Step 2: Realm & Subsplash

I've gotten enough good questions and seen enough recent comments to warrant an update on the future of our digital platform roadmap. With respect to the Anthem app, step #1 included the introduction of new features and capabilities that had been laying dormant or newly released to the Anthem App. More importantly, we needed to assess what our priorities were for the path forward.

Let me say this, first and foremost: no single digital platform offers everything we want. While some are good at handling groups, those same platform are abysmal with media...others are good at handling content, but not communication. This decision is full of trade-offs, which for the staff, has been infuriating. Why can't just one company do it all? C'est la vie..

What this left us with is a very important consideration: (1) is it more important to do EVERYTHING we want, spread out across multiple platforms; or (2) to identify some core values and only do a FEW things, but do those things very well within just one?

We opted for the later, which landed us with subsplash (the Anthem app).  Here's what that means...

Our main goals need to be (understanding we are beholden to whatever platform we choose and their own ability to execute):

Consistency. What this means is that the platform allows us to consistently deliver new content, new information and do so reliably. Things don't disappear at random or not go through altogether. It means it does what it promises to do, well. It also means we recognize it doesn't promise to do what we wish it did. Nothing more, nothing less.

Simplicity. What this means is that new users don’t need to spend much time being assimilated. For the most part, things are where they expect them to be and function how they expect them to work. A degree in tech management isn't required to operate. Nothing more, nothing less.

Aesthetic. What this means is that we care about form because of what it says about us to our guests. It’s about clean and ordered function, not sterile and utilitarian. The ability to change the look with some regularity, so it doesn’t remain stagnant and predictable every time someone uses it. That people mostly enjoy spending time within the platform. Nothing more, nothing less.

These values mean that features like control and back-end management take a back seat, unfortunately (among others). Some companies do back-end management REALLY well (like Planning Center). But their front-facing applications are sterile and unappealing. The roadmap also matters. Subsplash, seems to have a roadmap that allows for the expansion of back-end management. This includes:

● A centralized user database, similar to what we have here on Realm
● Expanded groups and messaging features (i.e. the ability to message someone(s) directly one-on-one).

The  goals, as I’ve outlined them, collectively, are going to trump every other conceivable feature we might be tempted to pine after (which might have led us to a different platform). And while they may not satisfy everyone (staff included), they are exactly how we satisfy most, especially guests. Oh, we may say we want “more" features (and who doesn’t), but do we really want them more than consistency, simplicity and aesthetic?

Probably not.

So, in addition to the introduction of dormant/new features, step #1 also included identifying the values that led us to subsplash (the Anthem app).

Now, here's what step #2 means:

● We cannot leave Realm until every member, guest and active user is assimilated into the app and  into their respective GC Channels.
● We need to watch and make sure the app delivers consistently what we're asking it to do before jumping ship. Realm, if nothing else, gives us what we need as a fall-back.
● Identify and report any  bugs by emailing paden@anthemchurch.net to make sure they can be resolved in a timely manner. Whatever it is, let Paden know, asap.

Once this has been completed, step #3 includes the dissolution of Realm. If you are on the Anthem app with regularity and use it without problems, you can disregard Realm effective immediately. We do not communicate anything on Realm that isn't also communicated through the Anthem App in someway. We do, however, communicate plenty on the app that we do not communicate on Realm.

Please be patient with us and this process. All in all, we are very pleased with and proud of the development of our app to this point.

The feature roadmap seems bright with subsplash. I think we can all agree that Anthem has stepped up its online/digital content game during S-I-P. We have subsplash to thank for that.

-PAC

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