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AITP Web Portal Ready to Launch

Thursday, May 01, 2003   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mark Gilfand, CDP - Association Director
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By the time you read this article, AITP may have already set the launch date for the new AITP Web Portal. At the time of writing this article, mid-May, the Association's Board of Directors and Web portal testing committee were busy reviewing the portal and determining if we are a 'go for launch'.

So what is this new AITP Web Portal? What will it do for AITP members and the public? This article will walk you through the Portal's functions. Hopefully, you will see how the portal will offer so much more than the current AITP Web site.

Home Page:
The Web Portal has a new, clean, modern, interface that makes it easy to find information. The home page will not just state AITP's mission. It will emphasize that AITP is an Association of people brought together to provide opportunities in education, advocacy, networking, and leadership. There are key links at the home page to quickly go to the chapter search page and the AITP calendar. There are also links to join the Association and to contact Headquarters.

At the home page, you will see that the portal has five main sections: Members, Publications, Affiliates, AITP News, and Organization. As you 'mouse over' those links, you will be able read what each section is about. There is also link to 'My AITP', where members can create their own customizable page and update their personal information. Each of these sections will be described in more detail.

Some sections of the Web portal are open to the public. Others are only available to AITP members. The public sections are: 'Organization', 'AITP News', and 'Affiliates'. The private sections are: 'Members', 'Publications', and 'My AITP'. When you enter a private area of the portal, you will be prompted to log in. For security purposes, we will not divulge your username (ID) and password in this article. Prior to launch, all members will receive an email message from AITP Headquarters with username and password information. The home page also has a function to help those who have forgotten their login information.

Organization:
The Organization section showcases AITP's mission, vision, history, code of ethics, standards of conduct, and organizational structure. There are easy links to the bylaws. There is a chapter resource page where chapter leaders can find a wide variety of tools, tips, techniques, and advice from other Web sites. A page for exactly who to contact at AITP Headquarters is also conveniently available.

The Manuals and Forms page offers a much cleaner view of all the manuals, forms, bulletins, and other documents of interest to region, chapter, and committee leaders. Clip art, brochures, and other promotional material are conveniently available on one page. There is a page devoted to AITP's interest groups and committees, with a contact list of committee leaders and members. The enhanced Region Search page allows easier access to regional information. And there is the link to the chapter membership reports function.

The Chapter Search page is one of the great new benefits of the Portal. You will be able to search for chapters not only by State (like our current Web site), but also by city and by chapter name. You can click on a chapter name and get a link to the chapter's Web site (if there is one) and the names of its officers and directors, with easy links to email them. This will give chapters without Web sites a Web presence. And it will provide the public with more information about a chapter, even if it has its own Web site. Once the portal is live, we ask that all professional and student chapter leaders look up their chapter information and contact Headquarters if updates are needed.

AITP News:
The AITP News section offers a quick and easy way to access the latest AITP news, Announcements, calendar of events, and press releases.

AITP Announcements highlights the latest AITP news about member benefits, new postings to the Web site, procedure changes for chapter and region leaders, and other information of interest to AITP members.

The Press Releases page allows news organizations to easily access official AITP news releases.

The Calendar of Events offers an easy-to-navigate view of upcoming AITP conferences, events, meetings, and due dates.

Affiliates:
The Affiliates section is where AITP highlights its association with other organizations. And it provides you with a comprehensive view of the more tangible benefits of AITP membership.

Partner Affiliates highlights a select group of industry-related product and service providers who have joined with AITP to lead our profession. These organizations offer AITP members access to leading products, services, and resources. They are dedicated to AITP's mission and growth.

Industry Affiliates highlight top industry groups that work with AITP to advance the knowledge and skills of Information Technology professionals.

Vendor Affiliates highlights those organizations that provide AITP members with great values and special offers on a variety of products and services. This includes discounts on technical educational opportunities, industry-related advisory services, travel services, magazines, group insurance plans, financial services, etc.

Publications:
The Publications section is in the 'members-only' area of the Web portal. Here you will have access to a collection of information, newsletters, papers, and research that is only available to AITP members.

Annual Reports will allow you to access AITP's annual reports, showcasing information on AITP's awards, leadership, finances, and reports from committees and directors. Initially only AITP Annual Reports will be here. But our goal is to eventually add the reports of other organizations.

Newsletters provide quick and easy access to a variety of newsletters and publications.

Initially we will have AITP-related newsletters like Information Executive, Nanosecond, and a relatively new publication available to chapter leaders called Online Digest. As time goes on, we'll add more newsletters to the list.

IT Papers may become one of the most important functions of the portal. Here is where you will access a technical repository of valuable documents, including white papers, industry briefs, research, surveys, and reports. At first, the number of documents may be small. But as time goes on, and AITP develops more and more relationships with other organizations, members will have access to an increasingly larger body of knowledge. This will be a true benefit of AITP membership.

Members:
The Members section of the Web portal has some of the more exciting new developments available to AITP members. Here you will be able to enter into a wide variety of discussion forums open only to other AITP members. The Members area also offers one of the most sought after benefits of membership -- a private directory of other AITP members.

The Forums offer you the opportunity to converse with other AITP members to give and gain information on the topic of your choice. We created forums for meeting announcements, students, AITP issues, and IT Management issues. There are forums for hardware, software, networking, security, leading technology, etc. No matter what your interest, there is a forum for you to ask questions and get answers from IT Professionals throughout AITP. There is even a forum for job postings -- both for those with job openings and those who are seeking those openings.

Remember, these forums are available ONLY to AITP members. Because of that, the forums are a true benefit of AITP membership, allowing you direct access to other IT Industry professionals, while denying access to spammers and others.

The AITP Member Directory is one of the most requested functions of the Web portal. This directory can ONLY be accessed by other AITP members, who log onto the Web portal by using a valid ID and password. At the directory, you can search for members by name, by organization, or by chapter.

By default, members will be listed in the directory. At any time, you can elect to withhold your name from the directory listing. The instructions are readily available on the Directories page.


My AITP:
The MY AITP section of the Web portal allows you to access and update your own information. You can also tailor two pages that will enhance your online experience.

My AITP offers you the ability to tailor pages of small applications, such as news services, search engines, favorite links, currency converters, etc. There is one page called Industry Center for your professional applications and a page called Personal Center for those applications that interest you outside of work. You will be able to customize which applications appear on these pages, and the order they appear.

At My Account, you can access and update your personal information like name, address, phone, email address, etc., including your choice of whether or not your name appears in the online member directory. Here you can access a new benefit of the portal, an online renewal form. Also at My Account you can change your Web portal password and sign up to be member of a number of AITP mailing lists, similar to the current AITP-Leaders list. You can even check your 'paid through' date to find out when your membership needs to be renewed.

The AITP Web Portal has been an on-going project over the last eighteen months. It has required the hard work and dedication of many people, including most notably: Mark Kleine -- who provided an unbelievable amount of hours and talent in design, development, and guidance; Darlene Hite-Dickinson -- who led this project throughout 2002; and Headquarters staff who have assisted us throughout the project.

Launching the AITP Web portal will not be the end of a project, but rather the beginning of a new opportunity. As time, resources, and finances allow, we will continually enhance and improve both the portal's functionality and content. The Web Portal will be the cornerstone for many of the ever increasing benefits of belonging to the Association of Information Technology Professionals.

Watch for an email from AITP Headquarters that announces the Web Portal launch date and supplies you with your username and password.

By Mark Gilfand, CDP - Association Director


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