The History Behind DLS & DLS Online
Back in 1998, the software partner of The Computer Department, Inc was approached by his local Diocese of Springfield, IL about writing a Deposit & Loan application that would be Y2K compatible and could interface with their accounting system. First designed by that partner and the finance department with the dioceses, the first Deposit & Loan System was created. It was create using Access95 and a SQL back end.
Over the next few months, through word of mouth, other dioceses inquired about the software. The original design of a SQL back end made remote support complicated at the time and some of the dioceses didn't have SQL installed on their servers. It was decided to changed the backend to an MS Access database as well. Other changes were made in order to work with the requirements of these new locations including interfaces to other accounting systems.
About that time, the software partner sold his shares to the other partners but the demand for DLS grew after the new millennium for even more functions, features, and accounting interfaces. With each new client DLS grew more and more and became known as the premier deposit and loan software to manage diocese parish accounts. Talk also started about getting a Fund Pooling module and with the help of a few other dioceses we created the DLS+ package.
During that time, we were invited to attend the TX Fundware User's Group Gathering in Houston, TX to demonstrate DLS to many of the users of the accounting system American Fundware in the Texas area. It was our first experience actually showing off DLS to a diocese for the purpose of marketing. Before then all marketing was strictly word of mouth and we had sold a dozen copies of DLS in a year by this time.
Over the following several years we attended DFMC and DISC conferences in St. Petersburg, Denver, St. Louis, and to some degree Chicago. It was very enjoyable meeting future clients and our current clients at these events. We would get several suggestions for what was needed and we would add new features based upon these conversations.
As the internet grew more powerful, faster, and secure, it was not long before the request came for an online portal for the parishes to not only view their accounts but to save the diocese time and money by having the parishes be able to view and print their statements online. So, this is when DLS Financials package started to take shape as now there was DLS Online added to the DLS family.
With the financial crash in 2008, sales started to slow down and going to conventions just were not feasible as word of mouth was probably still our best marketing that we had. When dioceses typically started looking for deposit & loan software they would ask around to other dioceses and our name would come up. We started doing online demonstrations, installation, and training so even traveling was no longer needed to do these things. But was continued to add at least one to five new dioceses every year.
As the 20th year of DLS approached we decided to add some new modules with bigger functions like emailing confirmation letters, scheduling regular transactions, and adding documents to the data for safe storage and easy access within DLS where you might need these things and is already an organized datafile of locations and accounts. That is when we released the DOCs module to add the scheduling and documents.
Currently the latest requests have been for a process to have the parishes electronically request funds for withdraw or loan via DLS Online and coming into DLS at the dioceses for an approval process. Between rolling out DOCs to current clients, we have been working in DLS Online and DLS to make this happen and hope to have it released this summer.
Another bigger step is to make DLS into a totally cloud based application. The cost of such infrastructure is really very high. DLS would need to totally rewritten in internet-based languages and return to a SQL back end. In order to do such a step would either need us to partner with a larger company to invest cash or the cloud-based servers across the country to get the most reliable program. But with 2020 and the pandemic, we found that the best and most economical way to provide a similar service is through RDP.
Working with many of our current clients, we set up RDP to their workstations at the office or to an RDP server setup. Everyone that used RPD found that it was a wonderful and far faster option than VPN which requires large amounts of data to actually transmit through the internet. While still secure, it was very limiting and slow. Speed would be affected by the employee’s home internet service speed which most home don't have really high speeds for data transfers.
The cost of a cloud based DLS that is currently out there is about $10k each and every year. About $5k just to get it set up for total first year cost of about $15k. For even the top-of-the-line DLS Financials package with DLS Online, all modules, and support the first-year cost is only about the same as the cloud service but each year after that the cost is only $3,300/year. That is about $7k less each year that a diocese would be paying to use RDP with DLS than using a cloud service. That is $7k more each year that can go to help struggling parishes, missions, or education.
While an entire RDP server setup can cost a lot of money, we have experimented with "mini-computers" to use as RDP workstations. About $100 computers with no monitor, no mouse, and no keyboard except for setting it up for RDP and is about 5"x5"x1.5" in size work. Install MS Office and the RDP setup and your workers can work anywhere in the world fast and securely in DLS saving thousands of dollars over a cloud-based system.
Our goal at The Computer Department, Inc is to save you money and still work quickly and securely and DLS Financials is over the internet is still the best choice for getting the most out of your budget.
Back in 2001 we were invited to show our product Deposit & Loan System to the Texas Area American Fundware users group meeting at the Holy Name Retreat Center in Houston.
After 2001, we were invited to show our product at the DISC in St. Petersburg and also went to the DFMC in Denver, St. Louis, and Chicago. We enjoyed meeting current and future clients at these events.