It is very rare for someone to be as transparent as Jonathan Puddle has been in Choosing a ChMS vendor. We are grateful that the evaluation process ultimately led him to partner with Church Community Builder. I've been in the software and technology sectors for some time. I am familiar with many different approaches organizations take when it comes to changing software that drives their business (e.g. ERP or enterprise resource planning). Churches rarely approach technology decisions in the same way. Jonathan's blog post can serve as a great model for other churches to consider. The approach was thorough, systematic and leadership-driven.
Here are a few things that stood out to me:
- I was surprised at how much of a grasp they had on the ChMS landscape. They obviously had done some extensive research in advance of beginning the process.
- I loved the "needs assessment" process. In other technology settings this might be called an RFP or request for proposal. This can be a really good tool when you don't know what you're looking for.
- The City and ACS were discounted swiftly. Quite surprised at that one.
- The knowledge they had of the recent acquisitions of FellowshipOne and Connection Power. Many churches still have no idea this happened.
- They prioritized time to build relationship with the leadership of each of the finalists. This allowed them to compare qualitative and quantitative data. We regularly talk with churches about the importance of not only the technology but the company that supports and develops that technology.
- Pastors were included as part of the equation. (Smart move on their part to include potential users in their evaluation.)
In the end, they chose Church Community Builder, and we are thrilled to begin this partnership that will expand our increasing opportunities to serve the Kingdom outside the United States. What blessing! However, what impressed me most was Jonathan's desire to find the RIGHT solution for Catch The Fire, Toronto. That could very easily have been one of other fine organizations in the mix. The point is they didn't simply choose the most affordable, most recognizable, most attractive or biggest option. They took their time, did their homework and developed decision criteria that helped them arrive at the answer which felt most in alignment with who they are as a church. At the end of the day, that is what we all want isn't it?
What has your church learned from a past technology decision process? Have you shared it with others?