The UMC Data Sync
For many years now, the idea of a unified data stream synced among agencies and conferences, through which data could be entered only once and dispersed throughout the UMC Connection, was wishful thinking. That wish is quickly becoming a reality.
Comprised of representatives from six general agencies and eight annual conferences, the Data Advisory Team (DAT) is working to define data standards and practices for sharing key data on people and churches across the denomination. After months of hard work, a draft plan, including an extensive Data Definitions Manual, was presented to key stakeholders beginning in Fall 2012.
Currently, GCFA staff are in the process of syncing all annual conference databases with GCFA’s Ezra database. Once the sync is complete, changes in data and the annual conference will automatically populate at GCFA.
THE DATA SYNC OBJECTIVE
Data should be entered only once at any point in the connection, controlled by the annual conference, and dispersed to all agencies as needed.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Once a sync is established between your conference and GCFA, your official data will automatically populate the data-bases of the agencies, reducing the number of surveys and data requests your conference staff have to process. Every minute or dollar saved from this administrative process is a minute or dollar that can be spent in other ministry.
HOW IS THE DATA SYNCED?
Using a program called Centerprise (installed locally at the conference), files are synced nightly between conferences and GCFA via an FTP connection. GCFA and the conferences stay in touch, providing feedback and solving error issues, improving the quality of the data through communication and accessibility.
IS THIS MANDATORY?
Yes, unless your conference uses Ezra for your data management and already syncing with GCFA. Our goal is to have all conferences syncing their data by December 2015.
WHAT DO ANNUAL CONFERENCES NEED TO DO?
Contact GCFA to sign up, and our Data Specialists will work with your conference staff to make sure that all of your data is in the correct form, contains the appropriate information, and fulfills all requirements as outlined in the Data Definitions Manual.
WHO CAN I CONTACT?
Senior Manager of Data Policy and Research
Data Sync Information, Support, & Training