3 Novel Ways to Use an Abstract Management System

When it comes to managing abstracts and collecting final presentations for an annual meeting, many associations try to handle the process with an email inbox and a spreadsheet. Once your association and its conference grows beyond a certain point, though, that “solution” cause more problems than it solves. That tends to be when we hear from associations looking for an online abstract management system to streamline the process and save many hours of valuable staff time.

Some are so pleased with the system’s capabilities that they see applications beyond abstracts and papers. Once you find a system that works well, after all, you might as well milk it for all it’s worth. Take a look at these three examples and think outside the box for ways your organization could leverage the system.

  1. Bentley Systems Inc. holds a global competition during its annual Year in Infrastructure Conference, showcasing projects that were designed, built, and/or operated using the company’s software. Using Omnipress’ abstract management system, participants submitted their projects and judges narrowed the field to three finalists in each category. Knowing the finalists but not the winners when they arrived at the conference, attendees were inspired to learn more and use Bentley’s products to spark their own creative ideas. (For the full story, read the case study!)
  2. The College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) at Colorado State University uses the abstract management system to collect grant applications as well as abstracts for its annual meeting. According to CVMBS’ College Research Coordinator, Aimee Oke, “The same process we use for conferences applies to other areas as well.” Handling the 40+ grant applications on a manual basis became too cumbersome, so CVMBS started another abstract management site to handle them. “Anything that fits this process can be built with the same system,” Aimee says. (Read the complete case study here.)
  3. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) counts on Omnipress to produce two versions of its policy book—printed and online. In addition to that important publication, AARP works with Omnipress for abstract management, though that has nothing to do with the policy book or any annual meeting. Instead, board nominations are submitted and managed using the same system many associations use to keep track of abstracts and final presentations for annual meetings. (Read AARP’s Statement of Support, regarding the policy book.)

Many associations work with Omnipress for their abstract management and paper collection needs; some look beyond the intended use and find other ways to incorporate the system to make tasks easier and more streamlined, saving you time and money. However you choose to approach the items your association needs collected, reviewed, and managed, I hope you’ll take a look at our system and determine how it could work for you. To see it in action, try the abstract collection demo!

How to Streamline Your Conference Printing

When you hear streamlined, what do you think of? An aerodynamic sports car? The flattering cut of an A-line skirt with no fuss or frills? Or an easy process with all of the usual stumbling blocks removed?

If you seek a streamlined process for your conference printing, you’ll find that Omnipress fits the bill. This works especially well when you pair your print order with other services that we offer.

Abstract management is a good example.
When Omnipress handles your abstract management and paper collection (which can encompass all aspects of the process—submission, review, and management), we’ll help you set up the system to collect all of the information you need for your conference printing and any other outputs you plan to offer attendees. It makes sense to print with us when we have collected the conference content; likewise, it makes sense to use Omnipress for abstract management when you plan to use our printing services. Just as it is with a patchwork quilt, so is it with your conference content—the pieces often work better together than they do on their own.

Formatting is another service that plays well with conference printing.
The abstract management system may have all of the elements of your conference content, but there must also be a means to organize and lay out the information in a way that attendees can easily understand it. Just supply us with a sample of last year’s conference program and we’ll take it from there.

Online conference materials, conference apps, and USBs—all other conference outputs you want to add to a printed program or proceedings.
You’d be forgiven if you think of “Omnipress” and “printer” as synonymous. Conference printing is an essential component of our business. It is not, however, all we have to offer associations. Over the last several years, we have expanded our digital services to include online conference materials, conference apps, CDs, and USBs. Once we have your conference content, especially when it was collected through our abstract management system, we can help you with all sorts of outputs. And the more options your association offers, the more your attendees get out of your annual meeting.

Anytime you can slice items off of your to-do list, you’ll feel calmer. When you work with one provider for all of your conference content needs, you won’t have as many calls to make to keep things on track. That means fewer loose ends to tie up. Less follow-up that you have to be responsible for.

If you meet certain criteria, you can take advantage of Omnipress’ incentive program. (Criteria include: Sign a proposal for conference services by June 30th; and complete final invoicing by December 31st. Find complete requirements at omnipress.com.)

Earn one of four incentives:

  • 11” MacBook Air
  • Dell XPS 13 (Non-Touch)
  • 2 airline vouchers ($500 each)
  • $1,000 off of your project

The best incentive of all, included with every Omnipress project, is a smooth, hassle-free process. We work hard to put procedures in place to make things easier for you.

To learn more, read our white paper, Best Practices in Conference Content Planning & Production. Then contact us to get started!

It Pays to Work With Omnipress—Literally!

You work hard throughout the year to bring content to your association’s attendees. In appreciation for all you do, Omnipress has begun an incentive program. Partner with us for your 2015 conference content and you could earn an incentive worth $1,000!

How do you get started? It’s easy! Here’s how the promotion works:

  1. Visit the incentive program page to contact an Omnipress account manager.
  2. Get the conversation started! Let’s talk with us about your conference content needs: abstract management and paper collection, conference printing, online conference materials, conference apps, and/or USBs/CDs. Any or all of these aspects of conference content apply, as long as the total value adds up to at least $15,000.
  3. Sign a proposal for your conference content from Omnipress on or before June 30, 2015.
  4. Enjoy a smoother experience with conference content for your fall meeting!
  5. Complete final invoicing by December 31, 2015.
  6. Earn one of these incentives—each worth $1,000! (One reward per customer.)

Choose from one of the following incentives to make life easier for yourself and your association:

AppleMacbookAir
11” Macbook Air**
DellXPS13
Dell XPS 13 (Non-Touch)**
$1000-off
$1,000 off your project
Airplane
2 airline vouchers ($500 each)

 

 

For complete details (including legalese and pictures of the rewards) of the spring promotion, visit the incentive program page.

If you’ve thought about trying Omnipress for your conference content, but never felt quite ready to pull the trigger, this is your chance! Work with us, earn and enjoy your incentive, and banish stress from your conference content planning process, in 2015 and beyond.

**Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this promotion. Dell is not a participant or sponsor of this promotion. Omnipress is in no way affiliated with either Apple or Dell.

The Abstract Management Compromise: Getting the Best of Both Worlds

When your association looks for an abstract management solution, you’ll find that there are a number of different options available to you. Some are basic, out-of-the-box solutions that cost little in initial capital, but their limitations cause frustrations that actually are expensive (in terms of time and sanity). Other systems are highly customizable, which can make it easier to achieve the functionality you need, but development fees add up quickly. Custom systems tend to be frightfully expensive.

Omnipress’ system represents a good compromise of the two extremes. It can be configured to complement your association’s submission and review processes, but, technically, it is not a custom system. That means it doesn’t incur the program development costs that such a system requires, helping to keep your budget in check.

Configuration may sound like a limiting term, but it’s pretty amazing how much you can adapt our abstract management system to meet your needs. Here are a few examples to illustrate:

Collection process

  • Any file type or size can be collected, including video and audio, making it easier for submitters to paint a complete picture of their presentation.
  • Submission forms can include fields for the information you’ll need as you plan your annual meeting. Get it up front so you don’t have to chase it down later.
  • Professionals can begin a submission, save their progress, and return later to complete it.

Review process

  • Reviewers can use scoring criteria created by your association to keep evaluations consistent. The Omnipress team can help you set these up.
  • Submissions can be assigned based on criteria your association sets up or distributed to reviewers randomly.
  • Abstracts can undergo one review round or several, depending on what your association needs.

Abstract management

  • Submitters can be required to include payment with their abstract. This helps tie more serious intent to a submission and can defray the cost of the system.
  • Association staff can use an onboard email system to communicate with submitters and reviewers, either through mass or individual messages.
  • Data reports can be chosen from the standard set or created by the Omnipress team to help you manage the process.

Choose an abstract management and paper collection system that can be configured to match your process—without breaking the bank with development costs. Best of all, you’ll have the support of your dedicated project manager from start to finish. That’s just one person to call with questions. You won’t have to describe your association’s situation over and over again just to get an answer and get on with your day. What you get is a partner to guide you through your abstract management process who will get to know you and your association, providing personalized service and suggestions at every step.

Is Omnipress’ abstract management and paper collection system the right fit for your organization? Find out! Reach out to us to get the conversation started, or begin by reading our whitepaper, which goes through considerations to keep in mind as you evaluate systems.

Abstract Management: The Art of Collecting Conference Material

Putting on a conference or meeting where you will have speakers is no easy task. There are seemingly hundreds of “hidden” tasks that only add to the level of stress that piles up quickly. Now to add to all of that, you need to manage abstract after abstract coming from various potential speakers or presenters from around the country (or even around the world), and the success of the conference is riding on selecting the correct speakers.

Collecting via Email or an “In-House” System

Some conference organizers collect abstracts via email, which might be cost-effective, but the lack of organization and the difficulty level of keeping everything in order is sometimes astronomical. Others might be using an in-house system that their IT guy put together specifically for their conference. This seems like a great idea until you realize that you and him are the only people who can effectively use the system, and your reviewers feel like they’re being asked to decode a top secret FBI algorithm just to access the site, let alone actually conduct reviews.

One thing I try to always compare what I call “in-house” abstract management systems to is having that “guy-you-know” build your organization a new website. At first, it sounds like a great idea. The “guy-you-know” is only going to charge you a “couple hundred bucks” and he’s said he’s built a few blogs before. Just think of all the money you’ll save…right? Wrong. What you don’t anticipate is the lack of quality in how things function and look, as well as the fact that it takes the “guy-you-know” three weeks to get back to you just to update some text on a page. In the end, the “couple hundred dollars” he charged you costs you thousands in sales because your site looks like it was built in 1990, and not even a computer programmer can navigate the site efficiently.

The same can be said for collecting and managing abstracts via email or with an “in-house” system. Don’t put yourself in the position of trying to save a few bucks with a DIY system that only does the bare minimum of what you need. Find an abstract management partner that knows the art well and has a lot of experience. Working with an abstract management partner means you’re working with someone that collects more abstracts in a month than you typically would in your entire career. They are the true artists of abstract management.

Understanding All of Your Needs

It’s important that the organization that you work with understand all of your needs and can not only sell you an abstract management system, but can offer best-practices that will make the entire process run smoothly for your organization. They shouldn’t just be order takers, but problem solvers who can be there throughout the entire process for you and take charge of your process. Customer service is of utmost importance when it comes to the art of abstract management.

Omnipress is a family-owned company located in Madison, WI, and our #1 asset is the people that work here. When it comes to abstract management, we have a dedicated group of team members that work directly with you throughout the entire process. They work with you to not only conduct your abstract management, but also to continuously improve your process to save you time and money. Whether you’re collecting abstracts, posters, speaker materials, disclosures or anything else, we make it a point to be the masters of our art.

Click here to learn more about Omnipress’ Abstract Management System!

5 Reasons Abstract Management is Everything

What is the most critical step in your conference content process? Preparing the printed program? Receiving the USBs that contains the conference’s complete abstracts? Setting your mobile app or content website live?

For these five reasons, abstract management—which includes your call for papers, submissions, review, and managing the process—is the most important piece of your conference content puzzle.

  1. The conference content is chosen. Cue the chorus of “duh”s. One of the most important aspects of your conference is deciding which topics to cover, which research to highlight, and which speakers will excite and inspire your attendees. It all starts with your call for papers. Your review team separates the wheat from the chaff, and your conference content starts to resemble the excellent industry resource it will become.
  2. The groundwork for your outputs is set. For best results, use the same provider for abstract management and your content outputs, whatever form it takes—printed program and/or proceedings, CDs or USBs, a conference content website, a mobile event app, or any combination of these. Your provider will help you set yourself to collect the content you need from the get-go, including not just the abstract, but other information, like release forms, bios, photos, A/V needs, metadata, and more.
  3. The schedule begins to take shape. Choose an abstract management system that allows you to build your conference schedule and you’ll be ahead of the game. As reviewers select presenters, you can take that information and begin to lay out your event.
  4. The elements of your conference content is collected. Abstracts, papers, final presentations, posters, keywords and other metadata for online posts, handouts, special requests, and more—whatever you’ll need from accepted speakers, get it up front. There’s no great harm in collecting information you may ultimately not need, but chasing down presenters for more information could prove challenging.
  5. The whole process is simplified when you do abstract management right. Your outputs consist of more information than a basic call for paper requires. For a smoother process from the initial submission to the final conference program or website, though, it makes sense to get everything you need from potential speakers from the very beginning.

Abstract management makes life easier for everyone involved.

  • Your accepted presenters can rest assured that all the information you needed is already in.
  • You don’t have to spend time hunting down speakers at the 11th hours for a CV or photo.
  • Your content provider can move forward toward your content outputs without delay.

We believe it’s true and hope that, given our five reasons, you agree: Abstract management is everything.

Make Collection Less Scary and You Won’t Work Yourself to Death

When you think of collection, does it make you tremble with fear? Does a cold shiver run down your spine? Or, less dramatically, do you feel a little trepidation and anxiety?

Online abstract collection, management, and review don’t have to be scary! If you’ve been handling collection manually (by mail or email), it’s time to come out of the dark, shadowy dread of that process and see the light. An online abstract management system helps you handle collection and review efficiently.

Welcome to abstract management with Omnipress!

  • Say goodbye to the endless email conversations that leave reviewers and staff members with more questions than answers.
  • Forget the struggle that comes when a submitter forgets to send along key documents.
  • Bid adieu to the annoying task of preparing all of the final papers for the printed program or event website.

See? Not scary at all. And you don’t have to work yourself to death, like today’s poster girl did. This process sounds downright … manageable.

Add in Omnipress’ top-notch customer service, and your abstract collection process loses its teeth. Much like that nice guy dressed up as a zombie at tonight’s Halloween party, it just takes a little finessing to turn something frightful into something that might just work out in your favor.

Wishing you the happiest Halloween! Don’t be afraid to give Omnipress a call!

Is Your Call for Papers Process Causing Outdated Conference Sessions?

The best part of the meeting planning experience is watching it all come together the day of the annual conference.

Attendees are flocking around the registration table to pick up their conference schedules. They’re eagerly picking out their sessions for the day, excited to learn about the newest trends in the industry (if they haven’t already done so on the conference website, that is).

But are your conference sessions featuring the most up-to-date educational content if you’ve chosen the accepted contributed sessions six months in advance?

Is Your Collection Process Preventing Innovative Conference Materials?

Velvet Chainsaw and Tagoras recently surveyed 245 association professionals to learn more about coaching professional speakers for events and found:

75% of associations use a call for papers process that closes 9-10 months before the annual conference.

The Problem: Attendees and members don’t want to learn about the industry trends from 10 months ago, they want to learn about the industry trends that will occur 10 months from now. So how do you provide timely conference education to attendees?

Invite Key Note Speakers Later

I talked briefly with John Eisele, one of our resident Online Collection Experts who said many of his clients invite new speakers into the system once the collection and review processes are nearly finished.

Once you’ve completed your call for papers, review and call for final presentations, consider inviting new speakers into your system to provide specific, timely content for your conference.

These speakers are usually well-known, innovative leaders in the industry who have the knowledge and experience to keep your conference timely.

Offer a Late-Breaking Call for Papers

Another way his clients have maintained current topics is to open a “late-breaking call for papers” just a few months before the event. Have a few session placeholders where there would be a limited number of submissions and the review is expedited.

Perhaps you have wanted to do this before, but technology is preventing you from working with one system to do so. Technology should not be a barrier. If you have a flexible system for your call for papers process, your system should facilitate this process and strengthen your conference session. It comes down to making sure your speakers are submitting their presentations on time and reviewers are reviewing on time.

How do you make sure your conference isn’t outdated before it even begins?

Beyond Technology: Supporting Your Abstract Management System

Let’s just start by assessing your abstract management system to make sure it can accommodate your needs.

Your online system should be flexible enough to:

  • Collect abstracts, final presentations and other information from speakers
  • Collect, manage and review files
  • Communicate with speakers easily
  • Organize submissions to create your program
  • Provide customized reports
  • And much more

Yes, the technology is flexible, but what about the company supporting the technology?

The big question is: Are you leading the support team for your abstract management system, or are they leading you?

Three Questions to Ask About the Company Supporting Your Abstract Management System

  1. Does your abstract collection support team schedule a planning call? Even before your “call for abstracts” opens, your collection support team should be discussing big picture needs and tactical next steps.
    Does your collection team ask about:
    -Past collection experiences: How many times have you collected before? Things to watch for?
    -Goals for collection: What are the final outputs? Will you need data for other things?
    -Site setup and form specification: What information needs to be included? How will that data be used?
  2. Does your abstract management support team proactively lead each stage of the collection process? From your first call for papers through the review process and collection of final files and presentations, your collection team should help you at each step of the way.
    Does your support team:
    -Send you how-to guides for each stage of abstract collection, review, scheduling and final file collection
    -Follow up with the initial schedule throughout the collection process to ensure everything is still on track
  3. Does your collection support team have a standardized process and set of planning tools? Every member of the collection support team should be using the same process and tools, kept in a localized place, following the same standard procedure. This way if one member goes on vacation, the rest of the collection support team isn’t scrambling to find materials like standardized output emails, setup forms and your schedule.

Your Experience with the Company Supporting Your Collection System

I hope you were able to say “Yes! My collection team does all of this for me.” That means your collection team is proactive and leading YOU through the process of collecting, reviewing and managing abstracts and final presentations.

If your collection team is often missing data or having to go back and update the system, we’re sorry; they may be more reactive, making the process of collecting, managing and reviewing speaker files unnecessarily difficult, time consuming and frustrating.

So back to the big question: Are you leading the support team for your abstract management system, or are they leading you?

Online Abstract Management Systems That Work

Remember the story about the super-smart association IT guy who created an in-house online abstract management system for the super-overwhelmed education director and program coordinators? (If not, that’s ok, it’s been a while.)

In short, it’s the one where this super-smart IT guy developed the “super-perfect” (yet rather costly) in-house system that only he understood… which was all fun and fantastic until he got a better job two years later. Then the education director became even more overwhelmed and was left with an outdated system no one could figure out.

Whatever happened to this poor association?

An Online Abstract Management System That Works

From the “clumsy excel spreadsheets, post-it notes/index cards system” to the “custom-developed, not-so-user-friendly system,” the super-overwhelmed education director and program coordinators finally had enough.

It was time for an online abstract management system that worked.

This is the story for many of our customers who once had an in-house system or have been using another older system developed by “abstract” companies.

To address some of these super-frustrating components of in-house collection systems, here’s a list of what our customers love about our online abstract management system.

Top 10 Features of Online Abstract Management Systems

  1. Easy Submission Management. Filter and find submissions by nearly any field: last submitted/modified date, submission type, author name and more. Easy submission management allows those in charge to stay on top of incoming and updated submissions in a dashboard/report format.
  2. Managing Reviewers. Assign abstracts to reviewers, reviewers to abstracts, or groups of either based on topic or track. Additional reviewers can easily be added later. A dashboard and custom reporting allow you to see who’s done what, who hasn’t reviewed at all and the input from each reviewer.
  3. Personalized Communication. You can send rich-text emails (to individuals or groups of submitting authors) from any email address, so replies go directly to the person in charge. Each email can be personalized, merging in the appropriate data fields to make the message meaningful.
  4. Field Heaven. The system can pretty much collect the kitchen sink! (On top of author information) you can collect data on a/v, releases, disclosures, bios, etc. You can even conditionally collect more or less information based on a response of a field… and that field can be any type: drop down, radio, multi-select, open text, file upload, etc.
  5. No System Manual Needed. Regardless of how computer illiterate you are, you can use this intuitive system with minimal help. Enough said.
  6. Batch Updating. When you need to make a mass update to various fields across all submissions, just export the data, make changes in MS-Excel, and we’ll reload it into the system. No more going into each individual abstract one at a time… It’s a huge time saver!
  7. Drag and Drop Scheduling. If you can click, drag and drop, you can schedule accepted submissions to create your program. Schedule one session or multiple sessions at once. Set session dates, breaks, presentations, lunches, etc. to complete the program.
  8. Seamless Workflow. Use the same system from “call for abstracts/papers/presentations”–whatever you call it–to collect final submissions. And when you just need to collect final files from another system, it’s a batch upload of initial information and an email blast away from speakers uploading their files. Then, here’s the kicker: The information in the Omnipress system flows nicely into print, online and other digital outputs (and you only need to work with one company)!
  9. Custom Reports without Custom Charges. When you need something more than that stock report, just create your own custom report and get the data you need. No waiting for three days and getting charged hundreds of dollars for customer work.
  10. No One-Shoe-Fits Service. Sometimes you need us, and sometimes you’re in self-serve mode. Either way, our team is a call or click away with years of experience serving hundreds of customers.

And so the super-happy education director and the super-cool online abstract management system FINALLY lived happily ever after…The End!

Does your Call for Abstracts Process Need Couples’ Counseling?

Are you one of the associations that use multiple systems and databases to take their abstract management system through the initial call for presentations, the review process, the final collection, scheduling and finally the output of the abstracts or presentations in either digital or print form?

Unfortunately, we see all too often that an association’s system has been cobbled together over the years with different vendors, in-house Excel spreadsheets and other systems. As Cool Hand Luke might say, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” The result of the hodgepodge of technology increases the risks of having different data in different places and struggling with determining which place has the most current data.

Even if you “freeze” all additional systems before you move the data and try to make sure that no changes are being made on any other systems, you’ll discover (painfully) that as soon as unsynchronized changes happen, you again run into version control issues. This can be particularly troublesome when you have multiple administrative users in different systems.

So the best solution is having all of your collection process in a self-contained system that automatically keeps everything synchronized and up to date. Even better is if the system is optimized to work with your final outputs, whether that’s print, CD, flash drive or online.

We’ve seen these types of communication issues cause delays, frustration and even event-day crises because the parts of the abstract collection system didn’t talk to each other. What’s your worst Cool Hand Luke story about using multiple systems, and how did you fix it?