07 Apr Information Technology Services & Business Integration
APA’s Information Technology Services (ITS) manages APA’s technology infrastructure, supports the association’s innovative publishing processes, improves day-to-day operations and enhances APA’s technology applications.
The Business Integration unit links business strategies to APA’s strategic priorities. The unit seeks opportunities to increase the efficiency and strengthen the effectiveness of business operations and streamline the experience of staff, members and customers as they navigate APA’s information systems. The unit also integrates and manages APA’s data, taking advantage of analytics and market trends, to improve service to members and customers and help APA achieve its digital potential.
ITS continued to strengthen APA’s technology foundation and infrastructure. The flow of information depends on the smooth running of hundreds of applications every day, and ITS has a skilled team to support these core services. In addition, ITS has built a robust system that takes advantage of market trends and streamlines processes for members. For example, in 2016 ITS helped build the new APA Membership Directory — an exclusive benefit for members that now allows them to update their profiles, use advanced search options and create their own networks to connect and collaborate with colleagues. Members also benefit from our ongoing efforts to simplify the process of joining and renewing membership, navigating the convention and joining divisions.
Another key focus of ITS is on enhancing the association’s data protection and information security practices to protect APA intellectual property and membership data.
ITS and APA’s Office of Publications and Databases were instrumental in creating and launching a new institutional electronic resource for users of APA Style®: APA Style CENTRAL®. The result of years of development, APA Style CENTRAL is the only authoritative and complete online environment for learning, teaching, writing and publishing in APA Style. ITS helped build and implement its sophisticated learning and teaching tools, advanced writing and content management technology and full integration of APA’s Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association® to create a web-based suite of integrated services and tools.
ITS continued to support and enhance operational aspects of APA’s research databases. In 2016 we increased the automation of PsycINFO® and PsycARTICLES® by releasing new content twice a week to our vendors/partners and to APA PsycNET®, APA’s award-winning platform that enables users to quickly find and use the most relevant and reliable behavioral and social science content. We also enriched the PsycINFO® database through a major data reload in 2016 involving the addition of new elements to improve search capabilities.
metadata records were part of the 2016 PsycINFO reload
Digital Strategy & Services
In June 2016 APA launched the Center for Digital Strategy and Services (CDSS) to centralize activities and projects with components expressed through digital channels. Housed in the Business Integration unit, the center seeks to expand APA’s outreach and impact through the use of the web and social media to disseminate psychological science. In its brief six months of existence, the center has already had a significant impact on APA.
- The center took the reins for all website work and processed over 3,000 requests for work since June. While providing operational and strategic support for APA on the web channel, the center also made significant upgrades to the look and feel of the core website. Positive comments from users have been backed up by lower bounce rates and deeper sessions (the period of time when a visitor is actively engaged on the website) across the site’s 40,000+ pages.
- CDSS introduced in-house video services to APA’s burgeoning list of capabilities in 2016. Our first Facebook Live stream (on the Psychology of Poverty) was seen by over 14,000 individuals, and our hashtag video to support mental health reform (#mentalHealthReform) was one of our top five Twitter stories this year.
- At the end of the year, the digital center hired a new social media manager to begin the process of centralizing the function. In addition, the center joined forces with APA’s Editorial and Design Services office to streamline the use of in-house creative capabilities across the association.
Connect with APA Today
As the organization for psychology, APA strives to collect, apply and share data in ways that best represent and support the discipline. Four years ago we started a large-scale project — the “data warehouse” — to provide the best available data to answer questions important to the discipline and policymakers. We created our member data portal as a tool for the exclusive use of APA members and affiliates. The portal, accessed through MyAPA, allows members to review aggregate data and generate reports about APA membership. For example, via the portal you can determine the gender composition of your division or the demographics of APA fellows.
In 2016, ITS continued to enhance the data warehouse by adding identity management data, National Register of Health Service Psychologists data, data on Congressional districts and member data. In addition, we launched the enhanced member data portal to better protect members’ identities and personal data and make it easier to conduct transactions (e.g., edit account information, make purchases, access CE courses, register for convention).