Alliance Development Fund, Inc.

Church’s Investment Organization Uses Knowledgelake to Manage Vital Documents

The Alliance Development Fund, Inc., which provides sources of and investments services for the churches and programs of its parent organization, The Christian and Missionary Alliance, needed a better solution to handle a wide range of financial and contractual documents. It deployed a KnowledgeLake enterprise content management solution on top of its Microsoft SharePoint intranet to speed internal processes, reduce data errors, and cut down on paper consumption.

Business Needs

The Alliance Development Fund, Inc. (ADF) is a securities program that is part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). ADF provides a source of funds for congregations within the C&MA, which is an evangelical denomination with a strong missionary history that dates back to the late 1800s. ADF makes loans to C&MA church congregations, districts, and affiliated organizations so they can acquire, build, or remodel churches, parsonages, or other ministry-related construction projects. Currently, ADF has assets of almost $300 million, demonstrating a strong growth rate since 1978, when the organization began its operations with $5 million.

alliance-development-fund-300x116

CUSTOMER PROFILE:

The Alliance Development Fund, Inc. manages financial assets to help fund churches owned and operated by The Christian and Missionary Alliance. Headquarters for both organizations is in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

WEBSITE: 

orchardalliance.org

LOCATION:

Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

INDUSTRY:

Religious Organizations

ADF’s internal management processes and systems grew steadily as well. This included a proprietary document management solution that by 2010 had become problematic for handling a large and growing collection of documents such as loan information, annuity contracts, human resource records, and daily transactions.

“The solution had become antiquated and difficult to use,” says Libby Wasserbeck, Senior Business Systems Analyst for the Cross Link Group, a small consulting company providing help desk and network services to Christian non-profits and churches. “The files in the system could only be viewed with a specific software viewer, the support was inadequate, and training for users was virtually non-existent.”

Following a migration of ADF’s Microsoft SharePoint-based intranet from Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to SharePoint Server 2010, the organization began looking for a cost-effective enterprise content management (ECM) solution that would integrate tightly with the SharePoint system while providing advanced yet easy-to-use functionality.

"Deploying the KnowledgeLake products has been a big step in helping us update our internal processes so that we can do a better, faster job of servicing our clients."

-Libby Wasserbeck, Senior Business System Analyst at Cross Link Group

 

SOLUTION

ADF decided to deploy a KnowledgeLake ECM solution that integrates with the SharePoint system and current workgroup scanners.

“We looked at using a SharePoint integration product from our current vendor, but it stores records in a proprietary file format that can only be used with the viewer that vendor provides,” says Wasserbeck. “KnowledgeLake not only provided the easy integration with SharePoint and our current scanning hardware, it also allows us to use universal file formats for much greater flexibility.”

In addition to integrating with SharePoint, the KnowledgeLake solution runs on an enterprise architecture that includes Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, and workstations running Windows 7 and Windows XP.

The solution includes KnowledgeLake Imaging for SharePoint, which is used for searching, viewing, and annotating documents. ADF also uses the KnowledgeLake Search Center, a component of KnowledgeLake Imaging for SharePoint that gives users a tool to refine searches with features such as grouping, filtering, and sorting of result sets. The organization also uses KnowledgeLake Capture for batch processing and indexing documents, and KnowledgeLake Connect, which lets users upload Microsoft Outlook messages and electronic documents, such as Microsoft Word and Excel files, directly to the intranet.

BENEFITS

With the KnowledgeLake ECM solution running with SharePoint, ADF has enhanced its document management capabilities and improved overall businesses operations. It is faster for users to process documents, there are fewer documentation errors, and the organization has cut back on its paper consumption. “Deploying the KnowledgeLake products has been a big factor in helping us update our internal processes so that we can do a better, faster job of servicing our extended church network,” says Wasserbeck.

Speeds up Document Management

The intuitive features and readily available file types of the KnowledgeLake ECM solution help to expedite daily operations at ADF. “The time needed to process legal documents and archive them electronically has decreased significantly,” says Wasserbeck. “We no longer have to create barcode sheets for every document because KnowledgeLake does it for us automatically. And we can index more documents at once. In the words of one of our employees, this solution is ‘light years ahead’ of what we were using before.”

Minimizes Clerical Errors

Among the capabilities of the KnowledgeLake solution is the ability to quickly review essential file information in the KnowledgeLake Viewer before a document is sent to the intranet. “Editing mistakes on documents is much easier now, leading to fewer errors getting into the system,” says Wasserbeck. “There was no real editing capability in the past. If a mistake was made, then a document had to be rescanned and re-indexed all over again. Now we can also populate metadata from a database, which means fewer typos and greater consistency in the data.”

Reduces Paper Consumption

Wasserbeck says there has also been a significant reduction in the number of paper documents handled by ADF, which means less need for additional filing cabinets and less money spent on paper. “Many of our departments have already changed processes to accommodate the electronic solution and are finding it much more efficient,” she says. “One department manager mentioned that they have unique and varied files, which in the past led to time-consuming printing activities and wasted paper. Now the documents are uploaded directly from email, and they are done.”

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