Friday, July 8, 2011

ChMS - ConnectionPower / FellowshipOne Webinar

I've been listening to the webinar (despite the fact that I general despise the things) about the acquisition of ConnectionPower by ActiveNetwork. The short version: ConnectionPower has been acquired by ActiveNetwork and the distinct strengths of ConnectionPower will be integrated into FellowshipOne.

There was one question that was asked during the webinar that really caught my attention, because I completely disagree with the answer. The question: "Churches that are currently new customers to ConnectionPower {and} are still in the implementation process, should they continue that process or do they have the option to move over {to FellowshipOne}?" The answer was "My encouragement there is to go ahead and implement ConnectionPower..."

This is a very bad suggestion! Here's why: Implementing a ChMS is a HUGE process. It takes a tremendous amount of staff time, volunteer time, vendor time, and ultimately congregational time as everyone learns the system. Not only is our entire staff trained on Arena, but our small group leaders have all been trained on how to use the tools available to them, our congregation has learned how our online giving works etc. In the same call ActiveNetwork stated that ConnectionPower will be end of life as a separate product by the end of 2012. This means that if you spend the time now to complete your implementation of ConnectionPower, you will have to go through ANOTHER transition in eighteeen months.

The very reason I spent so much time researching which ChMS product I wanted to implement here at HDC was because this is such a massive undertaking. Getting your data moved to a new product and the staff trained is a lot of time, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. Once the product is in place, it takes time to learn how to learn the new functionality and get everything working with your organization. To do this with a product that is going to be gone in eighteen months is a very, very bad idea.

If you are on the front end of a ConnectionPower implementation, you should absolutely stop right now and make the switch to FellowshipOne. Although you might not have access right now to a few things that excited you about ConnectionPower, you will save your staff and congregation a HUGE amount of headache by not having to do it all over again in a year. The idea of continuing this to preserve momentum is a bad idea, as you will waste a lot of staff hours and adapt your congregation to a system that is going to go away within 18 months.

If you are already implemented and live with ConnectionPower, well, that's the group that these guys are working hard to make your transition as easy as possible as well. Step one is creating a bunch of videos that show you how to replicate ConnectionPower functionality in FellowshipOne. Step two is for them to integrate the stuff that isn't there yet, and once that is online, the transition of longtime ConnectionPower churches should happen in earnest.

Joel

4 comments:

Warren McGregor said...

Thank you Joe - we are new to connection power but were thinking about changing because of the lack of children s check-in, What do you think of onthecity?

Chris Rivers said...

Great thoughts! We have currently gone through two conversions in less than a year. The biggest things that we have run into that have been an animal to cage are Financial data and attendance data. I don't wish conversions on anyone

renewingmind said...

Warren,

If you don't find ConnectionPower to be meeting your needs, the first place you should look is FellowshipOne, because they will be most equipped to move you as quickly as possible.

If you'd like to talk more about other options in the market, drop me an email and we'll chat further about your specific church.

Joel

Rob Overton said...

Joel,
That is good advice to stop implementation now. CP and F1 use a radically different approach to data and functionality which can be very hard to change. I also appreciate your comment about data being the tip of the iceberg. ChMS systems involve every aspect of church processes and no one wants to go through that twice.

Thanks,
Rob Overton