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BuddieinEK

Value For Money

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£4,200 to set up a new system in the real world is fine in my opinion.

 

Can we justify a recurring expenditure of £300 every month though?

 

Surely that is excessive?

 

If not, what exactly do we get for it to make it value for money?

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2 minutes ago, BuddieinEK said:

 

£4,200 to set up a new system in the real world is fine in my opinion.

 

Can we justify a recurring expenditure of £300 every month though?

 

Surely that is excessive?

 

If not, what exactly do we get for it to make it value for money?

 

What are you talking about bud?

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As was highlighted during the Objectives section of this year’s AGM in April, we are currently working on a new membership system to replace our current records. This is something we have been planning behind the scenes for some time, and we are now close to getting the new system up and running.

We are currently in the final stages of setting up and testing the new platform. We will then be sending every member an invitation to register for the new portal, and to check that the details we hold for you are correct. You will also have the opportunity to set your notification preferences etc.

We require every member to do this, so please watch out for the “Welcome to the Portal” email which we plan to issue in the near future, and which will contain full instructions of what we need you to do.

Your subscription payments and direct debits will continue as at present and will be unaffected by the move to the new system

As it stands, the bulk of SMISA’s membership data is held in several different Excel spreadsheets.  Separate systems are used for member emails, ballots and events. This was fine in the days when SMISA had less than 200 members, but with over 1200 members now, and as we move towards fan ownership of the football club, we need to make our operations more professional, more synchronised and more secure
.
This workload, together with everything else that the committee is involved in, had led us to start thinking that we might actually need to employ someone to help out.

But our new member portal will centralise most of our membership administration work in a cloud based platform, which members will also have some access to. This will greatly reduce the amount of committee member time required to do it, but it does incur some additional cost.

There is a one-off set-up cost (£4,200), and like most software services these days, an ongoing monthly subscription (£300). This will of course increase SMISA’s operating costs, but we believe this is good value and cheaper than the alternatives at this time.

For full details of why we need a new system, and the benefits to come from the new one, please read this HERE

The system will be used initially just for membership administration purposes, but once we are sure that it has bedded in and members have registered on it, we will begin to explore the additional functionality that it offers (e.g. ballots and events), and gradually roll these out to members.

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55 minutes ago, BuddieinEK said:

As was highlighted during the Objectives section of this year’s AGM in April, we are currently working on a new membership system to replace our current records. This is something we have been planning behind the scenes for some time, and we are now close to getting the new system up and running.

We are currently in the final stages of setting up and testing the new platform. We will then be sending every member an invitation to register for the new portal, and to check that the details we hold for you are correct. You will also have the opportunity to set your notification preferences etc.

We require every member to do this, so please watch out for the “Welcome to the Portal” email which we plan to issue in the near future, and which will contain full instructions of what we need you to do.

Your subscription payments and direct debits will continue as at present and will be unaffected by the move to the new system

As it stands, the bulk of SMISA’s membership data is held in several different Excel spreadsheets.  Separate systems are used for member emails, ballots and events. This was fine in the days when SMISA had less than 200 members, but with over 1200 members now, and as we move towards fan ownership of the football club, we need to make our operations more professional, more synchronised and more secure
.
This workload, together with everything else that the committee is involved in, had led us to start thinking that we might actually need to employ someone to help out.

But our new member portal will centralise most of our membership administration work in a cloud based platform, which members will also have some access to. This will greatly reduce the amount of committee member time required to do it, but it does incur some additional cost.

There is a one-off set-up cost (£4,200), and like most software services these days, an ongoing monthly subscription (£300). This will of course increase SMISA’s operating costs, but we believe this is good value and cheaper than the alternatives at this time.

For full details of why we need a new system, and the benefits to come from the new one, please read this HERE

The system will be used initially just for membership administration purposes, but once we are sure that it has bedded in and members have registered on it, we will begin to explore the additional functionality that it offers (e.g. ballots and events), and gradually roll these out to members.

Hmmm cant help but hear "interstadia" all through that. No mention of benchmarking a similar organisation who have brought it in, and migrated information in the same way!

they will spend a year chasing up members who dont/cant respond.

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1 hour ago, BuddieinEK said:
1 hour ago, oaksoft said:
What are you talking about bud?

The latest SMISA email.

Ah OK. I'm not a SMISA member so I wouldn't have seen that email.

Those two costs are very high but typical of what you can expect to pay when you don't have in-house IT.

When I launched my current online shop I decided to teach myself as much as I could to avoid the upfront design and ongoing maintenance charges. Took me a while to do it but cost me only £250 for 3 years hosting (Rochen). The content management system I used was Joomla and it's free. Same goes for the online shopping cart Virtuemart which stitches in seamlessly.

Pretty sure SMISA don't need much more than that but they would need someone prepared to maintain it.

Wix and others make web stuff look very simple but the brutal truth is that if you need anything slightly special and have no technical skills you are going to be shafted.

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9 minutes ago, waldorf34 said:

£7800 in total for first year ,what exactly do they need apart from a spreadsheet with members details?

A content Management system.

I can understand why they would want one TBH but not having anyone onboard prepared to create a simple website with one is an expensive problem.

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14 minutes ago, waldorf34 said:

£7800 in total for first year ,what exactly do they need apart from a spreadsheet with members details?

A content Management system.

I can understand why they would want one TBH but not having anyone onboard prepared to create a simple website with one is an expensive problem.

ETA. Thinking anout this a bit more, £4200 for a website is pretty expensive. A decent freelancer would charge about £30 to £50 an hour so that's around 100 hours work. What on earth do they need which requires nearly 3 weeks of continuous work given that they are currently getting by on spreadsheets?

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10 minutes ago, oaksoft said:

A content Management system.

I can understand why they would want one TBH but not having anyone onboard prepared to create a simple website with one is an expensive problem.

ETA. Thinking anout this a bit more, £4200 for a website is pretty expensive. A decent freelancer would charge about £30 to £50 an hour so that's around 100 hours work. What on earth do they need which requires nearly 3 weeks of continuous work given that they are currently getting by on spreadsheets?

It's not for the website it's already up and running

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A content Management system.
I can understand why they would want one TBH but not having anyone onboard prepared to create a simple website with one is an expensive problem.
Agreed.

I must have missed the call for support from within.

Maybe I'm being naive but I thought when fan ownership was being promoted, we would tap into the talents and abilities of the fanbase first and foremost.

Is there honestly not one of our 1,200 members with the skill and ability to save us a recurring expenditure of £300 per month.

Capital outlay for the sake of progress I support. Increased recurring expenditure is a dangerous thing and has to be avoidable for me to support it.

Not certain that's the case here.

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8 hours ago, BuddieinEK said:

The system will be used initially just for membership administration purposes, but once we are sure that it has bedded in and members have registered on it, we will begin to explore the additional functionality that it offers (e.g. ballots and events), and gradually roll these out to members.

Should this not be explored before purchasing the system, otherwise potential further costs might be placed by the operator

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9 hours ago, BuddieinEK said:

Agreed.

I must have missed the call for support from within.

Maybe I'm being naive but I thought when fan ownership was being promoted, we would tap into the talents and abilities of the fanbase first and foremost.

Is there honestly not one of our 1,200 members with the skill and ability to save us a recurring expenditure of £300 per month.

Capital outlay for the sake of progress I support. Increased recurring expenditure is a dangerous thing and has to be avoidable for me to support it.

Not certain that's the case here.

There is an explanatory link in that email you posted.

Can you provide the link or the text it leads to? Would be intesting to see how they costed the system, what quotes they reeceived and who won the bid.

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There is an explanatory link in that email you posted.
Can you provide the link or the text it leads to? Would be intesting to see how they costed the system, what quotes they reeceived and who won the bid.
The current set up and why it needs to be upgraded

Until now we have been operating with a number of different systems, none of which are interlinked.

Excel spreadsheets for the core membership data

Mailchimp for sending the regular update and ballot emails,

Election Runner for the director elections and £2 Spend ballots

Eventbrite for registrations for things like Manager Q&A nights

and of course Gocardless where members initially set up their direct debits

Each of these apart from Eventbrite have separate member email address lists which need to be individually updated for all changes to member data and status, and then reconciled frequently to ensure consistency.

All this background administration is a considerable workload for the SMISA committee. Removing the need for much of this work would free up committee time to help move SMiSA forward in other ways.

Although we take regular backups of files, the data could still be vulnerable to things like hardware failure or file corruption on individual computers or other devices.

Also in these days of strict data privacy and GDPR regulations a stand-alone spreadsheet based system does not deliver the required standard of security for member data.

The use of Excel, Mailchimp and Eventbrite are free to SMISA at present, although that may not always be the case in future. Eventbrite incurs costs of c £100 per ballot.

What will replace the current set up?

A list of core requirements for any new system was drawn up, and considerable research and trials undertaken of available off-the-shelf solutions. We eventually decided to go with a Glasgow-based platform called VeryConnect, which provides a membership database platform which can be customised and comes with built-in integration to Mailchimp and Gocardless.

The system will deliver the following benefits for member administration:

one central database of member data

built-in email and balloting functions

no need to maintain separate mailing lists in Election Runner and Mailchimp

Internet cloud based so can be accessed by all authorised committee members without the need to copy or download and distribute information for specific purposes.

Secure service provider platform with frequent backups.

Fully compliant with GDPR laws

The link with GoCardless ensures member data is captured as part of the joining up process.

The new portal also allows members to register and log in, enabling them to check and update their own personal and contact details, avoiding the need to contact SMiSA by email to request changes.

There are many other standard features which could be made available in future, including blogs, interest groups event calendar and the chance to read SMISA documents stored in the system.  These will be introduced gradually as and when appropriate.

All of this will let us provide a much improved service to members.

Costs  

But as you’d expect, professional systems like this don’t come for free. There is a one-off set-up cost (£4,200), and like most software services these days, an ongoing monthly subscription (£300).

If we use the inbuilt polling function in place of Election Runner this will save about £400 per annum.

We believe the net cost represents good value for the degree of functionality and customisation Very Connect will offer us, compared to many of the other possible solutions we looked into, many of which cost a lot more but with limited customisation options.

Whilst we always strive not to spend funds on operating costs if we can avoid it, we can’t go on forever as an organisation with a six-figure annual income and more than a thousand members if that operation is being run from an Excel spreadsheet on someone’s personal PC.

Also, if we’re not able to streamline the workload involved here, we may have needed to employ a part-time administrator to look after this for us, which other trusts (such as The Well Society and Foundation of Hearts) already do. This system will set us up for the foreseeable future as regards membership records and all that they involve.

Next Steps

All of our membership data has now been uploaded from the spreadsheets into the new system and we are currently working with Very Connect on the final set-up of the live system and running our final checks and reconciliations of the data.

Not all functionality will be activated on initial roll out of the portal, as we want to ensure that the core membership functions are in good order first.

Members will soon be invited to log in and register. We will require everyone to do this to check their address and contact details, and update them if required. You will also be able to set your preferences for contacts from SMiSA and to add optional information to your Profile page.

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Correct me if I am wrong, but not being a smisa member, or recipent of that email I dont see any link to the required vote of approval from the membership for that level of outlay?

The Smisa committee had a £500 threshold for expenditure on running costs they could sanction, and above that membership approval was required. Like i say maybe it was in the email?

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11 hours ago, oaksoft said:

A content Management system.

I can understand why they would want one TBH but not having anyone onboard prepared to create a simple website with one is an expensive problem.

ETA. Thinking anout this a bit more, £4200 for a website is pretty expensive. A decent freelancer would charge about £30 to £50 an hour so that's around 100 hours work. What on earth do they need which requires nearly 3 weeks of continuous work given that they are currently getting by on spreadsheets?

Veryconnect is a fantastic system (completely different build, design & usage to the ticket system) with capability way above what SMISA initially will be using it for. The cost might seem high but this comes with the added security of event & outage management plus accountability to the provider that you don’t get with independent website design packages. (Lucky even to get any kind of warranty) it’s not that much at all  

with the committee soon to be in charge of a football club that has the potential to see millions through and out its doors a year, the cost is drop in the ocean I’d say compared to what is invoked with running SMFC. Spreadsheets won’t cut it & if they fully utilise this system, it’ll cut weeks per year in admin time  

I know I get a hard time for my positive outlook but if some of the negativity on here for a monthly subscription that would likely be less than 1/10 the salary you’d pay an IT professional, it’s going to be a hell of a miserable ride when SMISA takeover the club :lol:

 

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£3600 annual Support & Maintenance on a £4.200 outlay system is massive.  I handle S&M contracts and we have lower on systems that cost upwards of 50k.  That seems excessive to me. The £4200 initial outlay seems reasonable it's the S&M I would be questioning.

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£3600 annual Support & Maintenance on a £4.200 outlay system is massive.  I handle S&M contracts and we have lower on systems that cost upwards of 50k.  That seems excessive to me. The £4200 initial outlay seems reasonable it's the S&M I would be questioning.
Me too.

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46 minutes ago, bazil85 said:

Veryconnect is a fantastic system (completely different build, design & usage to the ticket system) with capability way above what SMISA initially will be using it for. The cost might seem high but this comes with the added security of event & outage management plus accountability to the provider that you don’t get with independent website design packages. (Lucky even to get any kind of warranty) it’s not that much at all  

with the committee soon to be in charge of a football club that has the potential to see millions through and out its doors a year, the cost is drop in the ocean I’d say compared to what is invoked with running SMFC. Spreadsheets won’t cut it & if they fully utilise this system, it’ll cut weeks per year in admin time  

I know I get a hard time for my positive outlook but if some of the negativity on here for a monthly subscription that would likely be less than 1/10 the salary you’d pay an IT professional, it’s going to be a hell of a miserable ride when SMISA takeover the club :lol:

 

They will take over the clubs IT system surely 

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Wee FYI on membership storage software system pricing just so we have reference points. Not bothered quoting upfront & set-up costs but feel free if you want to  

Provider            Annual cost 

Oasis.            $3,300 - $8,100 (level 1-5)

MC/LMS       From €3,000

C&EA            From $2,500

Novi AMS    From $4,800 

Agilon          From $15,000

Not the lowest but certainly not the highest. There are many more online for people to do their own research.  

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£3600 annual Support & Maintenance on a £4.200 outlay system is massive.  I handle S&M contracts and we have lower on systems that cost upwards of 50k.  That seems excessive to me. The £4200 initial outlay seems reasonable it's the S&M I would be questioning.
As someone that can categorical reassure folk that they know nothing about anything S&M I'll bow to your superior knowledge.

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8 minutes ago, waldorf34 said:

They will take over the clubs IT system surely 

The club will have several IT systems & I’m sure that’ll be a conversation at the time. 

Us outgrowing excel spreadsheets right now doesn’t mean we need to keep paying for this system in a few years if it’s not needed. Personally I’m surprised they’ve copied on excel for so long, it’s not fit for purpose for keeping fluid personal days & pulling MI. Any tech minded person will confirm this. 

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