International Media Ministry Upgrades to Serenic Navigator
"TWR also appreciated Serenic Navigator’s ability to grow with its organization and improve productivity, thus allowing the organization “to spend more time analyzing figures and lesstime pulling financial information together.”
- Steve Hippe, TWR CFO
Speaking fluently in more than 200 languages and dialects, Christian media organization Trans World Radio’s (TWR) global media outreach engages millions of listeners across 160 countries. Since 1952, the nonprofit organization has worked together with international partners, local churches and other ministries to provide relevant programming, discipleship resources and dedicated workers to bring encouragement to individuals and communities around the globe.
Whether using high-powered radio and local FM networks to reach people in the Middle East and Latin America, or streaming content to Internet users in Asia and Europe, or visiting face-to-face with listeners in Africa, TWR’s global network of more than 1,000 people works diligently to leave a lasting spiritual footprint. Its U.S.headquarters in Cary, N.C., serves as a pivotal office for its finance, development, information systems, strategic facilitation and human resources areas.
TWR first implemented Serenic Navigator in 2003 after an extensive review of more than 50 products to replace an aging accounting system that was no longer supported. Besides Serenic Navigator, TWR considered Blackbaud, Fundware and Great Plains in its search for a global fund accounting system that could track international donations throughout the global scope of its ministry.
The organization selected Serenic Navigator and, for seven years, realized significant benefits across its 30-person finance department. This included accounting staff in nine different countries working with data transferred between servers in five geographic locations. TWR appreciated Serenic Navigator’s ability to grow with its organization over time and improve productivity, thus allowing the nonprofit “to spend moretime analyzing figures and less time pulling financial information together,” said TWR CFO Steve Hippe.
In 2010, TWR was one of the first Serenic clients to upgrade to Serenic Navigator 2009. It had been four years since the organization’s last upgrade, so its users looked forward to updated features like dimension attributes and extended fields that would help it create efficiencies each day.
After using Serenic Navigator 2009, TWR has enjoyed the numerous new features. Like earlier versions, Serenic Navigator 2009 handles TWR’s activities in more than 25 currencies, consolidates financial activity from its regional and field offices around the world and translates that activity into a common reporting currency.
“Since we hadn’t upgraded our system in many years, we were behind the times in terms of features like dimension attributes and extended fields that came with our Serenic Navigator 2009 upgrade,” said Cheryl Reynolds, TWR finance support specialist. “The improved functionality and speed definitely addressed our pain points.”
Smaller Database Helps Saves Time and Storage Space
One great benefit for TWR was reducing the size of its large database by half. A new tiered architecture changed the table structure in Serenic Navigator 2009. This speeds access to internal databases and saves time running reports while conserving valuable data storage space.
“Having a smaller database has been a great benefit, since we don’t have to go through terminal services and can go through the Serenic Navigator client instead,” Reynolds explained. “Improved speed helps provide maintenance and support for global locations from our office in the U.S.”
TWR relies on Jet Reports, which gives users multi-database, module and company access in a Microsoft Excel-based reporting solution. TWR has found Jet Reports runs faster with its Serenic Navigator 2009 upgrade, since the organization’s databases are smaller.
Improved Experience Empowers Users
TWR found the familiar User Interface (UI) offers intuitive navigation and makes it easy to find information, helping to minimize training time.
“Everyone loves the new UI, which was a concern at first when we wondered if they would adjust to it,” Reynolds said. “All of my users easily adapted and love it. It’s logical in terms of how you see things and easier for them than previous versions.”
TWR’s users across the globe cited several specific improvements in Serenic Navigator:
- The UI is designed very logically, and role-centered personalization allows people to see only what they need and not be distracted by screens cluttered with fields they don’t need.
“Users like the ability to personalize the system on their own level,” Reynolds said. “I don’t have to go in and set up each UI, and everyone can get what they need, which is a great advantage to the upgrade.”
- Role centers present specific information based on employees’ job functions to help easily prioritize tasks and make quick business decisions.
- The new search capability makes navigation much easier and faster, helping users quickly and easily find keys and features they may not use every day.
- Vendor invoice entry is much quicker than before and saves time.
- A function is built in to send information to Microsoft Excel rather than needing to copy and paste into a spreadsheet.
- An improved ability to sort data provides a faster response time in the system, since there are smaller databases and a better layout of table structures.
“The general consensus among our users is that Serenic Navigator 2009 saves time on a daily basis,” Reynolds said. “Overall, what used to take three to four steps can now be accomplished in one or two steps.”