Client Success Story

National Academies of Sciences
We were engaged to recommend a Software as a Service (SaaS) project/program management tool to replace the National Academies of Sciences’ core IT systems for grant management. Included in the scope was a stand-alone Prosci® Fundamentals of Change Management training.

Business Problem

Improving, standardizing, and changing the way their staff operates.

The National Academies of Sciences (NAS) was facing an end-of-life situation with its existing MS Access solution and wanted to use the opportunity to improve their staff’s ability to work with consistency, at scale, and from anywhere. This was a high change project for NAS, as they move to standardize process and a tool suite among their 3 programs and roughly 60 staff. 

Our Approach

We entered this software selection stage with requirements in hand from our prior Phase 1 work. We approached this phase of the project by splitting the work into the following stages:

Market Research

For market research, Navigator tapped into a variety of research including Gartner, Google, and Navigator domain knowledge. We identified two software categories where the software could provide sufficient coverage of the client’s requirements. 

Product Identification

Navigator identified 28 Program & Project Management (PPM) and 16 Grant Management (GRM) software products. Using elimination criteria including foreign ownership, hosted-only solutions, company financial viability, and marketing material review, we narrowed the product list to 10 PPM and 5 GRM vendors.

Software Evaluation

Next, we created a vendor survey to gather information from interested vendors. The survey included questions on: company background information, functional requirements fit and technical requirements fit. We also asked vendors to provide an approximate cost of ongoing operations for their particular licensing model to identify whether the solution would be affordable. 

Evaluation Continued

​Navigator then led an evaluation of the four selected vendors’ software demonstrations. To prepare the vendors, we created a series of seven short scenarios/vignettes based on the software requirements and asked the vendors to structure their presentations around these vignettes. Vendors were graded on their ability to accomplish the requirements, as shown in the demo scenarios.


Vendors were ranked based on scoring and one vendor stood out, having the highest score in all but 2 categories and an advantageous pricing model for the client’s requirements. The client accepted Navigator's recommendation Navigator’s recommendation and we proceeded to contract negotiations.  

Contract Negotiation

Navigator vetted the Master Services Agreement and the implementation services agreement, identified risks, and obtained discounts and credits for the client by positioning the sale just prior to year end. The client executed the purchase two weeks ahead of schedule and prior to year end. 


The contract was signed two weeks ahead of schedule, surprising the client who did not believe that the project schedule was feasible or that they could make a decision in this timeframe. The National Academies of Sciences brought key users onto the evaluation team, which helped communicate their decisions and prepare them for change. Navigator was asked to stay on to help deliver the third phase of the project which is the implementation of the PPM software.