ABC-USA serves as the central organization that oversees member congregations throughout the country. As part of that role, it manages the core of the churches’ business operations. That includes tracking and managing donations and constituents; supporting organization-wide and regional communications efforts; and providing general reporting to assess congregation’s operational needs.
However, American Baptist Churches had been reliant on an outdated custom-built enterprise software system called ABCIS. Because it was custom-built, there were limitations on what it could do as well as who could maintain and manage it. Additionally, ABCIS could not meet today’s technological expectations and standards. With its increasing limitations and technical debt, the organization decided it was time to make a change.
When ABC-USA first approached Weidenhammer, it was with the goal of rewriting ABCIS. However, we recognized that rewriting the existing software could be a short-term and cost-prohibitive solution. We recommended reviewing ABC-USA’s requirements in detail to determine if commercial solutions would meet their requirements. This could move the burden of labor, development, and security to the enterprise software provider while allowing ABC-USA to prioritize organizational needs. It would also allow ABC-USA to take advantage of non-profit best practices.
With this change in direction, our focus shifted from software development to strategic advisory. This allowed ABC-USA to draw on our expertise, objectivity, and bandwidth in selecting and implementing an appropriate software solution that would ultimately benefit them.
As part of the software selection process, we surveyed the regional centers as well as headquarters to learn what their discrete needs were. We asked what workarounds they had developed to compensate for ABCIS’ limitations. And we analyzed business processes and data reporting functions to see what was working and what was not. With the results of our evaluation, we narrowed down ABC-USA’s specific needs to identify possible software solutions.
Our advisory role included researching potential vendors and facilitating demos to help identify two promising candidates that met with ABC-USA’s requirements. From there, we helped obtain access for sandbox environments that allowed staff to experiment and identify which software solution served their needs better. After thorough research and assessment, ABC-USA selected NetSuite as their preferred solution provider.
As ABC-USA undergoes initial training in support of the implementation process, staff are excited about this new solution. The next step will be the migration and implementation of NetSuite, and we will continue to be their partner.
The consultants from Weidenhammer were professional, courteous, and demonstrated a commanding knowledge of the software field throughout the process. They successfully assessed our needs and recommended a solution that benefited our organization and our constituents. We were very pleased with the process and outcome.Dr. C. Jeff Woods, Acting General Secretary