04 Jun 18 ITTS Update Report to the Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) for Annual 2018

1.0 ALA Technology Investment Plan Summary

The ITTS funding for fiscal 2019 includes a significant increase for software licensing costs. Microsoft has redefined its software donation program, moving us from a Charity to a Professional Society. We are anticipating a significant increase. We have budgeted for increases for the ALA Connect Workspace module for document versioning and polling, an increase for Informz marketing automation software and, a customer relationship management (CRM) system to support advocacy nation-wide. It also includes enhancements to our eCommerce implementations, upgrades to our virtual server platforms, and positions for a Project Manager and a Drupal Developer.

The 2018 ALA Technology Investment Plan contains both background on ALA’s “technology debt” and a proposed pathway forward to the implementation of a stable, flexible platform that will support ALA’s membership and programs into the future.  The plan calls for a multi-year, phased approach.  In addition to the baseline systems addressed in the plan, the increased capacity allows ALA ITTS, working with program units, to realistically explore the implementation of targeted products to address specific volunteer and staff productivity needs.

2.0 ALA Web-Related

2.1 eCommerce for Join/Renew/Rejoin/Donate

Between January and May, the site processed 912 donations, 2270 joins, 9088 renewals, 1788 rejoins, and 663 additional joins that had to be converted by ALA Membership to the correct category (either renewal or rejoin). We’re using an agile approach to versioning that includes complete regression testing while working with our vendor to wrap up the last of the Phase 1 issues. Changes to web services and PayPal processing have required ongoing re-factoring of the flows. Security updates interrupted release cycles and caused delays in improvements to accessibility, which are ready to be upgraded in an upcoming version expected before the end of the August 2018.

2.2 eStore & eLearning

Since the December 2017 eStore rollout, ITTS has been working with our vendor to deliver Phase 2: all ALA eLearning in the eStore while continuing to improve and update the eStore. Development is underway on the

  • integration of eLearning event products with iMIS;
  • the addition of activity records, transaction and user data into iMIS; and
  • integrating attendee registration functionality with multiple services.

The development team is currently tackling an improved design for an eLearning landing page, a robust events calendar, and an enhanced workflow and publishing process.

Data migration, design iteration, and comprehensive testing are planned for June and July with an anticipated completion of Phase 2 in August 2018.

2.3 ALA Connect

The new ALA Connect soft launched on May 3, 2018. Members were notified of the launch on May 10, 2018. In the three weeks from May 10 to May 31:

  • Total logins: 10,100
  • Unique logins: 3 ,367
  • Active Communities: 3,449
  • Connections made: 282
  • Profiles created: 9,396
  • Profiles with pictures: 8,961

We are continuing to work out the kinks and train staff on the use of the new platform.

In response to privacy concerns, ITTS has made the following adjustments to ALA Connect:

  • Since Geo-tagging displayed a Google map of any user’s location that was found in search in the directory, the geo-tagging features in Higher Logic have been adjusted and will no longer display address, phone or email in the directory search.
  • Since Discussion signatures make it possible to easily identify message senders when users are working with the email interface of Connect, we changed the default signature to only include the name, designation, organization and job title fields instead of eliminating the discussion signatures completely. We modified the default discussion signature so that users will no longer see the city, state, country, email address, and phone fields.

2.4 ALA Connect Training

Fifty (50) staff have completed in-person or live online staff training on ALA Connect. Recorded training sessions are available for staff and group administrators. Access to the ALA Connect community, Help in ALA Connect is in the site footer. It contains an FAQ, a help forum, and links to documentation.

Training demos at Annual can be found on the Conference Scheduler and live training opportunities after conference and be found on the support site at:

2.5 Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) Implementation

Join/Renew/Donate ecommerce, the ALA Store, ALA Connect and eCourses (our Moodle site) are all HTTPS. All blogs and wikis hosted in house at ALA are now encrypted with HTTPS, and all traffic is forced to HTTPS by default.

Our use of multiple systems to serve limits our ability to use HTTPS. When we have replaced the current integrated registration system (Active Matter) with a stand-alone product we will be able to serve HTTPS for

2.6 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Compliance

We began preparing for GDPR in August 2017 so that we would be ready for the May 25, 2018 deadline. We made recommendations to Senior Management, worked with our attorney to update our Privacy Policy. Senior Management is appointing a steering committee to address privacy issues going forward. Mary Ghikas is serving as ALA’s Data Protection Officer.

We have been communicating with staff about their responsibilities and expect to rollout mandatory training sessions.

ITTS has also been corresponding with staff and member-volunteer web editors about the steps required to bring all ALA websites, webforms, and any paper forms still in use into compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. We updated our Privacy Policy on and reminded units that all other sites should include a link to the Privacy Policy in their site’s footer. We also published the text required to be used on all webforms that collects any personal data and the text and acceptance to be used for event registrations and set a June 30 deadline for all forms to be upated. ITTS has offered to assist units that don’t create their own webforms with the update. The webform URLS should be added to a Trackit ticket or sent to

2.7 Moodle

ALA eLearning has seen an average of 500 unique visitors every month (Jan.- Apr.)  The 599 courses currently listed and available by ALA eLearning or in the ALA Store see an average of 1683 (450 unique) logins per week.

The site was upgraded to Moodle 3.3 in December 2017 and an upgrade to a newer version is being planned for this summer.

2.8 Responsive Theme for ALA.ORG and Division Websites

We’re working on a visual update to the ALA global and regional navigation. We’ll have two prototypes available for review by stakeholders by Annual. The Awards & Grants application could not be implemented in the retheme without breaking, so ITTS’ Sean Bires has been building a new approach and meeting with staff stakeholders. The new application will eventually require data migration and a custom CSS.

3.0 Hardware & Software

3.1 New Telephone System

The implementation of the new telephone system is on hold while we look at the possibility of moving to a new facility. Regardless of the real estate outcome, we will review phone options again in the 2020 budget.

3.2 Laptop Rollout

We plan to roll out new laptops to approximately one-third of our staff this summer. This is the first time we are purchasing laptops exclusively. This cycle repeats annually.

3.3 Citrix Farm

We have our new Citrix farm up and running, mostly for remote staff. This will improve external access to some of our applications and stabilize our internal financial system.

We have run into some issues with our financial software, which is scheduled for an upgrade later this summer. Until we complete the upgrade we won’t know whether that resolves the Citrix issues we’re having with it.

3.4 Virtual Servers

We rolled out virtual servers (development, quality assurance, and production) for the new ALA eLearning eCommerce system for webinars and small face-to-face meetings.

3.5 Primary Storage

We are in the process of implementing the planned lifecycle replacement of our main internal storage system. We have experienced problems with that implementation and are working closely with the hardware vendor to resolve the issues and complete the replacement.

3.6 iMIS Membership System Upgrade

We are scheduled to upgrade our iMIS Membership system in mid-July 2018.  This will provide a web-based portal for staff to use. It also includes some basic dashboards.

3.7 Financial System Upgrade

We are scheduled to upgrade our Microsoft GP Financial Software in late July.  We are in the process of signing a contract with an outside vendor for this work.

3.8 Remote Access Software

We will investigate and install remote access software to provide staff with the ability to access software.

3.9 PCI Audit

We had our security consultants run vulnerability scans for PCI compliance. We were able to address all exploitable issues, and are continuing to work to eliminate vulnerabilities of all severities. We are currently working on the GAP analysis report to become PCI compliant.  We have a list of known gaps that will take time to implement.

3.10 Disaster Recovery Plan

We need to refresh the plan based on additions and changes made to our infrastructure.

3.11 Computer Policies

We need to update our computer polices for PCI and GDPR compliance, and for organizational and operational changes, and for changes to the technology landscape.

4.0 ITTS Organizational Changes

4.1 Staffing

We have extended the contract for our Quality Assurance Specialist. This temporary part-time position is responsible for creating test plans, writing and executing manual and automated tests, and clearly documenting defects. This work will help ensure that both new software and fixes meet business requirements. The Quality Assurance Specialist will work closely with existing team members to create a sustainable plan for ensuring our stakeholders are all served well by the technology we provide.

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