17 Jun 15 Technology Infrastructure Plans


ALA Information Technology & Telecommunications made significant changes in its strategic roadmap in mid-2015, in response to changes in the IT environment, to member survey responses (early FY2015) and to continuing constraints – and demands – on ALA’s budget.

Plans for the remainder of FY2015

  1. Continue the Implementation of the New E-Commerce System for Membership Dues and Donations
    This project will make it easier for members to join and renew and will offer new opportunities for fundraising. This project is scheduled for completion in November 2015.
  2. Choose a New eLearning E-Commerce Platform
    In collaboration with ALA Publishing, ITTS and an (internal) eLearning Task Force are exploring an E-Commerce module for ALA continuing education to unify ALA’s online learning opportunities in one place in one shopping cart.
  3. Replace ALA Connect and profile management with a hosted community software service
    In FY2015, ITTS, working with a team representing various parts of the Association, released an RFP to select new community software to replace ALA Connect, with implementation scheduled in FY2016. This has been an area of significant market change during the past six years and the changes being made to these platforms facilitate faster implementation of new features, improve the interface, allow more flexibility for units wanting to customize groups, increase membership marketing opportunities, and offer potential new revenue streams. Mobile apps may also be available when the new site goes live. Completion of the merging of iMIS /Connect member profile information in FY2015 facilitated the transition.
  4. Begin Implementation of a mobile-friendly, responsive/redesigned theme for the ALA and Division/Unit Websites
    ITTS will implement a responsive theme on the ALA website, including significant home-page changes, that will better display across different types of mobile devices. 10% of total ALA website traffic is now coming from mobile devices – and that number is expected to grow rapidly. A responsive theme will also enable implementation of mobile apps in the next 1-2 years.
  5. Improvements to Website Search Engine
    ITTS will be working with a consultant to improve search results on the ALA website.
  6. Implement a Disaster Recovery plan using Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
    After investigating options for updating our Disaster Recovery plans, we’ve narrowed the choice to two vendors. We will select a vendor and begin implementation in late FY2015 and continue into FY2016. This will allow us to back up our virtual servers in the cloud for disaster recovery so that external versions can be turned on when a service fails. This will allow faster restoration of services in case of an emergency.
  7. Improvements to Grant Reporting
    ALA ITTS will continue to work with staff and consultants to improve monthly and life-to-date grant reporting access. The creation of these new reports will allow our grant managers to have better access and assist in the management and monitoring of grant resources.

Plans for FY16

  1. Complete the Implementation of the new E-Commerce system for membership dues and donations (November 2015) 
  2. Complete the Implementation of a New eLearning E-commerce System (FY2016) 
  3. Replace ALA Connect and profile management with a hosted community software service (October 2015) 
  4. Complete the Implementation of a mobile-friendly, responsive/redesigned theme for the ALA and Division/Unit Websites (FY2016) 
  5. Upgrade or replace ALA’s Moodle Courseware Software
    We will investigate options for replacing ALA’s Moodle platform used for ALA e-courses with an externally-hosted software platform to increase support for leadership development.
  6. Migrate staff to Microsoft Office 365
    Now that we’re on Windows 7, we plan to move staff to the cloud-based Office 365 service to make remote access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook available through any web browser. The software and email archives will be hosted by Microsoft, which will make document storage, software maintenance, and access to Outlook archives much easier.
  7. Replace helpdesk software
    For similar reasons, we’ll be migrating to a cloud-based helpdesk solution. This will allow all staff from any location to submit and track help requests via a web browser. The software will be maintained and upgraded by the provider and will allow ITTS staff to better manage helpdesk tickets from anywhere.
  8.  Upgrade ALA’s Financial Systems
    We will perform necessary upgrades to stay current with software releases/improvements.

Plans for FY17 and beyond

  1. Implement mobile apps for the site
    This will allow members and the public to access information and services through a set of mobile applications, including current membership information, express membership renewals, and our most popular web pages.
  2. Move to web-based iMIS access
    Now that we’re on iMIS 20, we can begin migrating all staff to the web-based portal for access so that they can search for and update iMIS information from anywhere. This will reduce the load on our Citrix server and reduce the amount of software maintenance and upgrades required on desktops.
  3. Move and/or migrate to new software for the Website and division/unit Websites
    We will explore options for moving and/or replacing the software used to maintain the website into the cloud where it will be maintained by an outside provider. This will reduce the amount of staff time spent on upgrades and security patches.
  4. Move staff who require less robust desktops to Chromebooks
    Once we’ve migrated staff to using Office 365 online and web-based iMIS, we’ll determine which, if any, users can be moved from desktops to Chromebooks in order to save on software maintenance and hardware costs. This would enable users requiring only cloud-based services to have a notebook computer that can easily be replaced in the event of a hardware malfunction and reduce the time spent on rolling out software applications and maintaining them on ALA desktops and laptops.
  5. Assess our remote application platform
    We’ll investigate possible solutions to replace Citrix for remote access to remaining in-house applications.
  6. Investigate external hosting solutions for our Financial Applications
    Moving all parts of the financial system to an external host will allow all staff to access it remotely, outsource maintenance of the hardware infrastructure, and accelerate software upgrades.
  7.  Reassess Shibboleth to determine appropriate solution
    We will investigate alternate solutions that might replace our single sign-on technology for all of our web-based resources.
  8. Implement Improved Executive Data Access
    This project would improve analysis of our existing membership and financial data. Once executive management has decided which metrics should be measured, we can configure and implement iDashboard to provide an executive dashboard, reporting tools, sophisticated charts and grids, pivot tables, decomposition trends, perspective views, performance maps, and key performance indicator measures.
  9.  Reassess our iMIS Membership System
    We’ll explore other possible Association Management System (AMS) solutions used for managing member and customer information and how much it would cost to migrate to a different system.

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