"The mail must go through, no matter if it rains or snows, the mail must go through." This song from Chrysti's childhood reminds us of what it's like in order to get OM's finances to the right places every month–it must go through so God's work can be done.
The accountants across OM generate a financial report by the 10th of every month. These reports get emailed out across OM to facilitate money transfers. Without these reports, money transfers across OM would stop (or be very messy to audit.) The funds that every OM worker raises to support their ministry would not transfer between countries without these reports. Projects would grind to a halt without funding. These are very critical reports.
Wednesday, 4 March, the emailing of these reports stopped working, and we didn't know why. For a dozen years the emailing functionality for these reports has been a thorn in the flesh. It required a knowledgeable worker to configure Microsoft Outlook properly. Outlook would generated a security authorisation message requiring the user to click "Yes" on a prompt. When you are dealing with hundreds of emails, this is very time consuming. It wasn't a perfect solution, but it worked. Now, it was all broken.
I assumed that we would fix the problem in a few hours with little effort. Three of us in the IT department, spent several days tackling the problem. We were getting nowhere and the deadline for these reports was quickly approaching. Friday afternoon we started to look into contingency plans for getting these reports out. The situation didn't look pretty. Then at 4:30 I asked our lead programmer, “Why haven't we ever used 'Outlook Automation' to send these emails?” 30 lines of code and a half hour later we had a solution that worked!
Monday, 9 March, we rolled out the patch. The next day all the reports went out without a problem. We have since improved things even more. We found a way to remove the security warnings for each email and our workers can now more easily configure Outlook. This new solution not only works, but also solves all the headaches we have had for over a decade!