Now think about the type of company you want to work with. Not the product, but the company and the people. When you choose a ChMS, you are also choosing the company behind it. Very much like choosing a church, or a community, or friends, or even family, "culture matters." There will be good companies and products who will fit the culture of your church, and there will be good companies and product sthat will NOT fit your culture. (and of course, there are also not-so-good companies and products, but that's a different story, maybe)
What works well for another church may not work well for you if your church culture is different from that other church.
You need to be sure to answer these questions for your church, your staff, and your church culture.
- How important is it to use a well established company?
- How important is it to have “state of the art” technology?
- How important is local support and training?
- Do you want to work with a company that operates like a church, or one that operates like a big business? (are there other options?) Is this an irrelevant question? (There are companies that are great on relationship and poor on product, who thrive! Why? Look at the culture of the churches who use their products)
- If your church culture is extremely business-relatonship oriented, then you might want to consider getting to know people at ChMS companies (preferabley other than sales). This is a dangerous route -- you want to choose a product for it's features and a company for it's capabilities. What happens if you find a company who doesn't have a great product, but you really like the people? For some churches, this is a more important question that features. Hopefully you know which type of church you are
- How do you want to contact support? What is your preferred method? Will you consider a company that doesn't match your wants in this area?
- How likely are you to need support outside of a company’s normal business hours? How likely are you to want support on the weekend?
- How significant would it be to have to shut down all access to your ChMS to work on a problem? To perform an upgrade? (think back to the thoughts of everyone using the database for “everything.”) This question very much fits with the earlier discussions of "clous" and "hosted."
- How important is a community of users to you? Are you willing to make the time to share experiences and solutions? Do you want to see others experiences and solutions?
Thanks again to Joel Lingenfelter for challenging some of my original questions. Hopefully I managed to address his concerns in this post.
Next: Part 7 - Looking at Features
Previous: Part 5 - Starting to Look at Technology