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ISOC Association Management System

Frequently Asked Questions

What does AMS stand for?

AMS stands for Association Management System and will become the central database &management system for ISOC. All ISOC pillars and activities (members, chapters, organizational members,event-management, fund-raising and grants) will use it eventually.

When is the launch date for the new chapter portal?

The launch of the newportal will be on October 15th, 2009

Will Q still be active after the new portal launch?

No. On October 15thQ will be completely shut down, though will be retained as a backup system through November 2009.

Why did Internet Society choose to host the AMS at a data centre?

After careful consideration of a variety of options (including hosting at ISOC), it was decided that the following advantages were important to the long-term success of the AMS project:

  • Redundant backup capability in a climate-controlled environment
  • 24x7server support and maintenance for the required servers
  • 24x7security (including physical break-in, fire suppression, etc)
  • Enhanced network & data security; continual updating/patching as required
  • High capacity bandwidth and multi-homed network connectivity. This was deemed critical, as hosting locally can be subject to telecommunications and construction disruptions. This is far less likely at a certified datacentre.

Why was aproprietary product chosen instead of an open-source product?

In 2008, ISOC went through a very rigorous selection process as part of the AMS project. An AMS project team was created that engaged representatives from all areas ofISOC staff, a Chapter Steering Committee (led by Hans Peter Dittler of the Internet Society's Chapter in Germany,and a vendor-independent consultancy specialising in matching social mission organizations with technology solutions. The Chapter Steering Committee helped(a) define chapter requirements, (b) review current chapter processes, (c) inform chapters of progress with the selection process, and (d) seek further inputs. The Board of Trustees, which represents all facets of ISOC membership, was kept informed at all stages of selection.

However, even when a third-party consulting service was engaged, it became clear that there were no viable open-source AMS packages that could meet the following criteria:

  1. Product focused on associations and association management
  2. Product supports at least the majority of the requirements specified by staff, chapters and members
  3. Product could integrate with other platforms where required
  4. Product supports multiple languages
  5. Product could be ready to launch in 2009

Several open-sourceproducts were presented that would have been excellent platforms for aground-up system designed to ISOC specifications, but all would have required more time than the Internet Society felt it had given the urgency of replacing the existing Q (Go Members) system.

During the selection process, Aptify emerged as the clear winner despite its Microsoft .NET platform. However, the most critical point for any proprietary system is number 3) above: can it integrate with other, non-proprietary systems? Aptify can do this via web services and its APIs, and that will become the platform for the Engagement model.

Will chapters be able to integrate with the new chapter portal?

For the Phase 2 portal(which is primarily intended as a direct replacement for Q), no integrations are planned for the short term. However, one of the main goals for Engagement (Phase 3) is deploying an integration-capable platform for Chaptersto leverage, and this will be both possible and planned for in that phase.

What are the advantages of this new AMS chapter portal over the old Q portal?

While the entire systemis based on more stable, user-friendly technology, the new portal will also offer (among others) the following features unavailable in Q:

  • Improved self-service Chapter membership signup during initial ISOC signup
  • Chapter membership renewal ability for officers
  • Member import function for Chapters
  • Chapter meetings setup and management
  • Ability for officers to run chapter-level reports
  • Topic codes on global and chapter-level to indicate interests or select mailing-lists
  • Automated renewal for zero-value chapter memberships

Will local languages be supported in the AMS?

Yes. Initially the Phase 2 portal will be available in English, French, German, and Spanish. However, the Engagement portal (Phase 3) will support any number of languages moving forward.

Will therebe User Guides for the new system?

Yes, ISOC will beproducing user guides for the new AMS chapter portal. These will be available in document format, and online.

How will training take place?

Training for the new chapter portal will take place primarily online, with scheduled sessions taking place over a period of weeks and months. There will most likely also berecorded sessions available, and probably step-by-step flash demos for specific functions within the portal.

What is thetimeline for the open-source portal?

Current project timelines have the first version of the open-source portal replacing the Phase 2 portal in Q3 2010.