The Paper Problem
Just how big of a problem was the conference facing concerning their paper? “Our filing cabinets were simply overflowing,” said Cindi Patsios, Administrative Assistant to Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett. “It was a problem to have to get up and go to the particular file cabinet to search for a document. It also took more time,” Patsios added.
The sheer volume of paper wasn’t the only problem. Paper records are more difficult to find and distribute, while they are much easier to lose and destroy. Paper takes up valuable office space, costs resource time to manage, and is more susceptible to theft, flood, and fire. “I can’t think of one good reason to not convert to a paperless system,” Patsios mentioned.
How eBridge Helped
The North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church (NACUMC) turned to eBridge in 2008 after hearing about how a sister conference was using it to modernize their offices. “We heard about eBridge from the Florida Annual Conference, and we’re glad we did!” explained Patsios. Since then, the conference has added over 140,000 documents to their cloud-based file cabinet.
The first order of business was to focus on the existing paper backlog. “Going from paper to paperless was easier than I thought. It took two people about four months to get completely caught up,” Patsios recalled. “Now, just one person keeps the files updated on a regular basis.”
When asked how her job has improved with eBridge she responded, “It is now very convenient to find what I need from my desk or anywhere that I have internet access.” Additionally, eBridge makes it easy for administrators like Patsios to control user access to the file cabinet. “I can give interviewers and certain committees temporary access if I need to,” she continued. “I can put emails and document attachments directly in my cabinet easily,” she concluded.
The NACUMC has expanded its use of eBridge beyond its center in Birmingham, Alabama. “We expanded to districts and have encouraged other offices to use eBridge as well,” said Patsios. Sharing information across the conference’s districts, ministries, and parishes is easier than ever before now that they have switched to a paperless environment. “The bottom line is, I can access the files anywhere internet access is available. That is something we previously could not do.
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