Rock of Ages Ministries (ROA) is a faith-based organization determined to influence and assist correctional and education facilities all over the world. ROA originally started over 30 years ago at the home of a Christian minister. The organization consists of over 175 missionaries in all 50 states and in 5 different countries. Rock of Ages Ministries has worked with prisons, detention centers, and awareness programs at public schools, among many other programs and facilities.

Challenge

Though the organization has been running smoothly for a few decades now, president of ROA, Dr. Terry Ellis, recently realized the existing means of communication in his expanding organization were not substantial. Over the past few decades, the ministry has grown from one man distributing recorded tapes of sermons to organizing hundreds of families to provide social and spiritual services throughout the world. The process of keeping each individual family or unit informed and updated requires more than standard communication, it requires total collaboration. Circulating a monthly calendar proved inadequate with the current pace of 21st century communication.

Currently, 175 families work with the ministry across the globe, from southern Asia to eastern and western Europe. Rock of Ages Ministry puts forth a significant effort in reaching out to prisons, juvenile detention centers and school-sponsored prison prevention programs. The primary focus of this program is to assist participants in making the most of their time and enhance their personal and spiritual rehabilitation process.

The task of maintaining fluid communication with the regionally dispersed units, both between external groups as well as internally, means that a fully integrated system including task management, shared documents, and a robust scheduling system is necessary.

The Journey

Rick Simpson, Executive Director, and Dr. Terry Ellis, Executive VP, originally began a search for a collaborative platform to maintain a central means of communication. The initial concentration was in making sure all the members in the organization were informed and up to date with developing programs. Additionally, the missionaries sought the ability to set up conferences and programs to ensure everybody remained on the same page.

The Discovery

After completing thorough research and evaluating different solutions, ultimately, the decision came between two collaboration solutions, WebOffice and HyperOffice. Unlike WebOffice, where each group had to be individually purchased, HyperOffice provided an unlimited number of groups. With an organization that has 175 missionaries, it would be extremely costly to maintain their current structure in this pricing model. To top it off, HyperOffice provided double the amount of storage for the same price as WebOffice. It became clear that the complete collaborative suite of HyperOffice offered the structure, features and pricing model required to maintain their growing ministry.

Solution

The implementation

After pitching the HyperOffice collaboration suite to directors and the executives of the organization, they presented HyperOffice to a beta group of just 2 people. After positive feedback, they graduated to an audience of 10, and then finally with overwhelmingly rave reviews, decided to present to the congregation as a whole.

The process of implementation was facilitated by custom training sessions developed by HyperOffice with the rock of ages needs in mind. Through these sessions, Rock of Ages was able to determine the best approach for their organization within HyperOffice, as well as improve upon existing processes. However, convincing the missionaries to adopt HyperOffice took some additional work. As noted, the previous system for collaboration was build upon contact via email- the missionaries were not accustomed to such an advanced system for total collaboration as HyperOffice provides. Not being the most tech-savvy users, the idea of a web-based collaborative system for the Rock of Ages missionaries was a potentially daunting experience. Thankfully, the HyperOffice system was built with the non-technical user in mind. To facilitate usability, the portal was scaled down so only the information applicable to each user was visible. Not only did this influence the navigation of the portal to enhance the user experience, but it also decreased confusion and made the portal more accessible for the basic user.

Not only is HyperOffice now fully adopted within Rock of Ages, but they have grown to now include their entire ministry of over 100 users.

An Evolution

At the present time, Rock of Ages uses HyperOffice to not only communicate with their missionaries, but also keep up to date on the events which may affect them. The document repository has provided a means to maintain several versions of a single document as well as set permissions based on the group of user associated with it. The scheduling function has eliminated the need for email announcements for meetings and allowed for a higher volume of information to be present for display. In addition, the contact section allows Rock of Ages to maintain a complete database of information on prisons, missionaries as well as associated universities and correctional facilities. The ability to interlink these aspects of the product creates a seamless and fluid structure for navigation and search.

Through the assistance of HyperOffice, Rock of Ages Ministries has matured from its days as a single person operation to a well-respected organization with over a hundred missionaries in multiple regions, both domestic and international.

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