Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why Blogging Should be Added to the New Internet Mission Office System Now Operating in LDS Missions

Yesterday in my blog I discussed how Joel Dehlin the LDS CIO should produce an Internet Missionary Office System (iMOS) that would allow blogging. Upon reading on one of the mission president's blogs I discovered that Dehlin was more on the ball than I supposed and had been working on a system for a year or so. Apparently they have been working on a Internet Missionary system that will allow mission presidents to move missionaries around in virtual reality and the system then predicts what will happen in that particular area. It also handles all kinds of missionary reporting. It can receive missionary information directly from LDS Church headquarters. It seems to be a good platform for what I was proposing. I don't think it would be overly difficult to add the function to blog and for missionaries to send in weekly reports via the Internet.

On the private system it could have the missionaries weekly report pop up under their picture. How cool would that be. The mission president could sit contemplating the face of the missionary while reading their report. I still think the missionaries and the mission president need to have public blogs so we all can get the benefit of their wisdom. I think this platform could have an area for their blogs and could be accessed worldwide.

LDS Tech says on the functionality of the new iMOS system: "The beta version of project 1, which is currently operating in nine missions, contains functionality for managing mission organization. It gives mission presidents the ability to create transfer scenarios, which provide a visual representation of the mission's organization. Using transfer scenarios, a mission president can see how changes to missionaries' assignments will affect the entire mission." The purpose of the iMOS program is to "simplify mission office management and increase the efficiency with which mission offices function, thus allowing office missionaries more time to spread the gospel."

One of the eight mission presidents, President Mike Murray of the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission who is using the iMOS system wrote on his Called to Serve: Official Blog of the Pennsylvania Mission about his perspective of the new missionary application:

"All missions use Church-developed software to manage operations of a mission. There are numerous data bases and reporting systems that help us keep track of each missionary, apartments, incoming and outgoing travel itineraries, health records, baptism and confirmation records for new converts, vehicle maintenance, bill paying, etc.

The Church recently upgraded the software so that it is now a web-based application. This is a great improvement because, among other things, it allows for user flexibility. For instance, I can access the applications on my laptop wherever I am. This is a huge benefit to a mission president.

PPM (Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission) was asked to test this software about 3 months ago. We were the first mission in the world to use it. This past week the Church sponsored an online webinar--an internet-based interactive seminar--featuring our set of data and records. This was great fun for Elder Andrew Toolson who was the primary tester of the software while serving as an Office Elder. In addition to Elder Toolson, his replacement Elder Allen and our Office Secretary Sister Larson have played big roles in testing and using the new software. These photos are from the webinar. The Church broadcast the webinar over the Internet and we projected it from a laptop onto a wall in our mission office. The audio for the webinar came through our speakerphone."

I am excited to see the Church Information Technology Department streamlining the missionary reporting process. It will save hundreds of hours and make missionary transfers and reporting much easier. Now if they could just make it for missionaries to blog it would be a killer application.


S.Faux said...

I think you have identified something big here.

But, I have a hard time imaging missionaries doing public blogging. Private reports, well, that is fantastic. But, I wonder how there could be any quality control over what they write -- or would there need to be?

All in all, computerized missionary work is a great idea, and I hope some version of it is implemented.

Dr. B said...

I think you are on to something also here as some the honorably excused types such as those overweight or tattooed or older couples could join the ranks of the call and do missionary work from home. That is a great idea more people could be used that have physical limitations but quick minds kind of like Orson Scott Card's character who navigated the ship with his mind. I also don't see why a few seventies couldn't get in to the mix or former mission presidents for that matter or even some of those lazy BYU religion professors that don't seem to publish much.