We’ve been with Scoutbook for 6+ years now, predating the BSA purchase, so we are well familiar with the features and functionality. The previous Pack leadership thought Scoutbook to be the best solution for us at the time. Because of that, I have no idea what additional functionality other services provide. I only see the holes in Scoutbook. Now that we are using Scoutbook, I would never attempt to move off of it.
I’m disappointed as I really thought that the BSA purchase would provide much needed funds and direction and kick-start development into a best-in-class application. A big part of the dues increase last year was supposed to go to IT systems and should have been able to fund significant improvements in all of BSA’s systems. We’d be happy to continue to pay extra for Scoutbook if the money would go to enhancing the program itself and reducing the number of clicks needed to accomplish tasks.
One of the best, and worst, things that BSA did was tying Scoutbook into Akela. It’s great for day to day stuff, making ordering advancements really simple. However, its really bad when back-end screw-ups affect Scout & adult records, which has happened to us a number of times over the last year. The worst part of the tie-in is a lack of available support. I don’t know about your local Council, but ours sees that an issue has to do with Scoutbook and says they can’t do anything with it. That leaves us emailing for Support with nobody to talk to. It sure would be nice for local Councils to understand that it is all BSA and lend a hand. In their defense, I do know from talking to our COO that the Council portion of Scoutbook is weak and doesn’t provide them much in the way of reporting either.
I understand the challenges of changing Advancements. Heck, that was hard for us leaders who had to constantly keep up with the changes. It’s that lack of heads-up that disappoints me the most. We are all part of one happy Scouting family and should be working towards the good of the overall program. It seems that there are silos at BSA and folks don’t want to help folks in other silos. Program & IT are one you mentioned. I mentioned local Council and Scoutbook. It’s frustrating for leaders to be involved in pissing matches like these.
As a Dad and a Leader, I don’t see the changes you mention. I don’t know that the reporting screen for youth is improved, but then I didn’t think it bad to begin with. My frustration is with the calendar and the work required to manage it to keep parents in the loop. All I know is that I have parents coming to us not being in the loop, not understanding how to use Scoutbook and wondering why it is so outdated. It makes sense to those of us that use it on a daily basis, but to others conditioned by Facebook, Google Sheets, etc. it looks outdated, stale and confusing.
Bottom line, I really wish the functionality of the app could be improved at a quicker pace, even if that meant charging a fee to Packs & Troops to do so, just like it used to be.