eSPACE Now Unlocks Doors

That’s right…you heard us. Not only is eSPACE the industry leading Facility Management Software…it is also the leader in Facility System Integrations.

Nearly 9 years ago we developed the first COOLSPACE integration with the Niagara Framework for HVAC Building Automation Systems. Since then, we have developed even more (see HERE for a more information on this).

Well…we have taken facility system integration to the next level…and that is to allow eSPACE or your Event Scheduler (remember eSPACE integrates with 14 other Church Management Systems) but to also unlock and lock doors. BOOM!!!!

  • No more late night trips back to the church to make sure the doors are locked.
  • No more double entry of schedules in the event scheduler and your door system (or HVAC system).
  • Enter events one time and be DONE!

You can now create and approve your event in eSPACE (or one of our ChMS integration partners) and simultaneously communicate with your HVAC systems when to come on and off…AND…determine which door(s) you want unlocked/locked for that event. This is FREAKING AWESOME!

There are, however, some requirements from you…such as:
  1. You need to have an access control system
  2. That system needs to have an API that we can communicate with
See…that wasn’t so bad.

Do we have your attention?  If so, reach out and let us know how we can help you increase operational efficiency as well as what your facility uses. We are more than happy to investigate and make this a reality for YOUR team!

PS:  Lighting and  security cameras are next on the integration train to efficiency!


The World of Integration

When we first started eSPACE, I could not get another ChMS to sit down and have a conversation about integration…and yet we were inundated with requests from churches to be able to integrate to their HVAC systems as well as their ChMS. What is a boy to do?!?!

I am not one to give up easily…so here are some things we did:

  1. We developed an HVAC integration with the Niagara Framework to integrate with Building Automation Systems that had a JACE.
  2. We kept knocking on ChMS doors.
  3. We kept developing eSPACE into the BEST Facility Management Software solution for churches.
  4. We kept knocking on ChMS doors.
  5. We developed integrations with other HVAC control solutions such as WiFi Thermostats and XML converters (for BACnet, LON and Modbus).
  6. We kept knocking on ChMS doors.

Persistence finally paid off! 

Let me tell you what is going on to make your church more energy and operational efficient:

  1. eSPACE now integrates with 13 ChMS applications…check them out HERE!
  2. COOLSPACE offers integration with 4 Wireless thermostats, the Niagara Framework and many other Building Automation systems that communicate BACnet, LON and Modbus.
  3. We are in testing with a number of Access Control systems (more on that later).
  4. We integrate with a number of Digital Signage companies.
  5. We have a WordPress Plugin to integrate your WordPress site to digital signage.
  6. Our Dev team is exploring integrations with lighting controls, security cameras and other systems.

The world of integration is here to stay and we are thrilled to be the leader in this area to serve churches. Join the integration revolution and give us a shout!


New HVAC Integration with Network Thermostats

As we have discussed before, the number one cost “influencer” to your utility bills can be attributed to the cost of heating and cooling your facility. And the 2 factors that are the root cause of most inefficiencies are “controls” and “behaviors.”

Most of you know that eSPACE has developed an HVAC Integration feature called COOLSPACE that now will integrate with various Building Automation systems and WiFi thermostats. Not only that, but eSPACE can integrate with many of the leading Church Management Systems such as Ministry Platform, Shelby Systems, CCB, Fellowship One, Servant Keeper, ACS, Planning Center and more (Click HERE to learn more).

Well…we have just added another integration partner – Network Thermostats. While we will not be “selling” their thermostats (they have a very generous program when then sell to churches) we have developed an integration that will allow churches that have these thermostats to integrate with eSPACE or the other event schedulers mentioned above. That’s right…if you have Network Thermostats, or are considering obtaining them, then you can increase your energy and operation efficiency by integrating them to you event and facility scheduling software.

With COOLSPACE/eSPACE integration, you can easily schedule all the events in your facility and know that the HVAC systems will respond to each event as they occur. Not only can you realize energy savings with improved HVAC run-times, your facility staff is able to devote more time to other needs as the scheduling will be seamless and automatic.

If you are looking for ways to increase operational efficiency and reduce energy consumption, you need to check out all of our HVAC and ChMS Integrations.  You will be glad you did!


9 Diseases of the Church Facility

The below are 9 “diseases” that many church facilities suffer from. Gary Nicholson, church architect, developed this list and thought you would enjoy playing doctor to diagnose if your facilities suffer from any of these ailments.

Enjoy (and thanks Gary, good stuff)!

Diseases of the Church Facility

Just as our bodies contract diseases that can lead to problems and cause pain and discomfort, many diseases can infect church facilities so that the church can experience functional problems and great discomfort. Rarely are these merely cosmetic, but are often outward signs of much more deep seeded problems. Examples include:

  1. Growing Pains– Consistently filling of a space or spaces in the church to beyond eighty percent, often a positive sign of growing numbers in a church. If not addressed, can become a limitation and lead to stunted growth. The remedy is not always to build new space, but to examine the possibilities of a.) Redistributing the people into underutilized areas, b.) Utilizing the space in an additional session at a different hour or time slot, or c.) Considering adding space that allows for future growth.
  2. Bumpus Maximus– When too many people are in your church foyer or lobby. This occurs primarily between services and Bible study sessions. Made worse when the preacher doesn’t stop preaching on time and people are waiting in the foyer to get into the next service when the previous service is not yet over, so that people are exiting the worship center at the same time others are trying to enter (Can be made even worse when the entire congregation ate nothing but beans the night before at the annual world hunger banquet).
  3. Circulatory Disease– When hallways and corridors are clogged or jammed full of people so that movement becomes difficult. Worst in cases where multiple services are occurring so that there is traffic both coming and going in the halls at the same time. Easily rectified by a good church squabble to thin the flock and reduce the numbers, leaving only the few who will not leave regardless of the dysfunction in the fellowship.
  4. Architectural Senility– A rather sad state whereby antiquated facilities relate to the past much more than the present. Can take on many forms. One often cited example is extremely small rooms designed for adult Bible study groups of 6-8 people instead of today’s larger groups, or built for activities that never materialize, like a recreation facility that no one uses. Another example is a very small platform with room for piano and organ and no other instruments because that was the way church was done in the 1950’s.
  5. Flashback Syndrome– The visual state of a room that induces instant flashbacks in a person who enters, usually to the 1970’s or some other era, by the nature of the color scheme and patterns, such as shag carpet with harvest gold, or avocado green color schemes. Symptoms may also include floral wall paper, or garish plaids and mauve color schemes from the eighties, etc.  Communicates that the members are out of touch with the present, or simply do not think church is important enough to bother updating the environment.
  6. Architectural Vertigo– When a church facility has been designed with no sense of balance such as between the spaces allotted for areas such as building a huge worship center without regard for the space to balance it with children’s program space, or building without adequate parking. The result is often the communication of an unintended message such as: Bible study is not important, or even that we don’t care about kids.
  7. Scatter brain” Syndrome (scatterus incognito)– A common ailment where the various age groups and programs are not arranged in any logical order and finding the appropriate room becomes extremely difficult for new or infrequent attendees.
  8. Religious Edifice Confusionitis– When a congregation builds using architectural styles or trappings from a different religion while declaring it to be “the way a church ought to look.” Greek and Roman temple forms used in nineteenth and twentieth century church buildings are often confused as “Christian”, when actually they were created as tributes to ancient gods like Aphrodite and Zeus. Makes people wonder if you know why the church even exists.
  9. Pave-it-all Landscapeosis– A disease often seen in churches that have taken the desire for a low-maintenance landscape plan to the ultimate level. Everything (except the cemetery) is paved. Asphalt has replaced the grass all the way up the building with no room for landscaping because, well, that’s the point: They don’t want to have to maintain a landscape. It has an unattractive appearance, but at least it they don’t have to do anything to take care of it.

Infected with one or more? The cure can be a lot of hard work, but so worth the effort to be free of such maladies and able to function as a church should. I recommend diagnosis by an expert in church facility diseases. Give us a call! Your facility, staff and congregation will thank you!


Efficiency On Steroids – Church Management (ChMS) + eSPACE

For years, the eSPACE Team has been asked “Does eSPACE integrate with our Church Management Software?”

Great question!

If you have been asking that question and want to utilize the eSPACE Event Management module or HVAC Integration, then we have good news.  For many of you, the answer is YES!

eSPACE has developed an integration of our COOLSPACE HVAC Integration (either via a Building Automation System* or WiFi Thermostats) for the following Church Management Software (ChMS) applications:

  1. Church Community Builder (CCB)
  2. ShelbyNEXT
  3. Rock RMS
  4. Ministry Platform
  5. Elexio
  6. Elexio Community
  7. FellowshipOne GO
  8. Simple Church
  9. FellowshipOne Premier/Event U (there are some specific requirements for this to function…call for details)
  10. Servant Keeper
  11. ACS (HVAC only)

*Some hardware may be required

What is even better…you don’t have to abandon your ChMS calendar as this integration can either work in the background or in the forefront…your choice.

eSPACE has developed an HVAC Integration called COOLSPACE that can integrate with many Building Automation Systems and some WiFi Thermostats.

Welcome to the future of software integration and the world of the “Internet of Things.”

With COOLSPACE/eSPACE integration, you can easily schedule all the events in your facility and know that the HVAC systems will respond to each event as they occur. Not only can you realize energy savings with improved HVAC run-times, your facility staff is able to devote more time to other needs.

For continued efficiency, integration with eSPACE allows your ChMS scheduler to still be the front end interface for your general users and staff while the Facility and Event Management Teams can utilize the robust features of eSPACE as their daily management tool. You do not have to train the majority on new systems, and your facility team can really drill down into the more detailed information and planning tools needed to intentionally manage and maintain facilities.

Do we have your attention?

You are going to want to contact us so we can share how this can help your church be more Efficient, Effective, and INTENTIONAL with the ministry tools God has entrusted to you.

Sound too good to be true?

Welcome to the future of software integration and the world of the “Internet of Things.”

Contact us for more details! 

10 Questions To Ask BEFORE You Buy Facility/Event Scheduling Software

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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:

 

Where's the Money to Fix This?

A few weeks ago I received a copy of the Church Finance Today newsletter. The lead article really caught my attention and I have used it as the title of this post.  Given my focus and dogma on the topic of Facility Stewardship, I had to read on!

The article was full of great thoughts and comments…it even had a quote from yours truly (Tim Cool) which was a little bit of a surprise…a pleasant surprise.  You will want to read the article for yourself, but here are some thoughts from the article.

They provided 6 Tips to help get started in developing an intentional and proactive plan for long term care:

  1. Avoid the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mentality.
  2. Don’t ignore “out of sight, out of mind” items.
  3. Good Stewardship includes physical assets.
  4. Tap experts to assess your needs.
  5. Create a capital reserve account even if you start small.
  6. Work towards your plan every year.

These are great tips…and I especially LOVE # 3.

One of the other quotes by the author, Bobby Ross, Jr., really seals the deal for me and is exactly the drum I continue to beat:

Every air-conditioning unit, every piece of carpet, every window, every light and the entire roof will need to be replaced at some point. It’s vital for leaders to recognize all of it needs to be replaced sooner or later. And setting funds aside now may avoid more painful scenarios later – like a church that needs to rent temporary worship space while its air conditioning gets fixed*

It is not a matter of IF they will be replaced.  It is a matter of WHEN and HOW will you fund it.

Intentional churches plan for the inevitable!

A few weeks ago, our team released the first of its kind LIFE CYCLE CALCULATOR. If you are serious about getting started with a Capital Reserve Plan…then this tool is the right first step.  Click HERE to get started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Church Finance Today. Used with permission.

9 Reasons Your Church Needs a Facility Management Professional

Over 4 years ago I wrote a blog asking “Is Your Facilities Manager the Red-Headed Stepchild of the Church Staff?”  I have had numerous facility managers tell me that is exactly how they have felt and even some are still considered that way.  However, I am encouraged to know that some church leaders are embracing their Facility Manager equally as other ministry leaders…especially when they adopt the theology of Facility Stewardship and see it as a spiritual and ministry endeavor just like small groups, missions, youth and the like.

Do we think that the Facility Manager is less critical to the success of your ministry as the youth pastor?  Are they less important than the small groups pastor?  What about the accounting staff…is their role less critical to the operations of the ministry?  If you responded  “no” to any of these, then why do we treat the Facility Manager like the red-headed stepchild of the staff?  Facilities represent a large part of any church’s asset base and annual expenses, yet doesn’t usually receive the same attention that other facets of the organization garner. Is it just the necessary evil?  I agree that facilities are only a tool…but they are a tool that requires care and stewarding…and in most cases, a tool your church would not want to be without.

I was asked this last week, by a Facility Manager, what “case” can he make to his leadership to emphasize the importance of his role as well as how to enlighten their understanding as to how critical it is to have the right number of staff and capital reserves.

The following are 9 reasons your church needs a Facilities Management Professional:

1. Facilities are one of your church’s largest assets and represents a significant cost to operations. A Facility Management Professional has the knowledge to maximize value and minimize costs.

2. Facilities and the environment they provide staff, members, congregation, as well as processes and systems, have a large impact on productivity. A Facility Management Professional understands the church’s mission and the interaction with the facility necessary to maximize ministry efficiency as it relates to the use of the facility.

3. Facility accommodations, whether in growth mode or not, require strategic planning to minimize costs and maximize value. A Facility Management Professional provides strategic direction and development  guidance to achieve the results the church needs to fulfill the vision and mission.

4. Sustainability is critical to the environment for the church and its members as well as community image. A Facility Management Professional provides the stewardship required to maintain leadership on the environment.

5. The environmental and legislative complexity of owning or leasing facilities represents a huge risk to the church. A Facility Management Professional navigates the requirements and mitigates the risk.

6. Facilities require an entire team of generalists and specialists to provide services. A Facility Management Professional understands how to identify and assemble these resources to work together to maximize value, reduce risk and minimize costs.

7. The facilities that house your ministry activities can require considerable effort to manage effectively. A Facility Management Professional takes on this burden and frees up other resources to fully focus on what makes the church successful in delivering its core ministry (Acts 6:1-7).

8. Managing facilities with an administrative resource or line manager (i.e. Maintenance person) means it won’t get the attention and expertise it deserves and may put the church at risk. A Facility Management Professional has training, background and experience in all areas of the complex issues and services required to provide effective stewardship to the church’s facility assets.

9. A Facility Management Professional has the experience and overall oversight for facilities issues, enabling them to see patterns, track changes and identify risks that may have a future negative impact. Their knowledge enables them to take corrective action now to reduce your risk and costs.

Now…with that all said, we are really going back to an earlier conversation about the difference of Management vs. maintenance. Both are important…but they are different tasks and require very different skill sets. Don’t be lulled to sleep thinking you have a Facility Manager just because you gave them that title. Skill sets, expertise and performance make the role…not the title.

What are you doing to enhance and to further your Facility Stewardship plans? If you do not have a Facility Management Professional on your staff, you may want to contact us to explore your options. As I suggested last week, you may need a COOL SOLUTION.

BONUS:  If you need more ammo to enforce this point, check out this insightful article from Church Law & Tax, a Christianity Today newsletter.

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3 "Must Have" Attributes of a Software Provider

Does anyone reading this article not use software for some aspect of your life?  Work, bill payments, contributions, personal, web surfing, gaming, photo storage, reading books, in your car, on your phone, etc, etc, etc?

If you can truly say that you do not use software in any component of your life, you either live in a cave (so not sure how you could even read this) or are delusional…because, even if you do not have software on your computer, the services you use and stores you frequent use software in some form or fashion. Software is an integral part of modern culture, society and life in general.  It is everywhere.

Most of you know that I am personally a relative novice when it comes to software.  I am a facility guy.  But our company cropped-eSpace_Logo.pngprovides a best-in-class SaaS (Software as a Service) based solution for Facility Management effectiveness…eSPACE.

Given that, I have invested a great deal of myself into understanding the SaaS world of software and studied what makes for great customer experiences…which in the end…is the the primary reason to offer a SaaS product.  eSPACE helps our company realize the WHY of our existence:

WHY = To assist organizations be effective, efficient and intentional with the facilities they have been entrusted to steward.

What I have learned is that the WHY is our driving force, but it must be coupled with our HOW which is greatly driven by the needs of those we serve and provide products and services…YOU!

To that end, here are 3 MUST HAVE attributes that we have adopted that make eSPACE the best (and possibly only) 3-in-1 Facility Management Software on the market:

  1. Agile – “able to move quickly and easily” – we live in a microwave age…we want what we want NOW. We are accustomed to getting what we want at the click of a button or a keystroke. Companies that are still practicing a development method of quarterly releases or large roll outs 1-2 times a year is waning.  We want our software companies to move quickly…we want them to be agile. Let me put this into perspective.  In the first 10 months of 2016, the eSPACE development team has completed 226  minor feature additions or enhancements ( what we call “quick picks” for items that can be done in less than 4 hours). In addition, that team has released 27 major feature releases (that take more than 4 hours) and 8 projects (feature enhancements that require multiple days/weeks)…and about 180 “bug” fixes.   That is a ton of new features, enhancements and support that provide expedited results and happy clients.
  2. Listening – of the incredible amount of development activities listed above, nearly 90% of all of these items are subscriber/client driven. Now, isn’t that a breathe of fresh air.  A company and their technical team that is actually listening to their clients instead of just sitting in a conference coming up with what THEY this is cool and fun. I have learned that no matter how COOL (pun intended) our team thinks something might be, if it does not meet an expressed need of our clients and prospective clients, it is not worth adding to the application.
  3. Customer Service – I could write an entire post on this. I could tell you about other suppliers who do not offer direct phone support, or take days or weeks to respond or NEVER respond.  I could list dozens of our new clients that have left companies for that very reason.  But what I want to share with you is what we do…not what others don’t. To date i 2016, we have responded to nearly 1,100 customer service tickets with almost 40% of those being resolved on the first contact with our customer service team. In addition, our average “close” time (the amount of time to address, resolve and close a ticket) is about 1/2 a day.  That is freaking awesome.  I wish I could get some of the companies I use to respond at that rate. According to Forrester Research, “45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly.”  Maybe that explains why our churn rate has been well below .6% per month for the majority of 2016.

Are the above interactions and attributes important to you?  Are you getting that from your Event/Facility Scheduler, Work Order Management of HVAC Integration providers?  If not…give us a look.

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eSPACE has gone NUTS!

No, not crazy (although some of you might disagree!). Rather, NUTS! Let me explain …

eSPACE was founded in 2008 and its sole market was churches and other houses of worship. I spent 24 years of my life serving this market so it was the one I knew. In fact, the Event Scheduler was originally called ministrEspace an the Work Order Management was named facilitEspace. Does anyone remember that? If you do, then let me personally thank you for your support of the years. You were the early adopters.

Over the past 3-4 years we started to see a trend with other market segments contacting us about our software solutions. At first, we had the occasional Christian school, which seemed in line with our primary market; 5 years ago, the City of Orlando contacted us about their need for work order management. Today, their parking lot division uses our Work Order Management software.

Soon, the largest manufacturer of Peking Duck in Canada called for assistance. Then an optical clinic with hundreds of locations, then retail chains, then public schools. It certainly appears that facility management software is needed for any facility! I have always believed that all facilities – no matter where they are located – need to be intentional about caring for the utilization and life cycle of their facilities.

That leads me back to why we have gone NUTS – in the truest sense of the word!Our newest Work Order Management client is the Southern Hemispheres largest walnut orchard owner, manager, producer and marketer of walnuts! Let me introduce you to Walnuts Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Webster Limited. Walnuts Australia produces approximately 90 percent of the Australian walnut crop.

So, why did they need work order management?  Why did they select eSPACE? They appreciated being shown how to organize their workflow in a way that makes sense. eSPACE has developed a straightforward approach that’s simple to follow, saves organizations money, and keenly manages resources. We are proud and excited to be able to serve this organization – and we’d love to serve yours, too.Want to go nuts with us? Check out how eSPACE can make you more efficient, effective and intentional with your Facility Management initiatives.

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