Plus versus Online Decision

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Plus versus Online Decision

Postby LGPC-John » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:44 pm

We are evaluating whether to use desktop (Plus) or the web (Online) version. We are a single location church with 1-2 Accounting users (including payroll), 2 Church Management users and possible use of Check-In functionality. We have stable and (relatively) fast internet service from Comcast in the Pittsburgh PA area.

What is the "best" (functionality, maintenance, ease of use) option between Plus (desktop) and Online (web access)?
What is the approximate percentage of PC-Plus installations versus the percentage of Online installations?
Cost is close enough between the two that cost is not a major factor. What other factors should we consider?
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Re: Plus versus Online Decision

Postby NeilZ » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:48 pm

LGPC-John wrote:We are evaluating whether to use desktop (Plus) or the web (Online) version. We are a single location church with 1-2 Accounting users (including payroll), 2 Church Management users and possible use of Check-In functionality. We have stable and (relatively) fast internet service from Comcast in the Pittsburgh PA area.

What is the "best" (functionality, maintenance, ease of use) option between Plus (desktop) and Online (web access)?


Depends. PCPlus Online users do not need to worry about doing updates, and will always have the latest version. That said, you have to do your own backups, and download them to a local drive. While Powerchurch does do a full server backup in case of failure, they do not have the capability to restore an individual database if someone deletes something that needs to be recovered. The other issue is that you're accessing the 'cloud' servers using a connection program.

PCPlus standard requires that the user perform the updates, however, the system does let you know when they are available. Again, you have to do your own backups of the data, but you can set that up to be done automatically on the 'server' computer (the one where the program and the data reside) using the standard Windows Task Scheduler.

Powerchurch Check-In will work with either, however, the connection is different depending if you're using PCPlus standard, or Online.

What is the approximate percentage of PC-Plus installations versus the percentage of Online installations?


I would say, about 70-30 to 75-25 right now. I'm basing that on the numbers of questions I answer here about PCPlus Online. I could be off a bit. Again, they don't release exact numbers.

Cost is close enough between the two that cost is not a major factor. What other factors should we consider?


How many concurrent users will you have? PCPlus standard is a site license, you can install it on as many computers as you have on the network, and they all can access the system at the same time. Online you can only have two concurrent users, which means if you would want to have additional users on the system, they would have to wait until someone else was offline, or you'd have to add on an additional user package.

For Online, who will do your backups? As I mentioned, you have to manually perform the backup of your database, and download it to a local drive (or USB drive) so you have it if needed to restore. There is no way to automate that currently.

Neil Zampella

Using PC+ since 1999.
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Re: Plus versus Online Decision

Postby LGPC-John » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:35 am

Great responses - THANK YOU
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Re: Plus versus Online Decision

Postby TonyL222 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:55 pm

We just moved from over 20 years of PC+ to PC Online. Functionally, they are pretty much identical. Same look and user interface - whcih made the transition easier.

We made the decision for several reasons:

1. Remote access to PC+ was difficult. The remote access links had to be maintained by or network folks, and was prone to not working at times. It also didn't work from mobile devices - phones and tablets. It worked best when you were on the church's internal network.

2. PC online only requires a device with Internet access. The IDS client gives FULL access, runs on Windows and IOS PCs. I have it running on an Android tablet (I'm sure it would work on an iPad) but I would not recommend it for a mobile phone. I think NeilZ stated that you can load the IDS client on as many devices as you want - but concurrent access is limited to two per purchased instance. So you have to estimate how many concurrent full users you may have and subscribe to the appropriate number.

3. The web access provides for an unlimited number of concurrent users, and again only requires a device with Internet access and a web browser. Perfect fro a mobile phone. However it is for access to Membership and Visitation modules ONLY. Great for ministers and deacons who have to look up member contact info and record visitation logs.

4. For our particular case it was part of a justification to avoid a $16k server upgrade.

NeilZ brought up a great concern about backups since PC is only backing up for disaster. But if we mess something up and want to go back a day, then we would have had to have run our own PC Online backup and saved it. Not sure if it's possible but I am looking into Microsoft Powershell to have a script written.
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