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An iNNOVATIONS Takeaway: Being on ‘Offense’ is Underrated

Memorable highlights from the 2022 iNNOVATIONS Conference showcase how ASI’s clients are using iMIS, OpenWater, and TopClass LMS solutions to be on offense in their quests for digital transformation and continuous performance improvement.

It’s NFL football season here in the United States and it’s hard not be swept up in discussions about football and being force-fed football speak and football analogies whether you watch the games or not.

In preparation for last week’s 2022 iNNOVATIONS Conference, the premier event for Advanced Solution International’s (ASI) suite of non-profit solutions including the iMIS engagement management system (EMS), TopClass learning management system (LMS) and OpenWater application and review software, I had the opportunity to interview participants for the Opening General Session. These interviews helped us craft the theme and tone for topics to showcase to the audience. One comment made by Reggie Henry, Chief Information and Performance Excellence Officer at the American Society of Association Executives, impacted me and stayed with me through the entire conference. In fact, it became the lens through which I viewed the entire iNNOVATIONS Conference experience.

Reggie told us, “We use OpenWater and TopClass LMS as our tools on ‘offense’ to increase engagement. To be on offense, our team practices active listening. It’s a mindset.”

Reggie Henry of ASAE speaks on an iNNOVATIONS general session panel

Reggie Henry of ASAE speaks on an iNNOVATIONS general session panel

This mindset became the common thread running through the iNNOVATIONS Conference for me. Wherever I went, and whoever I spoke with, I asked them, “How can organizations start playing offense, not defense?”

Some of the memorable highlights from this conference showcase how ASI’s clients are using OpenWater, TopClass LMS and iMIS solutions to be on offense in their quests for digital transformation and continuous performance improvement, which might be easy phrases to overuse, but difficult to implement and execute.


OpenWater Streamlines Staff Productivity and Enhances Member Experiences

OpenWater enables staff productivity, but more importantly, enables organizations to provide enhanced member experiences in their approach to submissions, member recognition, chapters, leadership, scholarships, and fellowships.

Kunal Johar, Chief Technology Officer at OpenWater told us, “A lot of associations run awards programs such as member recognition, chapters, leadership, scholarships, and fellowships. You collect a lot of information, especially around deadline time. You get inundated with submissions. OpenWater automates and manages that process. The second thing we do is handle the review side. After you've collected all these submissions, what do you do with that information? Without OpenWater, you might put them into an Excel file and send them out to a lot of judges. OpenWater takes both the applications and the review and consolidates them into a single view.”

Kunal Johar of OpenWater speaks on an iNNOVATIONS general session panel

Kunal Johar of OpenWater speaks on an iNNOVATIONS general session panel


TopClass LMS + iMIS = Better Together

Linda Bowers, Chief Technology Officer at TopClass LMS shared, “I think there are a number of great benefits now that TopClass LMS is under the ASI umbrella. From a customer perspective, it tightens the integration between the two systems [TopClass LMS and iMIS], giving a more holistic solution for members and non-members alike. It provides a better end-to-end solution. You can take training and have it run the whole way from the purchase point through iMIS all the way back to engagement tracking back. It gives the full flow. The fact that we've joined the family not only helps with the learning solution itself, but also with consistent support coming from a single organization. This goes for the clients as well as the partners.”

Linda Bowers of TopClass speaks on an iNNOVATIONS general session panel

Linda Bowers of TopClass speaks on an iNNOVATIONS general session panel


OSMA Improves Learner Experience and Automates Mundane Processes

Underscoring Linda’s comments was the TopClass LMS Great Things Award presented to the Oklahoma State Medical Association (OSMA). The Great Things Awards celebrate and recognize clients who are using iMIS, TopClass LMS and OpenWater more, using it better and getting greater value from the system; the award is not about being perfect, but it is about committing to and striving for continuous performance improvement using iMIS to advance your mission by serving your members, donors and community at the highest levels.

Sharon Westmoreland of the Oklahoma State Medical Association (OSMA) accepts a Great Things Award

Sharon Westmoreland of the Oklahoma State Medical Association (OSMA) accepts a Great Things Award

Sharon Westmoreland, Information Systems Manager at OSMA said, “We have been using iMIS for many years, but the move to TopClass LMS a year ago has been a game-changer for us. Before we made the move our previous LMS was unable to distinguish between members and non-members which made discounts and member pricing difficult, it required a different password than that required for our self-service, member portal and long complex instructions for attendees.

“There were times when we needed additional people to staff the phones after big events. The need for a change became even more evident when our CME program gained National attention, offered free to health care professionals during the pandemic. This sent a lot more traffic to our website. A lot of the new attendees had difficulty using the site. And now because of TopClass LMS, much of the manual work for staff has been removed because of the integration with iMIS. Now when we create an event in iMIS the corresponding course is automatically created in Top Class and thanks to the integration between Top Class and Zoom, a Zoom webinar is also created on the fly.”

Some highlights of OSMA’s success with TopClass LMS in their first year include: 

  • Since the launch of TopClass LMS, the average rate of completion has increased by 20%
  • OSMA staff spend 50% less time in TopClass inputting the CME courses.
  • The learner experience has improved so much that our support calls have decreased by 90%. Now we can truly say that our member portal is self-service and easy to use.”


Two Stories of How iMIS Helped CPSBC Provide Relief During Pandemic

Andy Sherwin, ASI’s Managing Director in Canada shared, “Mike Epp, Chief Operating Officer from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, and I were on the same flight down to Washington, DC. While catching up prior to boarding, Mike shared two great pandemic-related success stories about iMIS – both underscoring the value of eliminating silos and creating a single source of truth.”

“The first story was when the government asked the CPSBC to quickly identify and reinstate recently retired doctors (retired within the last 3 years) to help with the medical care crush. He said it was very easy to do with iMIS: pull the necessary information, contact the doctors and reactivate their license to practice, resulting in immediate relief for many overworked doctors.”

“Second, the government then gave each of the 20 healthcare profession regulatory colleges in the province just two weeks to confirm the vaccination status of all of their active members.”

Mike said, “the CPSBC was the only college out of the 20 that was able to meet the deadline, done using a new form and a panel created in iMIS and members clicking through an email and updating their profile through the member portal. Then, just some easy queries and reports to provide the government with the required information.”

He said the BC College of Nurses ended up having to send out 60,000 emails and then manually collate the responses. It took months and they never really got it done.


iMIS Enables ACRM’s Extraordinary Membership Growth From 3,000 to 86,000

Great Things Award winner American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) tells a similar story, ACRM’s implementation of iMIS EMS Enterprise enabled their extraordinary membership growth.

ACRM told us, “Our members enjoy the member portal; they can join or renew quickly and easily without staff assistance … By the end of 2021, while still in the pandemic, our membership skyrocketed to 86,000. We attribute this growth to the capability of iMIS and the ability of iMIS to manage big data.”



AHIP Digitally Transforms with iMIS EMS Enterprise

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is a long-time iMIS user, a client since 2004. As part of their planning to upgrade to the latest iMIS EMS Enterprise version in the cloud from the iMIS 2017 version, they subscribed to the Performance Improvement Advisory Service (PIAS) offered by ASI in 2019. Through the PIAS, AHIP created their digital transformation strategy and roadmap to the cloud. Now that they are on iMIS EMS Enterprise, they’ve become a trailblazer for one of the newest modules, iMIS Advertising by SpaceMaster. They are currently planning to move their events from Aventri into iMIS, providing even more value from their iMIS investment.

Juan Pereyra of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) accepts a Great Things Award

Juan Pereyra of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) accepts a Great Things Award


Creating More Value from Your Toolset

Our iMIS users and supporting partners have elevated the idea of playing offense to a new level. The whole idea of playing offense is intriguing to me; maybe it’s because it’s easier to score points (it may even be easier to win games) while playing offense as it promotes planning, plan execution, proactivity and engagement. But so many teams in the NFL choose to be on defense first and I suspect that many associations and nonprofit organizations choose to be on defense as well.

The question for you is, “How do you use the tools that you have more and use them better, so that you get more value from these investments, but more importantly so that you use your tools to be on offense to increase member, donor and community engagement?”


The True Value of Meeting Face-to-Face

I would be remiss if I did not reflect on our first in-person conference since early 2020. I asked my good friend and colleague, Brian Lindsey, ASI Product Champion and Senior Product Manager, to share his reflections.

Brian observed, “I had only seen folks on Zoom or Teams calls. When we met face-to-face for the first time it was not what I imagined. For example, some folks were much taller, and some were much shorter or smaller, more hair, less hair, grayer on some. 

“But presenting in-person is so much better. As a presenter, you can read the room and focus on areas based on audience reactions. Can’t do that online. Same for in-person conversations. I didn’t realize how much we pick up on nonverbal signs.”

The amazing thing about this conference, our first in-person since the pandemic began, is that every voice I hear is kinder and gentler. Every person who I spent time with at this event had a softer tone. Hellos and goodbyes that were once rushed were now extended and warm.

Given all that has occurred over the last few years, being at this conference with our friends, clients and colleagues, addressing the challenges of our community together, it feels good, and feels quite appropriate considering the changes we all face together.


Photos of iNNOVATIONS attendees

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