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Demo: How the Human Resources Professionals Association is using Presto to improve member services

We're continuing to roll out resources from CIL 2011. Today, I bring you the slide deck that Corrina Mason, Information Specialist for the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), and Phil Green, CTO of Inmagic, presented at the show.

The slides cover HRPA's experience using Inmagic Presto to create its Resource Centre, a searchable online HR knowledgebase for handling members' reference and research requests. You'll see screen shots of the Resource Centre with the Presto features and functionality HRPA is using.

HRPA measured some insightful data as a result of the implementation, including member reaction and improvement in member engagement, satisfaction, and retention. It's worth looking through if your association is interested in learning how Social Knowledge Networks can be used to achieve similar results.
The slides include the notes Phil and Corrina used in their presentation, which gives you a first-hand account of the Presto implementation. To read the notes, download the presentation so you can view them in PowerPoint. We've also extracted the notes and pasted them below.


{Phil Green}

In this session, we will cover a real-world case study using Social Knowledge Networks -- through purchase, implementation, use, and ROI.

Information management and library professionals are recognizing the benefit of content-centric socialization, where knowledge is collected, organized, made accessible, and socialized. This presentation will cover the next phase of ‘going social,’ and demonstrate how Social Knowledge Networks can improve productivity and organizational effectiveness, and preserve and enhance knowledge assets to take organizations to the next level of social success.

So, to provide context for the discussion and demonstration to follow, let me take a brief moment to provide you with a background on Inmagic and what we do.

For nearly three decades, Inmagic’s products have benefited more than 5,000 organizations across a range of industries and 100 countries around the world. Our innovation, knowledge, and solutions have earned us a reputation for low-cost of ownership, flexibility, ease of use, and use deployment.

So let’s talk about what a Social Knowledge Network is, and how it brings real benefits to special libraries by helping librarians and patrons find the information they need more efficiently.

Social knowledge Networks, or KnowledgeNets, are virtual environments focused on a process or topic.

Social Knowledge Networks achieve a state where core knowledge is collected, organized, and made accessible, and then where that knowledge can be enhanced, embraced, and informed by the wisdom of the community.

It is an environment where the socialization is content-centric. It is not about separate but equal, but about a state where tight integration between research, content, and social commentary makes the information more relevant, easier to find, and of higher value.

It is an environment where internal documents, subscription research, and other vetted information can make me book smart and where the advice of my colleagues can also make me street smart.

How does it work? What sets Social Knowledge Networks apart, and what turns community activity and content into action, is that the library’s goal or focus is central to the process.

SKNs take the notion of “social intelligence” to a more practical level. SKNs are ideally suited for knowledge-based applications where rapid access to critical information and access to and insight from subject-matter experts is a central focus. Where the “application” is squarely focused on an organization’s requirement to leverage and preserve knowledge, where knowledge-worker productivity is a critical to an organization’s effectiveness, and competitiveness and innovation can thrive.

Social Knowledge Network applications add business benefit in areas such as:
  • Research & Innovation
  • Product Management
  • Document Archives
  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Social Libraries
  • IP and Knowledge Capture
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Knowledge Preservation
Now that you know what a Social Knowledge Network is and how it works, let’s see one in action.

Corrina, I’ll turn it over to you.

{Corrina Mason}

HRPA has been a client of Inmagic for a long time, having used DB/TextWorks as our Reference Library’s ILS for many years.

But we are new to Presto. When we were asked if we’d like to part in this conference, we jumped at the chance.

My name is Corrina Mason. I am an Information Specialist in the Resource Centre at the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario. Staffed by two information specialists, the Resource Centre answers more than 5,000 reference and research requests per year from our membership.

Our goal at the Resource Centre is to create member value and be a driving force in member retention by providing quality information services. As a professional association, we are committed to the advancement of our members’ careers, capabilities, and providing interesting and rewarding volunteer opportunities.

Under one name or another, HRPA has been around for the last 75 years. What started out as a Toronto social club has grown into a major professional association with more than 20,000 members in Ontario organized into 28 chapters. Today, HRPA provides more than 300 professional development programs annually, giving members access to the largest peer network in Canada.

In 1990, the Ontario legislature transferred to HRPA several powers to govern the profession in this province, including the power to set academic and experience requirements to qualify for the Certified Human Resources Professionals designation; set standards of practice; of ethics; a code of professional conduct; and the powers to investigate complaints from the public and discipline members.

Today we are the third largest HR association in the world with the second largest annual HR conference and trade show, which attracts thousands of delegates from across Canada and from dozens of countries around the world. We have become a global HR thought leader, which is where our story begins.

HRPA communicates its HR thought leadership through many formats -- conferences, seminars, webinars, white papers, online and print newsletters, magazines, blogs, website, and our reference library in Toronto.

But we also act as a clearinghouse of information from various government ministries, third-party news and information resources, and HRPA business partners -- both academic and commercial.

As an association, we are tasked with providing content and information to our members. We had all of these content types and sources, yet we did not have an efficient way to push information out or make diverse content types easily accessible via self-service. This was taxing on our staff, and prevented us from being proactive.

In the past, we felt it was sufficient just to make these resources available to members and the public, without any real regard to how easy they were to access and digest.

The result ...

More than 5,000 e-mails from members each year requesting information from our information specialists.

And while we kept track of what these requests were for using Inmagic’s DB/TextWorks, essentially we found ourselves managing thousands of e-mails with the net result that each request was taking up to two weeks to process and at the end of the day the only person who benefitted from the request was the individual who made it in the first place.

We were in pure reactive mode and we were giving very poor service to our members. The situation wasn’t sustainable and we knew we needed to somehow move to a technology-based self-service model and started looking at alternatives.

In 2008, we had moved from iMIS to Microsoft’s CRM with member-based association modules based on CRM from Protec. CRM really revolutionized our relationship with out members, and ideally, whatever information service application we acquired, would integrate with CRM.

It didn’t take long for us to decide on Presto. In nine weeks, we cataloged the myriad of information sources available to our members.

With Presto’s tagging, commenting, and blogging tools we now can not only serve up all of the information that was so difficult to access through one unified query tool, we also can leverage the power of social media to create a real online community.

From a process standpoint, by requesting that members first use the Resource Centre query tool, we have seen the number of e-mail inquires drop dramatically, allowing us for the first time in ages to become proactive and reducing response times by 85 percent. So that is the context we were working in.

We are very pleased with the success we have had with Presto to date, and now I would like to show you what the HRPA Resource Centre looks like, and some of the details of our implementation.
  • June 2, 2010 -- Demo
  • June 25, 2010 -- Decided to purchase Presto app
  • (At this point we had already been playing with content types, and had imported records from our old system, DB/TextWorks)
  • July 2010 -- Decided on taxonomy, created the homepage, nailed down roles and security permissions, set up blogs and alerts.
  • Aug. 2 -- Soft launch
  • August -- Added more records, cleaned up the screens and views for a better user experience
  • Sept. 13 -- Hard launch
In nine short weeks, HRPA implemented the Inmagic Presto application to create a great new resource for our members. On June 2, we had a Presto demonstration and signed up for a trial period.

On June 25, we decided to purchase the Presto application . At this point, we had already been playing with content types, and had imported records from our old system DB/TextWorks.

In July, we decided on our taxonomy, created the homepage, nailed down roles and security permissions, and set up blogs and alerts.

On Aug. 1, we had a soft launch, while we were still adding more records, and we cleaned up the screens and views for a better user experience.

And right after Labour Day in September, we had our hard launch, announcing our new and improved “Resource Centre” to all members.

And we were able to do a lot of the work ourselves. The first thing we did was configure our content types, which are the building blocks of our collection. Presto came with a variety of pre-formatted content types, which we took advantage of, tweaking and modifying the associated fields based on our needs.

We were able to create content types that were a perfect match to the records from DB/TextWorks, our legacy system, which facilitated the process of importing the majority of our catalog. And we were also able to configure the views and screens ourselves through the Presto interface, specifying the search fields and rating and commenting requirements for each content type.

The next step was to create a taxonomy structure so we could begin to form our content collections. We wanted something that our members would easily recognize, and would stand the test of time. Our major collections outline the functional areas of HR, and incorporate the “required professional capabilities” that we, as an association, define to our members who are seeking certification.

Once we had the taxonomy structure in place, we could begin building our content collections. This was the most labour-intensive part of the process, and we hired a temporary assistant and a library school student for six weeks to help us digitize some of our holdings and catalog them. We needed to work quickly to get as many electronic resources available as possible, as well as make our collections well-balanced and relevant to our members.

Next we configured the homepage. This was definitely the most fun part of the implementation. The controls that Presto provides are very easy to use and there are several Web parts that you can use and arrange to your liking, such as the quick search box and the featured collections.

We were also able to get some customization on the homepage, and added a Research Request form so that we are not inundated with e-mails and do not have to manually input all of our research requests.

We were delighted to find out that Presto is compatible with SharePoint Web parts, and as we move forward, we hope to incorporate more interactive items on our homepage -- such as quick polls on topical issues for our members.

We also set up RSS feeds to outside HR news sources, as well as an RSS to our Subject Matter Experts blog, which we feature prominently.

The Subject Matter Experts Blog has been a big hit. When we conducted our member satisfaction survey last year, we found that our members wanted opportunities to enhance their capabilities, contribute to their profession, and further their careers. Our guest blog meets all three of these criteria.

We currently invite HRPA members to share their experiences on the guest blog, a move which has garnered great interest from our senior HR practitioner members who want to contribute. It gives them added visibility and allows them to share their experiences. And it has the added benefit of allowing our members to communicate directly with one another through the commenting and rating features.

And finally, one of our favourite features of Presto is the federated search tabs. The capability to carry a search term over to other search engines without leaving our Resource Centre site is very powerful. We are working with our partners to expand this feature -- and so far they have been very receptive. This feature will eventually lead to our fee-based service, where we provide premium content to our members by revealing different search tabs.

The member reaction has been overwhelming. We announced the “new and improved” Resource Centre in an all-member e-mail the day after Labour Day, and, as you can see on the screen, we have received quite a few compliments and comments from members and business partners -- all very positive.

Implementing Presto has also had a big impact on my own job, and I have to say that it is very nice to be able to take a proactive role in providing quality information services to our membership -- and allowing them to contribute to their professional dialogue in meaningful ways.

Looking forward, we will be integrating Presto with CRM and enabling a single sign-on, which will allow us to migrate our member forum from a rudimentary SharePoint application to Presto. The advantages of this are great in that we will be able to provide increased social collaboration, enable our users to build trusted networks of colleagues and partners, and create real value for our Resource Centre as a key driver of member retention.

We will also be integrating e-commerce into our Resource Centre, strengthening the ties with our content providers and introducing a fee-based custom research service for members with complex information needs.

In addition, we will continue to digitize HRPA-owned content to make it available on the Resource Centre, including the research projects originating from HRPA’s newly formed Human Resources Research Institute and HRPA’s own magazine, HR Professional.

Staff will also have time to be looking at ways we can use Presto for internal knowledge management, capitalizing on the social and collaborative features to foster greater communication between departments.

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