Derby

Importance of the Club Management System

Our Club Management System, also known as CMS, is incredibly valuable. Beyond the obvious benefit of serving as the budgeting platform for clubs, the system provides us with a wide variety of uses and, with advances in technology and further development, the benefits will only continue to grow.

The system serves as a one-stop shop for club business, including managing memberships, updating Union website landing pages, viewing constitutions, submitting purchase requisitions, and preparing and reviewing budgets. The system allows club members to see what groups they are currently part of, and it assists Executive Board representatives and student activities resource persons in effectively advising groups.

However, in my opinion, the full benefits have yet to be fully realized. While several services are already accessible within the platform, the Union Systems Administrators and Developers have been working tirelessly to expand its capabilities, such as more information accessible through the tool and more features aimed at general club members. The developers are following a long-term plan which they proposed to the Executive Board in the fall, driving their development efforts over the next three years.

Firstly, the developers are obtaining valuable feedback from each of the stakeholder groups using CMS by hosting focus groups with club members, club officers, Executive Board members, and Union staff. Each of these groups have distinct needs and interests when it comes to their usage of CMS, and we want the tool to take these differences into account. From these feedback sessions, the developers will be able to incorporate changes to the platform that match what these groups will find useful and meaningful.

In the longer-term, CMS can likely also benefit from machine learning and predictive analytics, especially when club officers develop their budget requests. Imagine a budgeting process where the system can recommend the ideal amounts to request based on information stored within the tool (past usage, membership, etc.) coupled with external factors (fluctuating costs, inflation, etc.). While it seems far-fetched, such a vision is both realistic and achievable.

With all of these efforts so far, kudos to Lead Union Developer Ethan Graf ’21 and Lead Union Systems Administrator David Raab ’19 for their commitment to improving CMS both in the present and for the future! I am certainly excited to see what CMS.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at pu@rpi.edu!