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OpenWater Reviews

Reviews Summary

Pros

They put a great deal of effort into understanding our business needs to help us build programs that best take advantage of all the robust tools available through the platform.

Greg O.

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In our organization the greatest asset for this software is the ability to host multiple sites. We're able to put application opportunities on separate secure platforms, each for different audiences.

Elle C.

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The implementation was very fast and customer service is amazing. I have never before worked with a vendor that is this responsive.

Maria A.

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Cons

Sometimes the UI/UX is a little weird (Settings vs Manage? I still don't understand the difference). Eventually, with enough use, you can intuit how the system works.

Sarah M.

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There are a lot of features, but they can be difficult to find, because they are hidden down different rabbit holes. It's not always intuitive to use.

Brock R.

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Sometimes updating the website portion is difficult and you do need to know how to code/html coding.

Amanda B.

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Overall rating

4.8

(41)

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41 reviews

recommended

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Great service and even better support.

Reviewed 3 years ago

It reduces the amount of time and effort it takes to run a program and extract the data collected.

Pros

It is extremely configurable and the company is very responsive to the needs of the customer. They have added features and functionalities that were not available so that they could suit our needs.

Cons

Some of the native reporting features could use improvement but were created for us at our request. It would be nice to be able to duplicate entries from a 2 step program into a 1 step program.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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A very adaptable solution.

Reviewed a year ago
Pros

We weren't actively looking for a contest management solution but a Sales representative reached out to gauge our interest in OpenWater, after hearing about our Construction Intern Awards scholarship program. Up until that point we had been using Wordpress to manage this competition, which included a lot of manual maintenance, popular voting plugins, a bulky media gathering process, entry content display...

Cons

Our contest is set up in a pretty unconventional way (weekly popular vote-based contests combined with a separate traditional scholarship application), and OpenWater has done a good job of keeping up with our requests. There are several smaller, nit-picky things about the popular vote functionality that could be improved but it's still better than what we were doing before. Another factor that we've had to work around is the fact that the contest dashboard looks the same for everyone who visits the dashboard, regardless of user type (applicant/judge/voter), which can be confusing for some users.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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We love OpenWater

Reviewed 19 days ago

Overall, we love our experience with OpenWater and everything has been very positive. We highly recommend the product.

Pros

My organization has been using OpenWater for a little over a year and it has been a life-saver for our company. We love it! It is easy to teach yourself things, and admin can reach out to customer service for calls and for help. There are many help articles. You are able to have applications, judging, and surveys. Open Water is very versatile.

Cons

While Open Water is easy to navigate and teach yourself, it is also very intricate. There are so many things that can be done in Open Water and so many different ways to do them that sometimes it is difficult to teach others how to use the program.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend7/10

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Working Well with Multiple Departments

Reviewed 2 years ago

My company is using OpenWater to accept grant application submissions from individual faculty. Other departments also use the platform to accept student fellowship and volunteer applications. Overall we are able to do what we need, however there is no easy way to reveal blinded submissions for judging rounds. We're still in the building stages- and we like that we can build one round at a time instead of needing to have the judging settings set up before accepting applications.

Pros

In our organization the greatest asset for this software is the ability to host multiple sites. We're able to put application opportunities on separate secure platforms, each for different audiences.

Cons

The round options and judging settings are not automatically user-friendly. Another staff member had to spend some time explaining the features in detail before anyone from my team could use the product. For instance it isn't clear that the open round automatically has judging set up based on which program type is selected. And there is no testing feature- in order to test the application portal you must open the submission round. We also had to switch which staff would have super-user status since only two are allowed.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Makes our members happy!

Reviewed a year ago

OpenWater has been very pleasing for membership. It solved several of our issues: 1. We needed a software that would tie into our database. 2. We wanted to be able to perform membership renewals with pre-filled data so that our members would not have to redo much if anything. 3. Allow members to stop and start without losing data. 4. Allow new data that was entered to flow back into our database. We can now do all of this at a great rate and without a ton of hassle. I love that integration was not a long drawn out process either. The team at OpenWater worked well with our integration team and got us up and running in no time. It was helpful to have a couple of our programs created by OpenWater and then handed over to us after training as well.

Pros

I like that we CAN integrate this software into our database and have our users log in using their credentials used in our site and have some fields pre-populated.

Cons

The multiple ways to access the emails and the judging settings. It would be easier to have a main area on the dashboard of the admin panel and be able to tie the information to a program. Would like to eliminate the number of places to remember to go set up. It also does not tie into our database to update a status as paid.

Overall Rating
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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OpenWater contests

Reviewed 2 years ago

We use the software to operate two photo contests. Most (not all) of our members understand the entry interface. We are able to do back-end management that would be immeasurably more difficult if we had to do it by hand. Being able to offer these contests is a nice benefit for our members and gives us another way to interact with them.

Pros

We are probably not using it to its fullest extent, but it's very powerful and is constantly being improved. Our contest typically has around 3,000 entrants and we could not manage it manually. Database aspects make management a breeze with easy access to judging results and entrant information. We pride ourselves on customer service and being able to answer user queries quickly adds to that initiative ... participants often express surprise at how quickly I am able to resolve their issues. My supervisor once observed as I used the system to answer one of her questions and was also very impressed by the ease with which I could do so. The new search function works very well.

Cons

It's not intuitive to a new user. That said, learning how to use it and training others has not been difficult and superb customer service is always available when questions arise. I recommend paying extra to have OpenWater set up the system. I had neither the time or the knowledge to create the first iteration although it appears that plenty of help would have been available. Now that we are up and running, it's a simple matter to clone the contest from year to year.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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3 Years of Loyalty and Counting

Reviewed 2 years ago

10/10 would recommend.

Pros

So easy to use, the software has self explanatory navigation, intuitive organization and all the functionalities we need for our awards programs. If issues do arise (though not that often!), the immediate customer support and service streamlines our work-flow and save us time and headaches. The OpenWater team truly does respond within 10 minutes of opening the chat box, which hovers conveniently but covertly on every page of the site when you are logged in as primary admin. (Shout out to the rep who always provides instant solutions!) The platform is ever improving. We are always finding new updates within the interface and its capabilities that are obviously informed by customer feedback. They truly are the most receptive and adaptive team we've worked with.

Cons

If the software team weren't so amazingly immediately responsive, we could have small grievances to list in this cons corner, but all gripes are attended to and abolished within the same day they are discovered. So the only issue this leaves us with is one that really does have a solution, but one that requires more funds: We have multiple awards programs running at once, and although the upgrade is available to have additional programs open simultaneously, it would be an economical advantage to be able to have at least one more program live within the payment plan we are currently using. This wish aside, OpenWater and their team have been nothing less than one of our best investments to date.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
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Excellent product, people, and support!

Reviewed 3 years ago
Pros

Although OpenWater is already very intuitive straight out of the box, I really like how support is just a chat button away. I receive instant, friendly, expert support whenever I have questions or concerns. No waiting on support tickets! They also have an excellent collection of pictorials, videos and docs on their academy site: http://academy.getopenwater.com/v2. Last but not least - OpenWater actually listens to their customers. If we have an idea or would like to see something changed, they submit it into a queue for review and if approved, it's implemented. They have used a couple of my suggestions in the past two years.

Cons

Some areas could use better means of access. For instance - I think that project-related themes and websites should be available from within their own navigation menu. This is really not even a "CON" for me. It's just a matter of opinion. I'm also not particularly fond of the checklist process that was recently added, but I can see how others could find this useful, especially new users.

Vendor response

Thanks for your comments and suggestions. The checklists you reference can be turned off, I'll have a support rep reach out to you with more info regarding that. Also your feedback is noted regarding the menu structure, we understand it can be tricky, especially with the number of websites and programs you manage.

Overall Rating
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Best abstract collection and speaker management solution

Reviewed 2 years ago

We needed an abstract management program that integrated with a very challenging database to collect abstracts (from new and pre-existing users), process payments, assign abstracts to reviewers, develop a schedule/program and publish an app. Other programs we've used has issues where users would have issues signing in/signing up, data wouldn't flow correctly between steps and automatic steps (like building a program or assigning an abstract) became administrative burdens. OpenWater has hands down the best customer service we've experienced with any vendor to-date and helped us create a program that resolves these issues on the front end and manages the programs with ease throughout the event.

Pros

- It integrates well with our CRM but still flexible for users to find/create/consolidate when needed - Clear workflow for admins to manage programs, including dates, forms, reports, rules, communications - Awesome customer service. Seriously. - All "programs" can function together (other abstract management software programs have issues flowing data between functions or are managed by service reps who never cross over) - Staff works hard to understand our needs and keep us on track

Cons

- App still in development, but scheduled for beta release in 2019

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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Amazing support

Reviewed 3 years ago

Awesome products.

Pros

This is the most reliable award software I have got till now. The things I like most are the function duplication, custom forms, the internal linking of the form ect. Email notifications and form management features are really helpfull. It gives all possible customizations. On top of all these things, if you are stuck with anything, you can simply contact the support team and my experience with them is just amazing till now. They provide you complete support technically and that too in poliet way. If you want anything that is out of the product customization, they will ask for the flow and will try to implement it. The most friendly customer support I have came across till now.

Cons

Nothing as such till now. Iiked this software as I have experienced other bad quality award softwares and just fade up with them. Also the website takes more time to llad

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Continues to be a great return on investment

Reviewed 2 years ago

The entire OpenWater team from implementation to ongoing support have been terrific to work for. They put a great deal of effort into understanding our business needs to help us build programs that best take advantage of all the robust tools available through the platform. They also go to pains to solicit client feedback for new functionality and features, which only builds on the value of what has already been a terrific investment for our association.

Pros

We purchased the software primarily for abstracts collection, which the OpenWater platform excels at, but what we have found most appealing about the software is that its flexibility and ease of configuration have allowed us to apply it to many other areas to replace aging legacy, custom built software solutions (awards, elections, nominations).

Cons

There's very little negative I have to say, but if I had to quibble with anything it would be sometimes the form and report building tools are a little clunky for nontechnical staff, but that's a pretty nitpicky complaint for such a powerful tool.

Overall Rating
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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Always helpful!

Reviewed 2 years ago

The customer service is on point and that is AMAZING. [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN] is always available when we need her and works so well with us. She makes using the system easier and provides slight suggestions for improvement while maintaining professionalism. I would not be taking this survey if it weren't for how awesome she is - because it needs to be said. With that being said, the overall software is great - but wouldn't be as amazing if I didn't have the customer service aspect of someone being available to guide me in the right direction. Once I am there, the system is user friendly and easy to operate. The massive collection of FAQ's available is very valuable and appreciated.

Pros

It is fairly user friendly, which is always very nice and allows for us to continue to use and learn the program.

Cons

Sometimes updating the website portion is difficult and you do need to know how to code/html coding. If you don't know that, you aren't able to fix small issues because they are buried in the background of the coding.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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OpenWater platform rocks the American Advertising Awards

Reviewed 4 years ago

Before OpenWater, I didn't think a five star awards competition entry software experience was possible. But as we enter our fourth year as their partner, my mind is forever changed. The American Advertising Awards competition conducts all entry submissions and judging on the OpenWater awards platform... this includes nearly 200 local club and district competitions which comprise the complex three-tiered...

Pros

It works all the time.

Cons

No cons were added to this review

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Amazing customer service, tons of features, steep learning curve

Reviewed 3 years ago

Incredibly customizable form creation and so much more.

Pros

The Open Water platform is one of the most robust and full-featured systems we've come across. It's extremely detailed and customizable, with the ability to adapt various templates to suit needs as simple or complex as you desire. Some of our favorite features include the external and internal linking within forms, program duplication, easy to create conditional child forms, and the autoscoring feature. However the best "feature" of Open Water is their customer service team. They are, hands down, the best CS team I have worked with out of hundreds of vendors in various industries. They are fast, polite, and know their product down to the smallest details.

Cons

After managing the Open Water platform as the primary admin over the course of nearly two years, I have no serious complaints. The platform has a steep learning curve and we have found it somewhat hard to retain configuration knowledge since the system makes it so easy to duplicate past programs, so we rarely start a new one from scratch. When we do we sometimes need to reach out to the OW team for a refresh, which they are always happy to help with.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Best decision to use OpenWater!

Reviewed 4 years ago

More than seven years ago, my company made the decision to improve our awards process, which was still being managed by volunteers with paper form collection. Kunal and his staff at OpenWater took our ideas, worked us through improvements and provided top notch support through the entire conversion. Since then, the support has continued to be highly responsive, and capabilities have been added...

Pros

Ease of programming, ability to change and update at any time. Functions such as cloning, email notifications, and form management.

Cons

There are many capabilities that we do not utilize. I would love to have more time to explore those.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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OpenWater

Reviewed 2 years ago

OpenWater has helped to make our awards programs easy to pick up each year. I like that we can dummy previous sites and just tweak and manipulate with new data etc. and then push out for a new season. Customer Service in particular - is amazing at helping me out and working out any issues I may have. I think having a strong customer service base is key when working on award programs that often have tight deadlines and external judges who are not used to working in the system.

Pros

Once I get a tutorial on what i'm looking to accomplish, the software is easy enough to manipulate to do on my own without having to bother my customer rep.

Cons

Some items aren't intuitive. Making reports etc. And it looks like the new interface of the portal isn't as easy on the eyes as the past look. But that might just take some getting used to.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Love OpenWater

Reviewed a year ago
Pros

I love OpenWater. Not only is the system easy to use and to customize to your specific program, but the customer service is phenomenal. Any time I have a question or concern they respond immediately, and also do our external client-facing customer service as well.

Cons

We are currently working with our support reps to add in a few more layers of customization that aren't currently options (adding a level of won proposal, not won proposal, but also a third option).

Overall Rating
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Daily User

Reviewed 2 years ago
Pros

I like how simple report setup is. In my role, I'm largely concentrated on the analytics behind who is entering, the time it takes them to enter, etc. and the dynamic reporting has helped my effort. We've also recently migrated our public-facing awards pages over to the OpenWater platform and the process has been a dream.

Cons

The chat between different platforms could be improved. We use specific email software that, if enabled, would be able to talk to OpenWater to allow us to streamline correspondence with entrants

Overall Rating
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  • Ease of use
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  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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A great company who truly cares about your organization

Reviewed 4 years ago

This is our third year using OpenWater awards for our annual Golden Reel Awards program. We could not have found a better company to work with. The OpenWater platform is extremely user-friendly and the production team goes above and beyond our expectations. Successful programs take time to build. Please take the time to work with the support team and explore their tutorials. OpenWater will help you every step of the way! Michael Motion Picture Sound Editors

Pros

OpenWater will do their best to add custom solutions to their platform.

Cons

The back end doesn't allow for easy manipulation of large amounts of data. Would be great to have a table view to edit data.

Vendor response

Hi Michael, Thanks for your review. We added a bulk edit view to our software. It covers many, but not all cases. Take a look here: http://academy.getopenwater.com/v2/articles/bulk-edit-view Your support rep will be reaching out to you with some more info about it.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Very pleased with the product

Reviewed 2 years ago

Overall - very pleased. The product offers all the flexibilty we need, and is backed by a caring, talented, responsive customer support team.

Pros

We manage two educational awards using OpenWater. It does everything we need it to do (and more that we don't use). Customer support is second to none. Navigation is pretty solid and the software provides lots of opportunity to craft the application to exactly what we need to adjudicate submissions. Also easy to archieve past years programs and clone for current year.

Cons

Not so much the software as it might be my memory. Using it two years now, on two award programs that run almost concurrently, I had to reach out for assistance as I couldn't find answers to questions. Online support material is very good, but like many, I find the chat feature, or a phone call is faster to resolve my needs. Not an OpenWater issue, but the foreign exchange stings a bit when paying in Canadian dollars.

Overall Rating
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  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Great product

Reviewed 2 years ago

OpenWater has saved my organization money and time. It is a great product and I highly recommend it. We will likely use OpenWater for other business needs.

Pros

he software does want we want to do. The implementation was very fast and customer service is amazing! I have never before worked with a vendor that is this responsive.

Cons

The software has a lot of functionality that we will likely not use making it at first overwhelming. Once you get use to the application, you know exactly where you need to go and overlook the features you do not use.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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OW Review

Reviewed 2 years ago
Pros

The customer service that OpenWater offer its customers is next level. We have never received this type of support when dealing with any of our other software providers and it makes a huge difference.

Cons

We have nothing to add here, our experience with the OpenWater software & team have been nothing but positive.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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We love OpenWater for Our Grants

Reviewed 2 years ago
Pros

It's easy to use, is developed for grant professionals and their needs, our applicants have detailed yet simple applications they can finish in a single sitting. The print out for the reviewers is also really nice and our reviewers can easily add their scores and comments. So simplistically manageable.

Cons

It would be wonderful to have a budget format imbedded into the system so eliminate how many uploads our applicants have. The budget form would have to function quite like excel so it would tabulate grant budgets, even over several years.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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21st Century Solutions

Reviewed 2 years ago

The experience has been outstanding. We have been able to take several outdated processes and make them all online and in one unique system. We have designed something completely for us and by us. The best part of the experience (not to take anything away from the software) has been your people. They have been amazing to work with and wouldn't have it any other way.

Pros

I love how it is customized to our needs and wants. Its fairly user friendly.

Cons

There isn't much I don't like. Its is very robust system and perhaps that could be the only downfall. There is so much to it.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Integration Partner

Reviewed 3 years ago
Pros

We worked with the Openwater team on an integration with a mutual client. Kunal and the team brought a tremendous understanding and care for the clients needs and worked with us to find creative ways to simplify the process for the individual administrators. The solution provided by Openwater is used by the client to manage the annual awards process, and has been in use for several years. It allows them to collect submissions at the local level, and manage the process through multiple rounds, culminating with the annual national award ceremony.

Cons

It is early in the relationship, however as challenges have arose we've been about to work through them with the team and have not encountered an issues we couldn't solve for. All around a good experience so far.

Vendor response

Thank you for the kind words. We take pride in our integrations and Kunal is excited to keep pushing the limits on how we can better integrate with systems.

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