ER: Electronic Reporting beyond printing to PDF

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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ER: Electronic Reporting beyond printing to PDF

Postby christopherlohman » Mon Jan 05, 2015 1:45 am

Problem: We are finding ourselves buried in paper every time we touch MLS. It is constantly asking us to print reports from recent activity. The reports are necessary, and we look at them, but we are drowning in paper and stumbling every time the paper isn't appropriately filed in the right physical inbox of the clerks and bishopric. Too much paper equates to human errors.

PDF not good enough: We're trying to ask people to print to PDF and store in a local secured folder, however that brings the same problems found with humans and paper management. If someone isn't paying very close attention, they file it in the wrong folder and things get missed.

Enhancement: We want to keep local electronic copies of everything that we would normally print, for about 6 months. We frequently reference the old paper records back to about 6 months ago. It would be very helpful if MLS had an option to electronically store, tag, index, and make searchable, everything that is now normally offers to print. Even better would be the option to always store an electronic copy of every printout, while still retaining the ability to print when prompted.

  • Easiest, have it automatically convert to PDF and email to the local clerk for which the report is appropriate. For example, finance stuff to finance clerk, records stuff to records clerk. By simply giving us an easy way to automatically PDF and copy to inbox all automatic printouts, we would recognize a huge benefit. This is currently possible with manual intervention. As this is an enhancement request, we want things to be automated instead. It takes more time to print to PDF and save to a folder than it does to print to paper.
  • Ideally: A little Sharepoint type content management system. When the report is automatically prompted, metadata is assigned to it. When it is automatically stored to the CM, all data is indexed. That data is self organized, perhaps with rules that we could customize, and becomes searchable. Perhaps we could setup a workflow trigger to notify "x" clerk when "y" metadata is newly indexed. And then allow us to set a retention policy to automatically remove the data upon expiration.

The ultimate problem to improve on is caused by the good and necessary automatic printing system. We need and look at all of that data. But we need to automate it further to eliminate human error. When we hit "transmit" and it gives us 6 resulting printouts, instead of manually pushing that paper in to different physical inboxes for various calling, we need it to all stay digital.

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Re: ER: Electronic Reporting beyond printing to PDF

Postby russellhltn » Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:40 am

I don't think MLS is going to see any significant development. The emphasis for the limited development resources is to move functions to the LCR.

Personally, I'd like to see the printouts replaced by a type of "journal" file that can be referenced as to what happened/when. However, taking a cue from how HT/VT is being moved, there may not be any change in features when it's initially moved.
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