Today we had our first official meeting with Arena as clients. We walked through the schedule, which is quite aggressive considering the holidays. Thankfully, the IT staff here has worked hard to get a head start on things. Our hardware in installed, and we have Windows Server 2003 SP2 up and running, and had installed SQL Server 2005. The Arena guys made some suggestions for improving our 2005 install, so we pulled it and did it again in order to insure that everything was set properly. We also uploaded our data from our prior database to them during the meeting, so things are moving on the data conversion front. We then talked with one of the IT guys and verified that we are totally ready for the install. We have scheduled it for Wednesday morning.
My IT staff is hard at work on the technical side of things, and Judy is pulling together the secretarial staff to work on mapping our groups and keywords to Arena's groups and tags etc. The mapping is based on what functionality we want with those items, and how to best maximize the power that Arena offers us.
Taking good advice given to us by other Arena churches, we are not trying to do the entire product all at once. We are going live with the functionality we need to enter contributions by January 1 and use Arena as our only database. From there we are scheduling a plan to go live with additional functionality weekly. We haven't scheduled it all out, but we will try to be done with everything except check-in by the end of February, and deploy check-in during the month of March. Our implementation visit and initial training will be in December, and we have reserved some of the training for the later roll outs, particularly check-in.
The important thing for us is that we don't want Arena waiting on our team. We are moving as quickly as possible to get our tasks done, in order to get this whole conversion done with as quickly as possible. The Asterisk conversion went beautifully this year, we hope the Arena one goes as well or better.