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Don’t Blame It on the Software! (pt. 1)

pwhite March 25, 2011

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Many churches invest significant funds in the hardware and/or software needed to manage their church’s data and operations. But, by failing to ensure that some basic principles are correctly implemented, they can quickly become ineffective and inefficient. Consider the following to help avoid that situation.

1.  Hardware/Software Compatibility

One of the unfortunate facts of life is that computer hardware does become outdated. A level of storage capacity or operating system speed that was sufficient when the unit was purchased years ago may not be sufficient to handle the complexity of current software applications.

It isn’t necessary that a church have a super-computer capable of running the operations of a small country. But, a hardware/software compatibility gap can be costly in terms of continual service calls by technicians, and in replacing software that is corrupted.

2.  Minimal Staff Proficiency

But there is no hardware or software configuration that can overcome the negatives introduced by staff members who don’t have some minimal proficiency in their assigned areas of responsibility.  This is not a criticism of staff members who are not computer-savvy, nor a condemnation of churches that do not have the financial resources to hire a full-time staff with college degrees and professional designations.

It is simply recognition of the fact that those who are assigned duties involving church data management should be adequately trained for the task.  Anyone operating a computer without basic skills needs training, whether it is an on-site software trainer, a Web seminar, or a couple hours on-line training class. A financial secretary should be acquainted with fundamental principles of accounting.

No church would hire a minister of music who doesn’t understand music theory, nor should they charge a staff member who doesn’t understand debits and credits to be responsible for the financial operations. These tools are no less essential to the successful performances of their jobs than a seminary degree is to the pastor.

Often a church will change software every few years when the underlying problem is that their staff members have never been adequately trained to function within the demands of the software applications that are being abandoned.

Stay tuned for more of these principles of implementation!

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