United Methodist Church Selects Astera to Integrate Complex Data Across Conferences Nationwide
“We are thrilled to work with Astera and are confident that Centerprise will solve our data movement needs. The support and training we have received has been truly top notch and it shows that Astera has a heart for working with nonprofits. We have truly enjoyed the collaboration and cohesiveness among our constitutents that has come as a result of the product.”
Michael Cook, IT Director
Financial and administrative data migration across church conferences nationwide
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) coordinates and administers the finances, property, and statistical resources of The United Methodist Church and safeguards the Church’s legal interests and rights.
GCFA is responsible for consolidating and reporting financial and administrative data from conferences, districts, and churches. Historically, this data consolidation took place using a patchwork of homegrown and off-the-shelf products.
The conference determined that the legacy infrastructure was no longer sufficient for their business needs and embarked on a modernization project. Their primary need was to have data syncing from 59 separate annual church conferences to GCFA, from which the data will be spread among other entities.
After a detailed evaluation, GCFA selected Centerprise for its superior usability, flexibility, and overall functionality.
GCFA is responsible for consolidating and reporting financial and administrative data from 59 annual conferences spread across the nation. These conferences house data in a variety of homegrown and commercial software products and platforms. Data structures and semantics are different across these conferences and must be normalized before importing to the consolidated operational data store.
This difficulty meant that management reports reflected data that was weeks or even months old, which adversely affected the decision-making processes.
Centerprise Data Integrator
- Data synced from 59 annual church conferences to GCFA and shared with other entities
- Consolidation and reporting of financial and administrative data from conference, districts, and churches
- Use by a large number of users globally
- Functionality for complex data transformations, data cleansing, and automation
- Support for numerous databases and formats in use at all the conferences
Because the selected data integration product would be used by large number of users spread across the globe, ease of use was considered to be of paramount importance. Also important was the ability to provide the functionality for complex data transformations, data cleansing, job orchestration, scheduling, and other features that would enable GCFA to automate the integration process. Additionally, the product must support numerous databases and formats in use at all the conferences.
Astera Solution and Results
GCFA evaluated several products and decided to pursue a detailed proof of concept with Astera’s Centerprise Data Integrator. The proof of concept entailed building end-to-end integration with selected conferences. These conferences were chosen for the complexity of their operations and participation by their IT staff.
With Astera’s assistance, a proof of concept was developed and presented to the United Methodist Information Technology Association’s annual meeting. The solution received a resounding approval from the conference attendees.
GCFA is currently in the process of deploying integration solution across the conferences in a phased approach.
The United Methodist Church selected Centerprise because it met and exceeded all their objectives. Their experts evaluated Astera’s solution for ease of use and concluded that the learning curve was not too high because of a fairly straight-forward, drag-and-drop interface. Further, using the SQL Source and Lookup components, the developers at the United Methodist Church were able to employ their SQL skills and get started with using the solution right away. This not only helped them continue their data management processes with minimal interruption, but also contributed value in the long term in terms of less development time and cost.