By the time you read this, the Kansas City Chiefs will have already won the Super Bowl and Patrick Mahomes will have already been to Disney World. The fanfare and championship parade in Kansas City will be over and, if you’re an avid NFL fan, you’ll no doubt be looking forward to the upcoming NFL season. Are you a fan of professional American football? Did you watch the Super Bowl this year?

Maybe you’re like me and my family. My family and I are HUGE baseball fans (Go St. Louis Cardinals), but we do enjoy gathering around the TV as a family (sometimes with friends) to watch the big NFL showdown between the two best teams. In addition to the game itself, my family and I enjoy the anticipation of and watching all those commercials! Did those expensive commercials live up to all the hype and expectation this year? I’ll leave that for you to decide, but there was one commercial that really stood out for me.

Did you happen to catch the 60 second Jeep spot that featured Bill Murray in a reprise of his role in the movie Groundhog Day? Oh, and I’d be completely remiss if I didn’t mention that Jeep decided to feature the 2020 Gladiator mid-size truck! That last fact is what had me and my family so excited about this particular commercial. Sure, Bill Murray is an excellent comedian and Groundhog Day is still as funny today as it was years ago, but what you don’t know is that my entire family and I are what some might call Jeep fanatics- we even own a 2020 Jeep Gladiator! Over the years our Jeep obsession has led my family down the old JEEP dirt road (Just Empty Every Pocket), but that’s all part of our family making new memories. Memories all made off the paved road, on the back trails, or the sandy beach, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. By now I’m sure you’re asking yourself how the Super Bowl, TV commercials, and Jeeps tie into the life of this I.T. geek. Well I’m glad you are wondering! If you’re still with me read on as we dive in.  

A Jeep, or any off-road vehicle for that matter, can be highly customized to fit the desire of the owner. What size wheels and tires should I run? 33”, 35”, or even 40” tires? What size lift should I go with? Will I need a new front bumper to accommodate a winch? Stubby bumper or full width? Should I install trail lights? Hard top or soft top? Water fording? Do I need a snorkel? You get the picture and customization options are endless for any Jeep owner.

The same can be said for the I.T. infrastructure in your church. Infinitely customizable. When I sit down with a or a new client, or one that we have been partnered with for decades, one of the first questions I ask is, “What are the expectations for your church I.T. system?” Let’s examine electronic communication for example. Does your church require a more custom email server configuration with the ability to scale up for growth and also anticipate needing advanced features that you don’t need today? Maybe your church wants to hold your own data. If either of these are true, an on-premise Exchange mail server would be a good fit. Keep in mind that having on-premise servers means a more robust on-premise system to keep that Exchange server up. Things like redundant server power supplies and redundant UPS batteries will be something to consider.

On the other side of the equation, maybe your church doesn’t need or doesn’t anticipate needing access to advanced email features, and data control isn’t a big concern. If this is the case, then hosting your church’s email system using Office 365 could be the answer. You won’t have as much control, but generally things like up time won’t be something you’ll have to plan for when compared to an on-premise solution. There’s also the in-between to consider. Maybe your church desires or requires a more custom email solution paired with apps like Teams or Planner that run only in Office 365. In this case a hybrid system might be the answer, with an on-premise Exchange email server coexisting with Office 365. This is possible, and there is a supported solution for this type of configuration. Your church’s I.T. system is just like a Jeep with infinite custom configuration options. The big question really is, “What are your expectations for your church I.T. system?”

Until next time my friends.