The other day one of my Rabbinic colleagues asked what “system” I use in the synagogue to keep track of all of the various lifecycle “events” that take place in the community as well as make sure that all of my colleagues have as accurate and up-to-date information as possible. I wrote up my answers and then, after sending them to him, realized that while our uses for the services I mention are rather specific, the way in which we use them can easily be adapted to a host of different work-settings.
Here’s what I told him.
As a perpetual storage-place and a running “history” of what goes on we use Evernote. Evernote is effectively an online filing cabinet for text, pdfs, audio, video and more. Desktop and mobile apps can keep all your content locally on as many computers or devices as you want so you are not dependent on having an active data connection. All the information is kept in sync from one to the other and back again. In other words, make a change anywhere and those changes are immediately reflected everywhere that that account is active. I actually keep all of my documents there.
For you, and to meet the needs you expressed, Evernote’s shared folder feature comes into play. With it you can have your own Evernote account and your assistant and colleagues have theirs as well but you SHARE one or more folders with them. For example, one folder could be illness notes and another death notices. When one person adds or changes something in a shared folder it is reflected universally in all accounts. That means everyone always has access to the same information.
Yammer serves the communication needs you mentioned. As I told you yesterday, think of Yammer as a closed, locked and secure version of Twitter. You set up a Yammer account and invite only those people you want to have and share information into it. Once they have Yammer installed through a desktop or mobile app or through the web portal, you can share information in real time or send private messages to anyone in the system.
For us it is great because, for example, if I hear about an illness or death I immediately note it in Yammer and all of our clergy AND my assistant Sunny see it immediately.
The Yams will stay there so it CAN be used for keeping track of things but it is not as easily organized as Evernote.
Mistakes and dropped balls still happen since no technology can completely eliminate human error but since we went this route there is far less of it. Best of all, I can look back at any time and see what was going on when.