The Pain of Change

When our team ventured into the world of church software nearly 10 years ago, we had an almost debilitating revelation. We did not see this one coming:

THE PAIN OF CHANGE! (or maybe better said – the PERCEIVED pain of change)

We assumed (and we all know what that means) that if you had a better solution, people would flock to it. WOW…were we wrong. In fact, we have seen that in many cases, it has taken years for a church to make the shift from an antiquated scheduling software to a system that works better and is usually LESS MONEY.

Or worse…still thinking that paper, pencil and post-it notes are an efficient way to mange a facility when a more intentional application was available for as little as $1.67 per day.

But that is exactly what we found.  10 years later, I am still scratching my head.

There is an adage that says – Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

So…what is the tipping point for you and your organization?  When is the pain of “staying the same” greater than the pain of change?

My guess is the pain of change is not nearly as painful as you may think.

4 comments on “The Pain of Change

  1. So here is how we look at it.

    1. Investigating new solutions requires considerable staff time. We get inundated with calls and emails promising wonderful results with XYZ’s new solution. It takes time and effort to wade through everything to find out what is true and what is not. You need budget and resources for both the investigation and implementation. On top of that, you quickly get beyond what the sales contact knows (or can substantiate), so that means getting others involved. Frankly, we don’t even start down that road unless we have set aside the resources to follow it all the way through. To do otherwise, would mean we can’t get our work done.

    2. At some point you need to step back and seriously identify your requirements. What MUST the system do? What would you like it to do? What migration path is required? This typically requires the involvement of many people: users, managers, IT…AND they all need some understanding of what is out there or is possible. I identified a need for a new ChMS system years before anyone else did, primarily because no one else knew what was out there. It took us 2 years of concerted effort to realize the huge gap between what we had and what we could have.

    3. At some point, you need demo’s or in-house product evaluations. This is also a resource intensive step, especially to do it well. You need user, manager, and IT involvement at a minimum.

    4. Implementation requires resources too. How much depends on the vendor and the migration path. Some vendors do a good job of minimizing the effort required to implement. Others lie or are not informed enough to know all that is involved. Often the church requires access to the legacy data, which means either migrating and mapping all legacy data to the new system, or establishing some other way to access the legacy data.

    1. This. All of this. So well said and all of it true.

      I will also add to it that one of my biggest challenges is often just even identifying the available solutions. Using Internet searches to find specific software solutions can be tedious and frustrating.

      – How do you feed in the right search parameters? How do you articulate that you’re looking for software that does XYZ? Sometimes you don’t even know what terms to search for. Do I know ahead of time that something to schedule events in my building might be called “facility management?” I wonder how often there are great solutions out there that are hidden behind poor search engine optimization.
      – Then often times once you are able to come up with a list of candidate software, you find that many of the developers’ websites lack the quick information that you’re looking for when shopping. One thing that so often is lacking is just some quick, high-quality video demos of the software that aren’t behind forms that require me to give all my information. Usually even that isn’t offered and there may not even be a single screenshot of the software in action. This means I’m going to have to contact each vendor directly to setup times to get a demo of their software. How many of these do I have time to do just to even get a glimpse of the software?
      – Additionally, I feel that fragmentation is taking place in software solutions. Ideally we would like to find one product that can do many of the tasks of the organization. However lately we end up having to use multiple separate applications to accomplish our processes. This means that the processes don’t usually talk to each other, users have to be trained on multiple systems, and expense is greater because we have to purchase and maintain multiple products. So further trying to figure out if solutions exist that can replace replace multiple individual ones takes more time.

      So, yes there is pain in change but that doesn’t mean we don’t *want* to change. Many of us are continually looking for ways to improve our processes and welcome it – even before there’s any pain in the current process. There just has to be an understanding that for the customer there’s a lot of work involved in implementing a change and making sure that the work is worth the effort. The worst thing would be to jump at making a change that ends up harming rather than improving processes.

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