In today’s world of web 2.0 applications, cloud computing, and web based solutions, it can become confusing as to what is the right application for your church/organization. What are our needs (always a good place to start…identify the “pain” then resolve it)? What will meet our needs? How much will it cost? Will it be easy to implement?
The following need to be asked and answered as you navigate through the selection process:
- Is your software web based? In today’s ever changing world of technology, web based software is the most effective, efficient and accessible. No more software to download. No more servers to house and maintain. No more updates to buy. No more issues between PC’s and Mac’s. NOTE: We recently performed some research and discovered that our biggest competition is not other facility/event scheduling applications, it is “paper/pencil”, Outlook, Google Calendar and wall calendars. SHOCKING!
- How many users can have access to the system and do we pay extra for each user? Many software solutions tether subscribers to the number of “users” that have access to the software. This can be inconvenient and frustrating…who should be included? Who is left out? It also puts an undue burden on certain staff members to not only be the gatekeeper of the schedule but also serve as the data entry person for everyone that wants to schedule an event or reserve a space. On top of that, to add more users can cost more.
- Do we have to maintain multiple calendars? Can you imagine having coordinate multiple schedules for the use of your facility? One says this and another says that…PULL MY HAIR OUT. You need a single source for all your facility and resource scheduling…all in one easy to use solution.
- How often do you add features? If the answer is “occasionally”, then you have reason for concern. Look for a solution that is constantly releasing enhancements, features and improving the system.
- We don’t want to break the bank to have software…how much should we pay for a room scheduling solution? The cost of web based solutions continue to improve. That is a real benefit for your ministry. Let me give you a prime example…Bellevue Baptist Church is one of our clients and is loving our eSPACE solution (as well as our Work Order Management). We did a quick price check of another popular web based Event application. If they were to sign up for all of the “users, resources and viewers” that Bellevue needed from this other Event system, the cost would have been well over 3 times the cost of eSPACE.
- What kind of support will you offer? You should never feel alone or on your own. We believe that the best web based solutions provide multiple levels of support including website tutorials, Knowledge Base, e-mail, web demos/training as well as a real person on the phone.
- Will you listen to us? Ever make a purchase and then feel like you have fallen into the “customer service abyss”? I know I have. The suppliers of services and goods need you (even if they don’t think they do)…they need to hear from you…and then they need to actually HEAR you and not just listen to your words. What are you really saying and how can we (your solution provider) adjust to meet your needs and make YOU successful? After all…it is your ministry.
- Can rooms be double booked? Why would you want to pay for a software solution that allowed you to double book rooms or resources? Frankly, one of the main reasons for having a room scheduling solution is to avoid these issues. We would suggest that you steer clear of any software that would not address such overbooking. It is one thing to double book a classroom…but can you imagine double booking a wedding??? This is clearly a shortfall of some of the applications mentioned in #1 above.
- Does your software integrate with HVAC solutions? Without a doubt, the most asked question of the eSPACE onboarding team is about integration of the scheduler with HVAC systems. I wish this was an easy question to answer, but HVAC systems are complex. What you do want to know is IF they even have options to integrate. That can get the ball rolling.
- Can we use our calendar on our Website? As our world becomes more reliant on the internet for much of our basic communication, more organizations are utilizing websites as the common repository for most of their communication…including the church calendar. If this is important to your church, then you need to make sure that there is a component of your event/facility scheduling software that will allow for this function.
There is no doubt many more questions need to be considered…but these are a great starting point and should be explored in detail before proceeding. For more information on our web based solutions, visit our WEBSITE.
Check out this quick video to learn more: