Some Suggestions to Improve MLS Efficiency (MLS Wish List)

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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BALOTABJ
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Some Suggestions to Improve MLS Efficiency (MLS Wish List)

Postby BALOTABJ » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:29 am

Hi! I would like to suggest a few features that might be helpful to leaders and clerks. I don't know if these have already been suggested or are in the process of construction.

(1) Link tithing from out-of-unit donations to their homeward - For example, a member from Norway went to visit family members living in another country. When she goes back to her homeward, she expects her tithing donations to be accurate.

(2) Calendar Items in MLS - I don't know if this is possible. I noticed that we already have a calendar in lds.org. Why not link it to a local calendar in MLS? Updates can be done when transmitting data.

(3) Forms and Templates for letters (such as new member welcome and invitation to speak at sacrament meeting) - This is just to simplify and standardize the letters. The person addressed in the letter will come from MLS data.

Example:

Office of the Bishop
Parañaque First Ward
Parañaque Philippines Stake


August 1, 2011

Juan Dela Cruz
Address Street 1
City and Zip

Dear Brother Juan,

Letter

Sincerely,

Bishop Bishop

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:56 am

BALOTABJ wrote:(1) Link tithing from out-of-unit donations to their homeward - For example, a member from Norway went to visit family members living in another country. When she goes back to her homeward, she expects her tithing donations to be accurate.


I think that's coming. However, in the case cited, there is tax law to consider. There may be limitations on what can be done when different countries are involved.



BALOTABJ wrote:(2) Calendar Items in MLS - I don't know if this is possible. I noticed that we already have a calendar in lds.org. Why not link it to a local calendar in MLS? Updates can be done when transmitting data.



I can see where that might be an advantage for a ward that doesn't have any Internet connectivity except for MLS. But the trend is toward each meetinghouse having an Internet connection. In that situation, I fail to see how adding a calendering functions to MLS would help.


BALOTABJ wrote:(3) Forms and Templates for letters (such as new member welcome and invitation to speak at sacrament meeting) - This is just to simplify and standardize the letters. The person addressed in the letter will come from MLS data.




The church generally leaves those kinds of details to the local leadership. I'm not sure how "mail merge" friendly MLS is. It might be a good suggestion to allow an output format that could easily be used by Open Office as a mail merge file.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

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Postby jdlessley » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:38 am

BALOTABJ wrote:(1) Link tithing from out-of-unit donations to their homeward - For example, a member from Norway went to visit family members living in another country. When she goes back to her homeward, she expects her tithing donations to be accurate.
I can see how this would benefit the members. However, before an donation made through another unit can be processed such that it would be properly credited to that member a membership record number (MRN) must be provided along with the donation. There is more to this than simply providing a MRN with the donation. Not only would MLS have to be programmed for this but the backend would have to accommodate this situation (which may be in the process of being accommodated). Privacy laws may also have an impact on the issue. In the european community this is more of an issue than in the US.

BALOTABJ wrote:(2) Calendar Items in MLS - I don't know if this is possible. I noticed that we already have a calendar in lds.org. Why not link it to a local calendar in MLS? Updates can be done when transmitting data.
I don't see the benefit. MLS is for keeping records related to membership and finances. MLS does not currently provide a calendar. I don't see how adding a calendar provides any benefit to these functions. The current trend in MLS functionality is to provide MLS capabilities on-line. Adding the on-line calendar to MLS appears to me to be a reverse of that trend. Transmission times for those with dial-up is already at a premium. Adding another package or packages of data would only add to connection time. Those with broadband already have access to the on-line calendar through a web browser.

BALOTABJ wrote: (3) Forms and Templates for letters (such as new member welcome and invitation to speak at sacrament meeting) - This is just to simplify and standardize the letters. The person addressed in the letter will come from MLS data.
I agree somewhat with this recommendation. The implementation as suggested would require database connectivity between MLS and specific word processing programs within which the template would function. The Church does not require or specify any word processing programs for Church units to use. Which of the many available word processing programs to use, if any, is left up to local leadership to determine. As an economy measure and as a convenience to Church units the free office suite OpenOffice is made available.

I think the approach to having MLS database access from third party programs directly would require an implementation that maintains the limited access currently implemented through user account permissions. Indirect access to the database is currently available through exports that can be manipulated for use by the third party program being used.
JD Lessley
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Postby BALOTABJ » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:00 pm

I think that's coming. However, in the case cited, there is tax law to consider. There may be limitations on what can be done when different countries are involved.


True. We might also have problems with the currency conversion, but I'm sure there is a way to create something that would benefit the members and leaders. I encountered some cases where members needed to text somebody they know in our ward to have their donations verified.

Thank you for looking into the suggestions I had in mind. I know MLS will get better and better.

Actually I really feel that MLS is the best program/application ever created. This is the only system that can process data from different countries and locations.


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