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Demo: See how AUVSI is using Presto AssociatioNet to share information with its members

As promised, here is the complete slide deck Angela Carr presented recently at AUDC 2011. Angela Carr is the Vice President of IT for the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International (AUVSI), the world's largest organization devoted to the unmanned systems industry.

Angela's presentation is a case study of how and why AUVSI is using Presto AssociatioNet to gather and provide information to its 6,000 members. It covers the information management challenges AUVSI was experiencing before adopting AssociatioNet, and why it decided to use the application.

The presentation also goes into a thorough demonstration of the features and functionality AUVSI is using in AssociatioNet, with screen shots and detailed explanations. The slides include the actual notes Angela used in her presentation, so you'll be able to read first-hand details about AUVSI's experience using AssociatioNet.

You can view the slides here, or by clicking over to SlideShare where we've uploaded the presentation. However, to read the notes, download the presentation so you can view them in PowerPoint. We've also extracted the notes and pasted them below.

If you have any questions on what you see in AUVSI's presentation, feel free to leave us a comment.
Angela's notes:

AUVSI is the largest organization devoted to the unmanned systems industry. Our main revenue sources are our annual conference with 400 exhibit booths and 6,000 attendees; advertising in our website, monthly magazine or weekly newsletter; and of course, association membership.

AUVSI’s vision is to be the focal point for the unmanned systems global community. That means we want to be the place people go when they need information about unmanned systems, the industry, the future, etc. There are TONS of options for them to get information. We wanted to streamline the information gathering process.

Keeping in mind that our vision is the industry as a whole, we have to be mindful of where the money comes from! Our customers are the most important aspect of AUVSI. To increase the benefit they receive from this service, we ensure that their profiles are searchable through this system – both from our staff’s perspective and the end user’s perspective.

For nearly three decades, Inmagic’s products have benefited more than 5,000 customers across a range of industries in 100 countries. Its information and knowledge management solutions have gained a reputation for low cost of ownership, flexibility, ease-of-use and rapid deployment.

Throughout the years, Inmagic’s Knowledge Management solutions have helped its customers:
  1. Improve information management retrieval and access
  2. Improve business user control
  3. Increase and improve knowledge retention
Today we will be looking at Inmagic’s AssociatioNet application. AssociatioNet is built on Inmagic’s knowledge management platform, Presto. This prebuilt application is targeted for associations that need a more efficient way to provide diverse volumes of resources, information, and content products to their members.

Let’s first start with an example of a homepage that was created for AUVSI. What we are looking at here is a landing page for members. This page can be tailored to various user communities, such as members, internal staff and/or external constituencies.

It is highly configurable by the content administrative through the graphical user interface. This means that a business user can configure these pages as they see fit.

Because we will be integrating with NetForum’s security database, access to these different homepages will be seamless and transparent to the users.

On the left hand side, we have Content types. A content type is essentially a repository of information. AssociatioNet allows the organization to manage a wide variety of content both physical, like books, DVDs, or journals that are located in the corporate library to electronic assets, like documents, news, images and in the case of AUVSI, member organizations profile information and their product offerings will also be pulled in.

What’s very powerful about AssociatioNet is that the content administrator has the ability to not only manipulate the meta-structure of these content types as needed, but he/she can create new content types as needed.

Just underneath content types, we have examples of Content Collections. In short, a Content Collection is a way to organize your information for your users. Some of you may know this as a taxonomy. The whole point behind a content collection is that it helps augment search, so if your members are comfortable with browsing for information a la windows explorer, you can provide the same information discovery method here.

Within AssociatioNet, the content administrator can build as many Content Collections as they like and permission each one to individual groups of users. In this example, we have displayed two featured collections, one in the hierarchical folder structure and the other in a link style.

Also on the screen, we have included RSS feed. The feeds on this homepage are pulled in from the NY Times and DIY Drones. The idea behind this is that we are providing a focal point for information, a one stop shop for our user community.

There are two ways that external RSS feeds can be utilized within AssociatioNet. The first of which, is that RSS feeds can simply be exposed on the homepage, providing a one-stop shop for your members.

Secondly, AssociatioNet has the ability to automatically ingest RSS feeds and make it part of your knowledge repository when users search for information.

And lastly on the page, we have incorporated our sponsors logs. In some associations, selling ad space is a great revenue generator.

Next, lets talk about information discovery and why organizations like AUVSI have selected AssociatioNet as the knowledge management solution. The first form of information discovery,
Presto provides a self service environment by promoting information discovery is several ways, including
  • Quick federated, Google-like search (mouse-click advance)
  • Advance search; for more sophisticated users, this is the advance search interface. This will direct users to fielded search.
  • Browseable taxonomy; again for those users that are comfortable with browsing for content.
  • And finally, alerts. Alerts is a mechanism that can be utilized to push content to users. As an example, let’s say I am a paying member and doing research on implementation of strategic government relations programs. Before leaving the system, and if I have appropriate rights, I can create an alert for myself so that if new content appears in AssociatioNet, I can be notified via an alert. The notification can be delivered on the homepage, as you see here, as an email or as an RSS feed. This means that all content in AssociatioNet can be syndicated through RSS and delivered to an standard RSS reader. Now, lets pretend we executed a search on unmanned air vehicles.
Here is an illustration of how a search is returned. What you’ll notice is that the search cuts across different content types. Before we get into each content type in more detailed, let’s review how AsociatioNet manages data. There are typically three types of data:
  1. Managed. Data that lives in Presto. For example, your organization may have electronics documents scattered throughout your file server. AssociatioNet has the ability to crawl and ingest these files into the system. Again, managed content.
  2. Connected (NetForum). Another type of data is ‘connected’ data. Connected means that the information doesn’t live in Presto, the repository of choice is a third-party application, such as SharePoint or in the case of AUVSI, Avectra. The information here is simply synchronized so that Avectra can be searched from within this application.
  3. Federated. Federated content is typically content that is external to your association. For example, third-party content providers, like LexisNexis, Factiva, PubMeb, or external search engines, like Google, Bing, and YouTube.
Now, lets look at some of these content types in a little more detail. First we have Sponsors. This may not be relevant for your organization, but sponsor information can be captured and returned as part of the search. Great for sponsorship awareness.

Here we also find a collection of Documents. Please recall that these documents can either live natively in Presto as managed content or as in the case of AUVSI, connected to. So these documents will actually live in Avectra.

As we scroll down, you’ll see some content types that are specific to AUVSI, Organizations and Products. This is a great example of connected content. Organizations are companies that belong to the association. Products are merchandise sold by the customers.

So as you can see, AssociatioNet is great at not only managing electronic and physical assets, but also other forms of information. These particular pieces of information are very important to AUVSI’s implementation, so let’s come back and take a look a this in much more detail in a moment. Let’s first scroll down a little bit further.

As we scroll down, we have an example of RSS feeds that have been automatically ingested. This is a great function for aggregating content into a single solution.

The next piece of content we see is an example of physical assets. This is not deployed at AUVSI, but this capability is great for organizations that have corporate libraries. Please note again that Inmagic has roots in the library space, so there’s an entire side of this application that is utilized to manage your corporate library, like loaning and circulation, serials management, orders, and so on.

The next type of information is Profiles/Members. This will also be pulled from Avectra. Within AssociatioNet, profile information is typically utilized as a subject-matter expert finder.

Next is Video. For AUVSI’s implementation, we would like to incorporate YouTube videos and so this is an illustration on how you might possibly provide search to your multimedia files.

As we scroll down further, we have included Conferences and Conference Proceedings as part of our search. This is great if you would like to promote a particular conference, like this one, or build awareness of upcoming conferences. You may also decide that you would want to archive past conferences and provide photos or conference proceedings.

So to review, single search to pull up content across various silos of information. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the content that was requirement for AUVSI in picking AssociatioNet as a solution.

Here’s a closer look at the Organization content type pulled in from Avectra. The upper section gives AUVSI’s users a nice overview of the company with a link to the website.

The lower section is all of the products that Northrup Grumman offers. So from this interface, we have a nice consolidated view of content that is important to us. Although you see social capabilities, let me move on to the next slide to give you a better idea of how they work.

You can see that some of the meta-data is synchronized. However, you may notice that the information is being augmented by Social capabilities. In this case:
  1. User Rating; this is very much like Amazon’s “rate this item” feature.
  2. Social Tagging; this is standard tag cloud. For those that aren’t familiar with tagging, you can think of this capability as giving your end users/members the ability to plug in their own keywords and group the data. As more users tag the item with the same keyword, the larger the font gets. The words are also clickable, and this will yield all records tagged in that manner.
  3. Commenting; this is a nice social feature that allows your users to give feedback on the data. While this comment is great because it tells us that the resource is good, on the previous slide, we a have comment that tells us that Northrup Grumman had just bid on a proposal for an important competition. Maybe that piece of information is much more valuable.
Now, let me discuss two other social pieces that will not be deployed at AUVSI because they already have great tools in place. But these feature sets are somewhat important in our other deployments.
  1. Blogs. AssociatioNet has blogging capabilities built in. The content administrator can determine who has the ability to blog and also who can view the blog or post comments. Within our other deployments, we even changed the nomenclature of Blogs to Newsletters. Just a great way for the information center to push out notifications from the system.
  2. Forums. Again, an out-of-the-box feature. This capability is great if you would like to capture member chatter. You may even utilize this as a Question and Answer section, or in the case of AUVSI, just bypass it altogether.
So here’s the most important part of our social tools. Our approach to socialization is that we are socializing the content. We aren’t necessarily connecting members to members, although sometimes that a occurs organically from of our knowledge management strategy.

As well, if these social components are turned on, you’re not creating another silo of information. These blogs, forums, comments, as you utilize the system to search, every piece becomes searchable. So now when you are looking for documents or products or organizations, you will also find blogs written on the topic, or discussions that might have occurred in a forum.

Let me now go back a screen. We talked a lot about managed and connected content. Let’s review for a moment the third piece of data, federated content. Please recall that federated data are external sources.

For our example, you’ll see that AUVSI is searching external sites, like Google, Bing, a website. The possibilities are endless here, because you may decide that you would also want to incorporate paid for content providers as well, like LexisNexis or Factiva.

And finally, let me bring you back to the initial search results screen. AssociatioNet is more than just a search tool and content aggregator. Once your users/members find information they can do things with the content, we call it acting on the content. For example:
  • E-mailing
  • Printing
  • Downloading
  • Filtering
  • Saving as alert/RSS
  • Shopping Cart/E-commerce Avectra integration
And that wrap’s up the demonstration portion. Thank you.

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