16 Jan 20 Update for Midwinter Conference 2020

It’s been about 6 months since our last update on what the IT department at ALA has been working toward. We’d like to give you an over-the-shoulder look at what has happened since then including new metrics, accomplishments, and our plans for the year ahead.

Below you will find:

  • The IT department’s project portfolio for 2020. These are the projects we have identified, scheduled, and prioritized with input from various stakeholders.
  • The IT Scorecard for the month of December 2019. These are new metrics we will be tracking on a periodic basis. We will use these metrics to identify pain points and align resources for them. We expect these metrics to evolve as we find uses for them.
  • Detailed updates for our major projects each with goals, accomplishments, and their future plans.
But before we jump into the larger project updates – here are some of the smaller accomplishments we’d like to highlight:
  • Deployed laptops to all ALA staff to increase staff mobility
  • Changed department name from ITTS to IT
  • Deployed MS Teams across organization
  • Started a pilot study to see how Airtable can help with task and project management
  • Upgraded TrackIt to the latest version. This is the software we use to create and manage support tickets
  • Updated the site navigation
  • Started designs to provide auto-renewal functions for ALA members
  • Deployed KnowBe4 to educate and train staff how to avoid email phishing attacks

ALA Office Move

Goals: The IT department’s goals in moving to the new ALA office space are to refresh our entire technology infrastructure with a focus on disaster recovery and security considerations, move data off site to a colocation, enable cloud based services for data center functions, and to implement a new telephone solution using scalable software phones in the new office
2019 Accomplishments:
  • Designed, specified and priced new infrastructure hardware and software
  • Submitted over a dozen requests for quotes and received responses to them
  • Identified and signed contract for provider of VOIP telephone systems
  • Defined audio and video requirements for webinar and conference rooms
  • Defined requirements for consistent conference room scheduling
Future Plans:
  • Define and regularly collect metrics for infrastructure performance
  • Complete the implementations for:
    • Co-location (off site) data center
    • New location infrastructure
    • VOIP phone systems
    • Audio and Video solutions across the office space
  • Complete Data Center as a Service designs
  • Improve remote accessibility for offsite staff

eStore/eLearning eCommerce

Goals: The current goal of the eStore/eLearning project is to add all ALA eLearning offerings to the store, making it is easy for members and other potential registrants to find and purchase/register for any ALA eLearning event in one place. We are enhancing the service integration options, and saving this activity to the customer’s profile in iMIS. We are targeting a deployment for early 2020.
2019 Accomplishments:
  • Deployed version 1.8
  • Commenced functional testing for 1.9 which includes these features
    • Adding Calendar Listing Views
    • Adding Group rates and discounts functionality
    • Adjustments to pricing for non-time frame production vs timeframe products
    • Enhancements to subject line functionality for custom emails
    • Enhancements to shopping cart functionality
    • The ability to allow bundle products to be purchased on the store
Future Plans:
  • Complete user acceptance testing
  • Complete demos with business stakeholders
  • Incorporate feedback to the demos provided by stakeholders
  • Deploy 1.9 to production

Membership Dues and Donations eCommerce

Goals: The goal for the Membership Dues and Donations project is to improve the membership and customer experience for processing dues and donations. This system is going into its third year of service.
2019 Accomplishments:
  • Deployed Beta 3.5 to Production which includes these features
    • Database Archiving
    • New functionality for members to view their receipts
  • Deployed Beta 4 to Production which includes these fixes
    • Member receipts discrepancies
    • Last name field duplication
Future Plans:
  • Finalize testing and deploy beta 5.5 to production which includes these features and fixes:
    • Donations which were missing their state field 
    • Updating iMIS to receive PayPal payments

iMIS Membership System Upgrade

Goals: The goal of the iMIS membership system upgrade is to move to the current version, allowing us to use a web interface to track our member and customer information. The upgrade includes data dashboards showing trend data that can be used to improve member engagement.
2019 Accomplishments:
  • Configured and deployed the latest version of our Shibboleth Single Sign-on technology component to our development environment
  • Commenced testing of the latest version of Shibboleth 
Future Plans:
  • Complete testing of iMIS 
  • Perform the upgrade in FY2020

Salesforce Advocacy and Development Project


Public Policy and Advocacy

  • Track cultivation of advocates across the organization 
  • Look up ALA members and advocates by zip code & Congressional District
  • Annotate records with “soft touch” data, including points of contact and areas of interest
  • Track interactions and points of contact between Advocacy/Public Policy staff, members of Congress, elected officials, and Federal agencies
  • Surface relationships between advocates and current and past members of Congress and other elected officials
  • Track and report on advocate actions based on zip code / Congressional District

Development office (Fundraising)

  • Track cultivation of donors across the organization
  • Annotate records and track “soft touch” data, including points of contact, areas of interest, and likeliness of donations
  • Enhance reporting capabilities
  • Use data to generate leads from the prospect pool and from the advocate population


  • Implement an integrated system that is scalable to all departments at ALA
  • Create new business intelligence information
  • Explore Salesforces data analytics module “Einstein” capabilities for future uses
2019 Accomplishments:
  • Conversion of current membership records and 14 years of donations from iMIS
  • Two-way integration between iMIS and Salesforce of ALA membership information for current members
  • CQ Engage integration with Salesforce which provides legistrative tracking
  • Advocacy office has started using Salesforce with strong adoption
  • Integration from iMIS to Salesforce for new fundraising Donations
  • Development data is live in Salesforce
  • Integration has processed over 142,000 Creates/updates between iMIS and Salesforce since go live in September 2019
Future Plans:
  • Prepare Soft Credit issues in iMIS
  • The Office of Development to take over the creation and updating of reports and dashboards in Salesforce to improve adoption within the unit

ALA Connect

Goals: The goal of the ALA Connect project is provide the ability to do committee work, community work, networking, member engagement, non-member engagement, and marketing of products and services to our members and non-members.
2019 Accomplishments:
  • Polished and unified the FAQ / Help Page
  • Standardized the navigation menu across all sites
  • Complied a feedback and issue log
  • Fixed all of the Contact Us forms so the right people receive the messages
  • Launched the Workspace module
  • Completed designs for the site redesign and gained signoff from internal stakeholders
Future Plans:
  • Launch the major site redesign
  • Publish a revised and approved Code of Conduct
  • Prioritize and address issues from feedback and issue log
  • Add a preferred pronouns field to member’s demographics
  • Create alerts for membership renewals
  • Review and update microsite logos where needed

Digital Asset Inventory

Goals: The goal of the Digital Asset Inventory is to identify the digial assets of the association, providing information needed to inform ALA’s content strategy.
2019 Accomplishments:
  • Digital Property Footprint goal of being decreased by 30% has been met
  • Web Management group engaged to create and enforce digital protocols
  • Archiving protocols to decommission sites have been established
Future Plans:
  • Establish accessibility standards across digital properties
  • Collaborate with department partners to create a universal Digital and Content Strategies
  • Create standards that enforce consistency when creating new digital properties
  • Establish evolving usability best practices and standards for digital products

PCI Compliance

Goals: PCI Compliance is a set of security controls that businesses are required to implement to protect credit card data and comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
2019 Accomplishments:
  • Provided security training for email phishing to ALA Staff
  • Achieved 98.1% success in staff phishing tests
Future Plans:
  • Enhance our security position by adopting a co-location
  • Reengineer technology infrastructure with security as a central consideration as we move into the new office
  • Implement and maintain a set of policies and procedures to operationalize PCI Compliance

IT Staffing Changes

  • New User Experience Manager, Nick Aleck


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