Monday, September 15, 2008

ChMS - The directed demo

So, the directed demo is completed and has been submitted to each of our three finalists. It's been an amazing amount of work to try to put something together that thinks through the various ways we use the database, and provides clear instructions of what we want to do. Some of these are things we do now, some of them are things that we wish we could do.

If you're like me, you've found that many demos are frustrating because there is simply not good information in the demo sets of data. Often times the salesman will go to the same one or two records for everything, and if you try to run reports you don't know if it's because the report doesn't work or because there is no data. Other times, you never actually see the emails, text messages, or other output because nobody ever wants to click submit.

So I created a completely bogus set of data (warning: links to an excel file that will download). I added to what I've given you a number of staff so that I could refer to them and log in as them etc. I filled in the address and phone number with real addresses from our database, and the cellphone numbers with real cellphone numbers of our staff (I have removed all of the "real" information for obvious reasons).

I used TV families and such for the names because it made them easier to remember as I was discussing the various functions. Bonus points to anyone (or any vendor ) who can name all of the TV shows and movies referenced here...

All told it's about six pages of directions and questions. It should give you an idea of the type of questions we are asking, and hopefully if you are looking at this blog because you are looking for a Church Management Software solution, these questions might think through how you use your database and the type of situations you face.

Download the guided demo (rtf document).

I gave these documents to all three vendors and asked them to read over both the questions and the data I wanted imported before we do the demos next week. I want them to have everything in advance so that we don't waste time hunting for reports etc.

I'm excited about this. I now have my first impressions, my evaluation in the "grand tour" demo, and the answers to the 26 questions to work with. After this demo, which should be similar for all three vendors, I can hopefully evaluate which solution is the best one for HDC (after I call all of the references. A LOT of phone calls to make!).



Kevin said...

Best resource I found on a blog all week!

Thank you.

karebagg said...

Our church has Shelby as a resource and I am new to it. Thanks for the details you provided in your search for this system. I look forward to using it to its full potential!