February 07, 2006

Integrating CRM and the Web

Duncan Rein, CEO of Silas Partners, posts here regarding how CRM (Constituent Relationship Management) should be and inevitably will be fully integrated with the church's website. This is further fuel for our previous discussion with Tony Dye and others about Church Management Systems (ChMS) and Content Management Systems (CoMS).

To put it in concrete terms, at Resurrection we're using TYPO3 for content management and Shelby for church management/CRM. I'm in agreement that ultimately we need to: A) integrate the two; or B) replace both with something else already integrated; or C) develop an open source church management/CRM that we can natively integrate with TYPO3. Right now we're working on option A, but somewhat reluctantly since this is inelegant and it's difficult to see how well it will work over the long term. Option B isn't a great one for us because we're fully committed to TYPO3 and Web Empowered Church. That leaves option C, for which my heart yearns, but we can't pursue because we have no funding or interest among executive management here.

Hmmm ... Maybe we take Tony's suggestion and sneak this in the back door by gradually building a CRM/ChMS in the form of TYPO3 extensions?

4 comments:

Jim Walton said...

Good stuff! The data is continually increasing, churches need to be proactive in managing all of this data, that's for sure. The web needs to be leveraged to bring all of this data together and make it accessible for everyone who needs to access it, wherever they are.

Tony Dye said...

I sure like that clarification of CRM - "Constituent" instead of Customer. Is it web integration that's needed, or church management integration? I'm thinking the latter needs to occur first. But, of course, BOTH is better.

John B said...

I'm looking at The Web Empowered Church & TYPO3 and am wondering if it's worth the time and energy needed to make the switch from Frontpage. I looked at several example sites at WEC and can't say that I was impressed. (I didn't look at COR's since I've been to it before.)

What's your thoughts? We're a middle sized congregation with a website of about about 50 pages. I would like to see us have a more interactive site than the one we do now.

Mark Stephenson said...

To address "john b"

"I'm looking at The Web Empowered Church & TYPO3 and am wondering if it's worth the time and energy needed to make the switch from Frontpage."

Currently WEC is in the "pre-release" stage. That is a funny term that just means that WEC is new and really for early adopters who are willing to work harder to get the power of WEC earlier. If you wait a few months there will be lots more support to help shorten the time and reduce the energy.

"I looked at several example sites at WEC and can't say that I was impressed. (I didn't look at COR's since I've been to it before.)"

The Example sites we just examples of what churches are doing with TYPO3. I suggest watching the WEC Intro Video and deciding if this is something you want to be part of.

"What's your thoughts? We're a middle sized congregation with a website of about about 50 pages. I would like to see us have a more interactive site than the one we do now."

If you want to have a simple informational website and are happy with your current look and the effort it takes to maintain it, then stay with Frontpage. If you want a highly interactive site with many ministry-empowering features like forums, blogs, prayer request, online sermons, news, podcast, calendar, photos of mission trips, etc. Then I suggest that you look at migrating toward WEC.

In Christ,
Mark