One year ago, we embarked upon an arduous technological journey – one full of mountains to climb and bridges to build.
Just like the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 acted as a catalyst in transforming our city’s skyline, we, too, stumbled upon a crossroads that propelled us to action. Although the catalyst to our own technological journey was not as obvious as a white hot blaze or a cow belonging to Catherine O’Leary, we were fully able to pinpoint that we needed to make a change in order to provide our members with the level of support they expected and deserved.
The pioneers in the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire were the architects who modernized building frameworks with metal instead of wood. This is what pioneers do – find the source of the problem and then start building from the ground up. Once we came to the realization that we outgrew our old ways of managing member data and facilitating member communications, we hit the ground running to renovate our membership database and bridge this database with an engaging and resourceful new website. Like the great architects whose work still lines this city, we pioneered a way to dutifully serve our members by implementing a plan to modernize our own technological framework.
And so we began a year-long project to research, select and implement a two-part data management and member engagement strategy. The two-part strategy consisted of migrating to a new database system to store and effectively manage all membership data (AMS) and developing a new website to improve member access and collaboration (CMS). Our overall goal was to develop a feature and resource rich website that made it easy and quick for our members to find the information they need to advance Chicago’s commercial real estate industry.
Today, this goal has become a reality! We are launching our new website with the confidence that our members will use www.bomachicago.org as a valuable resource for current industry information as well as a tool for member communication.
Because the new CMS website works in conjunction with the AMS database, members can manage their membership activity directly through the website. The new and improved BOMA/Chicago website also highlights the core services we provide: Advocacy, Education and Networking. These core services are directly tied to two new website features that we deem necessary for our members – a personalized Member Center and a comprehensive Resource Library.
Once members log into our new website, their experience will become personalized through their very own Member Center where they will have access to their member-specific calendar, a list of events they have registered for, upcoming committee meetings and discussion posts where members can collaborate with each other. We have even designed training materials on the Member Center so that members can learn all of the ins and outs of all of the features it offers. To access these training documents, members will just need to log in and click the “user training” icon on the right rail of the homepage.
If members need to download a scholarship application, access labor agreements or find advocacy materials concerning the latest ordinance, they will simply need to visit our Resource Library that is jammed packed with timely and relevant documents.
Now that our new website has launched, we want to know if it embodies all of the goals we set forth one year ago – to put members in touch with each other and with the current pulse of commercial real estate in Chicago.
So help us bring our technological journey full circle by taking a break from this week’s heat wave and logging on to our new website. We are eager to hear your thoughts and gather your feedback. Leave us a comment below.