SAD Group Project Case
Herdsman Church is a fast-growing church in Loving, Texas. Over the past three years, since the popular Reverend Houghly Moises has taken over leadership of the congregation, the Church has more than doubled in size. It now has approximately 400 registered households. Recently, Rev. Paul Pitt has been added as second minister. Since the Church was rather small in the past, most of its records were kept in paper form. Now, however, the Church’s Business Manager, Faye Nance, has suggested to Rev. Houghly Moises that a computerized system is needed to help information needs and manage activities.
In addition to Ms. Faye Nance, the Church employs a part-time administrative assistant, Clara Kell. Ms.
Clara Kell performs office duties, such as filing, keeping records, answering phones, and typing the
weekly bulletin using WordPerfect for MS Windows on the Church’s only personal computer.
Previously a mechanical engineer, Rhett Tyre now works part-time as a maintenance person for the Church. Mr. Ian Samble serves in part-time, paid position as Choir Director, leading the sixteen member volunteer choir, which practices on Wednesday evenings and sings during Sunday services. Services are held each Sunday. The Church also uses volunteer Lay Ministers to assist Reverend Houghly Moises in Sunday services.
From a business point of view, one thing that the Church must be concerned with is registering new
members. When prospective new members wish to join, Rev. Houghly Moises holds a personal meeting
with that individual and his/her family. Following this, that household is mailed pre-numbered
envelopes for use in the regular Sunday collections. Most contributions are made to the Church (during
services or through the mail are made) using these envelopes; although, about 20% of each week’s
collection comes from “loose offerings” of cash and checks. A household also receives an additional
envelope each month for use in the Church’s capital improvements campaign to fulfill its campaign
pledges. Contributions to this “Capital Improvements Campaign” fund are collected in Church on the
second week of each month. Envelopes are mailed to households towards the end of each month for
use during the following month.
The Capital Improvements Campaign has just been established for the purpose of purchasing a nearby property to build an additional parking lot. The cost of acquiring the property, paving it, and making it ready for use is $250,000. Reverend Houghly Moises and Ms. Faye Nance approached Loving Deposits Bank president, Mr. Hugh O’Mea, about a loan to finance this project. After reviewing the Church’s pledge list and contacting a few parishioners (who were also bank customers) to confirm their
commitment, Mr. Hugh O’mea approved the loan to the Herdsman Church.
To keep current on the bank loan, the Herdsman Church makes regular payments on the loan from the church members’ monthly capital improvements campaign contributions. Households were provided with a (capital campaign) pledge form on which each household stated their commitment of how much money that they would contribute over the next three years. As contributions are made, Ms. Faye Nance records each household’s contributions on the appropriate accounting ledger, and the remaining balance on the respective pledge is reduced.
SAD Group Project Case
summary report of all contributions by the household (using their numbered envelopes) during the year.
This summary report is used by the households for income tax preparation.
What other records must the Church keep?
The Church must also keep records of all performed ceremonies, such as baptisms, weddings, and
funerals. A baptism is a formal initiation ceremony into the Church for infants and some adults. Adults
must first attend weekly preparation classes for three months before being baptized. Besides the
parents, a new inductee into the Church has sponsors called Godparents: a Godmother and a Godfather.
For couples who wish to get married in the Church, at least one member must be a member of the
Church. Couples go through weekly preparation classes for two months before the ceremony is
performed. (For database purposes, you also need to pay attention to this.)
Herdsman Church is part of a larger network of churches of the same denomination. This denomination
has one other Church in the Loving area and 250 churches in the state. The regional headquarters for
the Loving Herdsman Church is in Paradise, Texas. The Church’s other regional offices are in Nazareth,
Rainbow, and Burning Bush. Herdsman Church, like all affiliated churches, must submit regular monthly
reports to the Paradise office about its ceremonies and finances.
Ms. Faye Nance and Reverend Houghly Moises have hired your small information systems consulting firm, ___________________________________, to look into the possibility of developing an information systems for the Church. This system will address the organization’s revenue sources
(parishioners) and its record-keeping requirements.
System Analysis for Herdsman Church
- Literature Review, Interviews and Observation Methods will be used to collect data on the organization and System Requirements.
- There are vast opportunities that the church can take advantage off
- A review of the organizational feasibility reveals that the new project is not economically feasible
- The best solution for the organization is an
- Will resolve lack of economic and operational feasibility
Organizational Hierarchy Chart
Rev Houghly Moises is the overall head of the church. He receives reports from other members of the church beneath him and reports to the Paradise offices on a monthly basis. There are a number of individuals who report to Moises, chief among them being Faye Nance, who is the church’s business manager. Among her duties, Faye is responsible for recording the contributions made by members of the congregation. There are a number of part-time members who report either to Faye or to Moises. They are Clara Kell, who is the Church’s administrative assistant; Rhett Tyre, who is the part-time maintenance person; and Ian Samble, the part-time Choir Director. There are also a number of volunteer ministers who assist Houghly in Sunday services. Based on the above information, the organizational chart would look something like the chart in Appendix 1 below.
There are different types of data that are required in addition to the information provided above. The data would be useful in determining the informational needs of the church. The information currently given provides an elementary overview of the general requirements for a church system. Other aspects that need to be addressed include the different sources of revenue, the hierarchy of the church based on all individuals in the church and how these individuals are remunerated. There is also a need to collect information on housekeeping and maintenance.
To address these informational needs, a number of data collection methods would suffice. One excellent method is a review of existing literature on the informational needs in a church (Kurniawan & Cassandra, 2014). This method will provide a holistic overview of the general informational needs of any church organization. For example, the Parish Finance manual of the Diocese of Toronto Anglican Church of Canada provides a number of areas of information needs in the church. Some of these include the accounting and reporting system, budgeting, charitable status and investing (Diocese of Toronto , 2012). The data obtained from the literature review is essential in defining the areas on information needs and directing the data collection process towards these areas. For example, Kurniawan and Cassandra (2014) point to four aspects of the church served by ICT. These are corporate work, Sunday worship service, outreach to those outside the congregation and coordination of the church community.
Another data collection tool would be the use of semi-structured interviews. Semi-structured interviews are a primary data collection tool. Interviews are a qualitative method of data collection. They are therefore useful for the study since the main data required for the study is qualitative data. The main advantage of the interviews is that they are flexible in nature and easy to understand. Interviews are also clear as the respondent and interviewee interact (O’Leary, 2009). Clarity is thus enhanced in the event that any misunderstandings may occur during the data collection process. Semi-structured interviews provide a format that encourages open conversation with the participant. The researcher is therefore able to collect meticulous information. In-depth interviews further allow the researcher to gainer a deeper understanding of the study variables.
Observations would also be used. Observations are useful in collecting data on the subtler elements of the organization. Such elements would include those that are norms of the organization and are thus taken for granted. Essentially, they would go unnoticed even by the participants. Observation would mainly be used for data collection during ceremonies and routine sermons that involve mass participants. The researcher would be in a position to observe how different individuals interact, how different processes occur and the roles that different individuals play in the organization.
- How is data on contributions collected?
- Who is responsible for the reconciliation of total collections?
- How are the collected revenues treated?
- Are all of an individual’s life events recorded?
- How is remuneration for part-time members of the church determined?
- Is data on attendance recorded?
- How is eligibility for church events determined?
- How is the data stored for long-term use?
- What is the data retrieval procedure?
- Do you store data for as far back as ten years?
- Are data on members linked based on relationships between members of the congregation?
- How is data on a member treated in the event that a member stops attending the church?
About The Organization
- Are there members of the church who are adequately skilled to administrate an information system?
- On average, how many members are involved in the daily administration activities of the church?
- Apart from Sundays, on which other days do members of the church meet?
- What is the nature of these meetings in the sense that they require a computerized management system?
- Are members of the organization facilitated to secure their records from the church?
The table below presents a summary of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with the current system.
|Easy to Use|
Does not require extensive and expensive resources
Cheap to maintain
|Cumbersome and time consumingFragmented data storage|
Difficult to retrieve data
Data can easily get lostLimited data security
|Install new systems|
Improving data collection and storage
Improve data consolidation and information flow
Improved accounting procedures
Availability of numerous information management systems
Decreasing ICT systems cost
The current system has a number of objectives related to the various stakeholders in interaction with the church. These objectives are as follows:
- Receive New members into the Church
- Facilitate contributions
- Conduct ceremonies
There are three areas of feasibility for project evaluation. These are technical, economic and operational feasibility. Technical feasibility addresses the current technical resources that are in place and whether they suffice for the new system. In the event that they are not available, the focus shifts to an assessment of whether it is possible to upgrade them to provide the technology necessary for the new system. In the current scenario, the church has inadequate technical resources. The church only has a single personal computer, which is used for all office and clerical duties. In order to make the project technically feasible, it is therefore necessary to upgrade the current technological capabilities. However, the components required to run the new system are not very advanced. The only constraint on technical feasibility, therefore, is economic feasibility.
Economic feasibility reviews time and money and whether they are available to develop the required system. Aspects of finance include the purchase of new equipment, hardware and software. The project does not appear to be economically feasible for the church, since the church is undertaking another heavy capital investment project. Specifically, the church has just established a new Capital Improvements Campaign targeted at procuring a new parking lot for the church. This campaign is projected to require $250,000, which will be financed through a bank loan. Owing to the heavy capital investment nature of this campaign, the church may not be in a position to concomitantly implement a new information system. This further rules out technical feasibility, since the church will not be able to upgrade to the required technological components.
The final aspect of feasibility is operational feasibility. Operational feasibility pertains to the human resource capacity available capable of operating the system. From a review of the main members of the church, there does not appear to be anyone who is adequately skilled to operate the new system. Thus, based on the as-is system, there is no operational feasibility either. Operational feasibility can be improved by getting a member who is capable of operating the system, or through training of current stakeholders. However, owing to financial constraints identified through economic feasibility analysis, the church is incapable of training its members.
There are numerous tangible and intangible benefits that would arise from the implementation of the new system. Tangible benefits relate to those benefits that are readily expressed in dollar terms. Intangible benefits, on the other hand, have no dollar value and tend to deal with subjective experiences of system users. For the foregoing case, the expectation is that there will be more intangible benefits, since the organization is a non-profit one. Some of the tangible benefits include improved revenue collection and greater efficiency in collection. With the new system, the church will also be able to track its cash flow much more efficiently. Generally, the system will experience process improvements. Intangible benefits will include enhanced synergies and better management of the relationship between the church and its members. With the new system, the church is able to identify when a parishioner is due for a visit. With the computerized system, there is likely to be enhanced satisfaction amongst the congregation due to easier access to information and easier retrieval of data. In terms of required submissions, the computerized system will make it easier to generate weekly and monthly reports that are required to be submitted.
Data Flow Diagram for TO-BE system
This diagram is presented in the Appendix
Leave System AS-IS
This is the first solution that the church can adopt. The system will be left as is with no digitization or automation. If the church opts for this solution, then there will be no capital expenditure and this is therefore the cheapest solution. However, settling for this solution means that the deficiencies in the current system will not be addressed and the problems with the current system will therefore persist. The church will therefore struggle with the creation of new records and with the generation of reports amongst other problems.
Seek a Customized Solution
An alternative solution is for the church to have a customized solution built to address the system deficiencies. This alternative will address the deficiencies in the current system and introduce efficiency in the data and information management process. In addition to this, a customized solution begins with a holistic assessment of the current system and the organization’s needs. Solutions are then developed based on the specific and exhaustive needs that are identified. Moreover, this solution is developed to suit the organization’s capacity (Stark, 2015). Consequently, the solution developed is highly specific and highly compatible to the organization, with redundancies eliminated. It is however time consuming and very expensive.
Purchase Off-the-shelf*, packaged software solution
A final alternative is to buy off-the-shelf packaged software. These are software that have been pre-developed and packaged for the mass market. Like the customized system, this solution will address the general system deficiencies. The system is however tailored for the general market and as such may not address the specific functionalities required by the church. Moreover, since it is not built around the organization or with the organization in mind, it may force the organization to alter its processes to suit the functionality of the software (Stark, 2015). Such software however has the advantage of being ready to use and much cheaper.
Some of the off-the-shelf available church management software include: Fellowshipone, Aplos Accounting and FlockBase. Fellowshipone is web-based management software that offers functionalities such as ministry management tools and member self-service tools (FellowShipOne, 2016). More importantly, it offers church administration tools alongside leadership tools. They have numerous tools and assess the needs of the church to provide a more personalized solution.
Based on an assessment of the church, its software needs and
the various alternatives available, the best solution that is recommended is
off-the-shelf packaged software. This decision is informed by the fact that the
church urgently requires management software in light of its growing
congregation size and consequently, its information needs, yet lacks the
financial capacity to invest in a more customized solution. Using off-the-shelf
software will enable the church to exploit the benefits of management software
at a minimal cost. At the same time, staff will acquaint themselves with such
software and gain the necessary competencies and proficiency. Once the church
returns to a state where a more customized solution would be economically
feasible, then it can invest in a customized solution.
Diocese of Toronto. (2012). Parish Finance Manual. Toronto: Diocese of Toronto Anglican Church of Canada.
FellowShipOne. (2016). FellowShipOne. Retrieved March 2016, from http://www.fellowshipone.com/church-management-software
Kurniawan, Y., & Cassandra, C. (2014). Development of Church Information System (A Case Study Approach). International Journal of Software Engineering and Its Applications , 8 (12), 199-208.
O’Leary, Z. (2009). The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Stark, J. (2015). Product Lifecycle Management (Volume 2): The Devil is in the Details (Vol. 2). Berlin: Springer.
Appendix 1: Organizational Chart
Appendix 2: To Be System Chart