Tuesday, July 22, 2008

ChMS - Arena

If you haven't already, you MUST read the summary of what we are looking for. This is critical to understand my comments. The vendors being reviewed work hard to provide a good product to serve the church, and they should be commended for that. Our needs are very specific, and just because a product isn't right for us does not mean that it isn't perfect for your church. By the same token, just because we didn't like a product does not mean it doesn't meet needs or provide genuine value to its clients. The blurb and "target market" are taken from the capterra list I referenced in my first post. Finally, my thoughts are my own and not an official position of my employer. Thank you.

Based on the information they had online I had a very incorrect view of what Arena had to offer. In my initial pass I ruled Arena out based on this information. After some discussion with the folks from Arena, I gave them a shot at a full demo and I'm glad I did. You can read my impressions here. I am leaving this post in since I had already made it, but they are now part of the finalist group.

Shelby Systems - Arena
Ministry software that also authors your website; accommodates multiple websites and even sub-domains.
Target Market: Mid - Large
Quick Summary - Interesting but probably not us.

Level 2 Analysis:

How big? - Shelby is the second largest (I think) behind ACS
How many customers? - 8000 or so for Shelby, not so many for Arena
How long in business? - Long, long time
Are they profitable? - Yes
Technical Details - MS SQL 2005 & .NET

Volunteer Management - Excellent, with room for improvement.
Web Integration - Arena integrates very well, providing member access and updates where appropriate.
Attendance - Both through checkin and manual processes that are fairly streamlined. More research needed.
Assimilation - Excellent, with room for improvement.

Level 2 Summary - Arena is a very complete product that deserves consideration from any church that is able to put the time and resources into a solid solution. There are concerns though. Even though it is a web product, Shelby as a company is very windows centric. Also, the forum has a total of 268 registered users (and no posts to speak of), the blogs are very dead, and the community appears to be a non-starter. Hopefully I'm wrong on that count, we'll see as I move forward.

1 comment:

Mark White said...

Joel, thanks for starting this conversation, your research will no doubtedly help others see through the fog. I have a suggestion for the Arena Community. I don't believe you've created a login to access the site. I'm sure once you are able to see all of the forums you'll see a vibrant community of users and developers.

Mark White
Arena National Sales Consultant