Several times during the past year, we have reported to you that one of the major projects being undertaken by The project was broken into three phases. Phase I was an upgrade of the existing database; Phase II was to develop the back-office programming and systems to support Phase III, an integrated website.
Phase I: Upgrade Database
During Phase I we upgraded the property owner database, which is now hosted on the cloud. Before proceeding, a quick definition of "the cloud": The term is most commonly used to describe network- based services which appear to be provided by on-site hardware, but are, in fact, serviced by computer hardware on the Internet. So, in our case, the database is stored on secure servers on the Internet, not on equipment located at the GTA, but can be accessed and used as though they are housed locally.
Since we are now hosted on the cloud, we also installed a backup system to allow Internet connectivity should our primary system go down. The upgrade went very smoothly and we are happy with the results. Owners should not have been affected by this change at all.
Phase II: Behind the Scenes
We are now finalizing Phase II, the back-office programming, a much more complicated process than upgrading the database. It involved changing the entire Accounts Receivable system to be billed through the database. Ultimately, this change will automate many processes that were previously done manually and should improve efficiencies significantly once everything is in place. In addition, we are laying the infrastructure for the new Association website.
While most of this work is behind the scenes and will never be seen by the owners, one major change will be apparent starting in November. The new IT system allows us to combine a number of year- end charges to appear on one invoice. So this November, when owners receive their invoice for the annual assessment, it also will include fees for any voluntary programs in which they are enrolled" such as the Key Retention Program renewal, renewal of any extra proximity cards, etc. We anticipate minimizing the number of year- end invoices, and saving administrative time and money for office supplies and postage.
While we have done everything possible to make this transition as smooth as possible, we expect that not everything will go as planned. Hopefully, any glitches will be invisible to the members. If not, we appreciate your patience and understanding.
Phase III: Website
The Communication Depart-ment has already started on Phase III, development of the new website. The new website will have public features and a members-only area. Eventually it will allow members to manage their accounts, sign up for programs and events, and pay bills online. Website design and development will take several months. The plan is to introduce the new website at our Annual Meeting in
Stay tuned as this year-long IT upgrade process nears completion.
Several times during the past year, we have reported to you that one of the major projects being undertaken by
The project was broken into three phases. Phase I was an upgrade of the existing database; Phase II was to develop the back-office programming and systems to support Phase III, an integrated website.