, which results in less scrolling and increased efficiency. Lastly, clicking on Search Results now produces tabs. This means less of going back to your original search screen because you can have multiple results open at once. This is particularly helpful when switching between an individual and a company or when confirming multiple holdings (like with real estate or stock holdings).
iWave Profiles and Get Score – As with the previous version of iWave, the new platform allows the user to create customizable prospect profiles. The profiles still allow you to adjust confidence scores and input an individual’s giving to your organization so you have better control over results. However, this iteration of the platform also increases the prominence of the Get Score feature, which offers a quick analysis of a prospect’s propensity, affinity, and capacity to give. Even though this was available in the previous version, it feels like a new feature because it’s seamlessly integrated into the profiles and screening functions.
iWave Screening – The iWave upgrade can really be felt in iWave Screening. The new process is extremely intuitive (even for non-data people!), allows the user to customize scoring for individual projects, and produces output that is easy to use and manipulate for further analysis. And although it’s also available in the older version, the new screening format feels a lot more streamlined and intuitive.
Perhaps the biggest change during this upgrade is the one least noticed upon first use. While the actual data in iWave remains unchanged, the update did allow iWave to build out the back end of their platform. In their launch video, VP Marketing Jill McCarville says, “This is going to mean faster results. It’s going to mean more reliable results. But, it’s also going to mean more data in the future, faster feature functionality innovation, and more integrations.” And that, my friends, is music to this researcher’s ears!
While, of course, I’m glad it’s prettier, more intuitive, and faster, I’m most excited to see what this recent platform rollout means for the potential of new datasets. Much to its credit, iWave has consistently proved as a company that they are interested in deepening the quality of the product and data they offer. They’ve done this through their own innovations (such as the introduction of VeriGift) and partnerships (such as the recent integration of RelSci data). Because of this track record, I have no doubt that they are already at work thinking of upcoming data enhancements – and more data is always a good thing!
Since iWave is a valuable tool in the nonprofit industry, it’s no surprise our team was excited when iWave asked our team to serve as beta testers during platform development. We were able to provide active feedback and saw our suggestions as implemented before launch. As a long-time partner with iWave, we appreciate the active feedback loop they set-up and that kind of partnership with end-users.
Now, obviously you can tell that I love the new iWave interface, but I thought you might like to hear opinions from a few others on the HBG team:
“I think iWave has done a great job making their platform more intuitive and easier to use in a variety of ways. In particular, the screening platform and process is much more streamlined and efficient. As someone who works on analytic and screening projects with our clients, iWave’s offering of Recency-Frequency-Monetary analysis and their Insight features can be hugely helpful for prioritization of prospects. I’m excited to get to use this new iteration of iWave moving forward!” – David Hargadon
“The product’s new interface and navigation is much more streamlined, cleaner, and more intuitive than the previous version – and the fact that it is now responsive and easy to view on a mobile device is great for people who may be on the road and not in front of a computer!
My new favorite tool is the “Get Score” feature – which is front and center on the homepage when you log in. What a super, quick way to get a snap capacity rating on someone, if you are short on time or just want a quick assessment to then build on and massage a bit through further research. I also love that the product’s ratings and scores continue to be so customizable, depending on your organization. Within your account, you can update your scoring preferences, adjust the capacity ratings (because what constitutes a “major gift” at your organization may not be the same as another), and change the assigned weight of propensity, affinity, and capacity in determining a prospect’s total score.
Finally, I am so happy that the 360search and all of the same crucial data sets are still there (I rely on them heavily in my research work) – but they have also been redesigned a bit and are much more pleasing to the eye.” – Tara McMullen-King
“The new format is much cleaner, clearer and less clunky than the old version. I particularly like that you can link to Google Maps from property records. I find that very useful, especially since I deal with property mostly in New York and it’s helpful to see what neighborhoods they are in.” – Mandi Matz
“iWave’s Screening feature is so useful because it can handle large lists (even more than 100,000 names), allowing the user to segment and analyze different results for affinity, capacity, and propensity. It is easy to find the input file template and the new layout makes it a very simple process. I like that subscribers get screening credits automatically, allowing them to try out the feature without having to get a separate budget request approved.” – Jayme Klein
“I like the look of [the new iWave] and the way it presents search results. It’s cleaner and more pleasing to the eye. I really hope there will be new sources added to their capabilities. I’m a big fan of iWave in general. They keep trying to improve and remain relevant in ways that other resources don’t.” – Grace Chandonnet
So now, we’d love to hear from you! For those who are already using the new iWave, what are your favorite features? Do you have any tips and tricks for others just trying it out? If so, leave them in the comments!