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MLA's Technology: Extreme Makeover

MLA Executive Director Kevin Baliozian signs a contract with Socious.

MLA Executive Director Kevin Baliozian signs a contract with Socious.

In her last post, Kate Corcoran talked about the “Rube Goldbergesque infrastructure” of MLA information systems and our need to simplify and consolidate our systems while improving user experience.

Well, we’re doing it. Now. By fall 2015, MLA will migrate the current association management system, website (MLANET), group websites and blogs, email discussion lists, annual meeting website and blogs, and MLA Educational Clearinghouse into a single association platform. Instead of a maze of systems patched together, everything will be housed in one place.

With the help of MLA staff and the Technology Advisory Committee, the MLA Board selected Socious to be that platform. Socious has provided enterprise community software to businesses, user groups, and associations since 2002. Some of the organizations using Socious are the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the Child Life Council. Socious allowed the Child Life Council to create a single website where members, committees, and others can communicate and collaborate. Sound like something MLA needs? From what we’ve heard through your feedback, we think so.

The new system will provide a better user experience in a single site, putting us well on our way to achieving the objectives in strategic goal 4. Socious will include standard features like members-only access via login, a member directory, and access to activity history (payment, committee service, purchases), plus new features like:

  • member access and customization of your profile with embedded social media
  • numerous self-service features
  • a powerful search engine that will deliver content from all areas of the site according your role
  • calendaring features
  • credentialing and specialization recognition and processes

The new platform will also help facilitate collaboration and interaction among MLA’s committees and task forces. The community area includes discussion forums and lists, polls, media libraries, and a voting engine for subgroups. Groups like sections, SIGs, and chapters will also be able to use the content management system to give their sites a professional look and feel and have access to the same engagement resources MLA will have, like wikis, blogs, event management, and communities.

Best of all, it will all be mobile-enabled and accessible, eliminating the problems occurring with MLA’s current site.

Okay, I lied: the mobile-enabled part isn’t the best thing of all. The best thing is that this move not only improves our information systems integration BUT also saves us lots of money! After an initial modest investment, this move will save us a little over $25K per year.

We will have more details on what the move means for members and future possibilities at the annual meeting, but if you are dying to know more, please leave a comment below or email us.

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