Our membership database was nearing the end of its working life and needed replacement.
At the same time, we had developed digital ways of working that were spread across several platforms – using different online systems to send mailshots to members, manage events booking, and indeed manage membership. We also sent hard-copy renewal notices each year.
We wanted to seize the opportunity to revitalise our entire digital infrastructure and transform the way that we supported our members digitally. The vision was to launch a ‘cradle to grave’ digital membership platform that would nurture and sustain our members from the first moment they engaged with us, helping to ensure they could achieve their fullest potential in their professional careers, while serving their clients and employers effectively.
At the same time, we wanted to integrate the disparate collections of data, provide a means for better communication between Icon and our members, eliminate duplication between digital platforms, and standardise our routine administrative systems to make them more effective, so that staff could be more responsive to member needs.
An integrated platform
The new cloud-based solution provides an integrated platform encompassing the core database, the Icon website, an events platform, and e-bulletin software. This enables members to see their upcoming membership activity at a glance and also access records of past events registration or membership payments.
Integrating the Icon website into the project gave us the opportunity to restructure some of the content to make it easier to find articles thematically and to tailor what the user sees depending on their interests. It has also given us scope to bring new prominence to our advocacy work with a new ‘campaigns’ section.
The next phase of development will see the addition of an integrated CPD feature where Icon members can log their training activity, providing a “one-stop shop” for their career development. Easier record-keeping will also smooth their advancement towards accreditation and the maintenance of accredited status.
Our recent digital transformation was a major project of considerable complexity but is hugely worthwhile as it has the potential to streamline and centralise processes across the organisation. However, no one in the Icon team had previous experience of project managing a large-scale software development project. We therefore recruited experienced consultants to guide us through the procurement and implementation phases. Through this we learned the value – and importance – of external expertise. This meant less pressure for Icon’s small pool of paid staff, while ensuring the team had access to specialist advice from professionals who had been through many similar processes before.
We also put data-based decision making at the heart of our brief in order to provide the capacity to gain new insights into our members’ interests that will help us to calibrate our offerings to best serve their needs. Over the coming years, we’ll refine and develop or data gathering and analytical skills to make better use of the tools and our disposal. This will ensure that we use the enhanced capabilities our new digital tools to support our members and also the delivery of our charitable objects.
Here are 10 convincing reasons to explore the Icon website.