Monday, August 18, 2008

ChMS - Church Community Builder

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.

If you've been with me for a while in this journey you know that we started with a list of 147 companies which was narrowed to 46, then 22 and finally six, which eventually became eight. Two companies (Arena and Kingdom Tools) contacted me and I gave them each a second look. After evaluating all of these solutions, there were five that stood out from the rest, and three that made the final grouping. CCB is one of the two products that did not make the last grouping, but it is a very solid solution.

Church Community Builder - CCB
Web-based church management system that helps a church's staff, leaders, members and visitors easily communicate.
Target Market: Small - Large
Quick Summary - Worth Consideration

Level 2 Analysis:

How big? - At least 15
How many customers? - 850+
How long in business? - 9 years
Are they profitable? - Yes. Also debt free.
Technical Details - Has an XML based API allowing PHP, Perl, Java etc. to access CCB

Volunteer Management - Provides ways for volunteers to indicate interest and staff to search for potential volunteers.
Web Integration - Offers an extensible API for integration
Attendance - It’s there, but not sure how this works for services. Examples are for sunday school classes, small groups etc. Also tracks headcount for events. Not sure of they are separate.
Assimilation -Provides accountability for staff and volunteers to complete their tasks and followup.

Level 2 Summary - CCB seems very mature, robust, and forward looking. The API is very exciting, because it allows us to extend the product on our own without having to pay CCB to do so. This is an excellent product that belongs in our top five for consideration.

Level 3 Analysis - CCB is a very good product that just ... doesn’t ... fit ... HDC. I don’t know how else to explain it. The interface seems quite cumbersome at times, and the stuff that really “makes” CCB just doesn't seem to be us. That said, there is much to love about CCB.

The forms module is the most impressive feature. It allows you to build very robust online forms that will cause things to happen like register you for an event. The forms are totally customizable and it was very powerful. The other strength was the check-in, which seemed very well thought through. Interestingly, this was the only one that worked on a web interface instead of requiring software running on a windows box.

One very nice feature of CCB was an “iphone mode” that provides a smaller interface suitable for the iphone for information retrieval on the go. Very cool idea!

In any comparison there will be bad solutions, good solutions, and great solutions. CCB is a very good solution, but it isn't the right solution for HDC. Still, even though it wasn't right for us, it may be perfect for you and deserves your consideration.


1 comment:

Steve Caton said...

Joel, I would like to respectfully thank you for your consideration of CCB in this process. It was a pleasure to interact with you and Judy. I also enjoyed getting to know more about the ministry of HDC. While I regret that we did not make the "Finals", I do appreciate you taking great strides to find the RIGHT solution for your needs at HDC. Although CCB wasn’t quite a perfect strategic fit for you, I was encouraged by how close we are to addressing many of the functional issues that you desired. Things like recurring giving, enhanced reporting tools and streamlined attendance recording are all on the horizon. Nonetheless, I commend you and everyone else out there who strives to find a solution that empowers critical MINISTRY needs. We know that CCB is right for some but not for all and that's OK.

Best of luck with your decision process going forward and thanks for the work you are putting into helping your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Steve Caton, VP - Sales and Marketing
Church Community Builder