Tuesday, January 14, 2014

System Upgrade = Big Changes for AOCS Members

What a weekend!

Perhaps you noticed a few of the webpages on the AOCS website were inaccessible over the weekend. A rolling closure of webpages that may have seemed random and perhaps caused some confusion in navigating the site.

On 10 January 2014, we began the weekend long process of installing the new Association Management Software and integrating that software with the website.  This new software handles everything we do, from processing transactions to generating invoices, to handling your membership benefits. It is important piece of AOCS infrastructure and it hasn’t been upgraded since 1999. We did a lot with the older system; ways that weren’t even imagined when it was designed, but it was past time for an upgrade. You probably thought so too (some members did comment on this in the 2012 membership survey).

Core staff spent the weekend monitoring the new software (dashboard reports were fun to watch), fixing broken website links (we thought we had all the redirects addressed, but alas a few escaped our notice), running membership reports (always an adventure working with a new database and its structure), filling coffee cups to keep us focused (or water to keep us hydrated), along with continual testing of the site. It takes a few days, or a weekend, for the webpages to be fully integrated with the software and re-indexed by internet browsers.

Our goal was to have as seamless a transition as possible. But glitches occur even with the best planning.  Please know that we are doing everything we can to make this process as easy as possible for you, our member! As you experience the new look and feel of the redesigned webpages, please let us know if you have any troubles.

Remember the login process has changed. The new login is:
  • Username – enter your email address on file
  • Password – enter your AOCS member number
Don’t remember them? Please contact AOCS directly or try the online prompts.

And did you notice that you can now choose your username and password!  A common request from our membership along with it now an industry standard. This is one of the options under your members profile page.

I strongly encourage everyone to login to the site and explore your new member profile page. This is where you access your member benefits such as Inform online edition, journals subscriptions, Chemical Watch reports and member directory. But notice that you now can access past orders (2013 orders only), manage how we communicate with you (opt in communications), and see any outstanding orders or dues renewals. Also the AOCS store has been completely redesigned for customer expectations (coupon codes, ease of search, credit card on-file option, etc.) along with an industry standard shopping cart.

Not yet a member? You can login to the site (or create an account) and explore the store and career services pages. Again, I encourage you to do so. We welcome everyone to our website and have many offerings for those who are not yet a member of the Society. I suggest you review the free Inform articles. At least one new article is posted each month. All articles come from Inform which is our membership magazine.

Through the year long process of upgrading our Association Management Software, I have learned a lot about databases, database integrations with websites, and a bit of accounting practices.  I now feel my knowledge of software/databases/accounting has broaden, yet I master none.

When it comes to your professional society, I know that you have a choice. Thank you for choosing AOCS. Let us know what you think of the new webpages or need assistance accessing those members-only pages.

Doreen Berning (doreenb@aocs.org ; phone: +1 217-693-4813; fax: +1 217-693-4857) is standing by to assistant anyone with renewing their dues, purchasing a book, subscribing to one of our journals, post a job, participate in Laboratory Proficiency Program testing - well, really for any question anyone as we transition to the new system.

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