5 Reasons to Use a Configurable Abstract Management System

Associations are in constant evolution, as influences like technological advances, research best practices, and industry standards change the way business is done. Your association doesn’t operate the same way it did 20 years ago, and it shouldn’t. Paying attention to the industry and remaining flexible is essential to your association’s survival.

The same is true of the process you use to choose presenters for your annual meeting. Your call for papers has changed over the years, and a one-size-fits-all system doesn’t cut it anymore.

Abstract management systems fall into three categories:

  1. An out-of-the-box system that is cost-effective but Oftentimes, this type of system is built by an association staff member to fill a need. On a basic level, the system gets the job done, but it can be “clunky” and frustrating to use.
  2. A custom system that is built with your association’s process in mind. This interface is easy to use and the system does exactly what you want it to do. After all, it was made for you! But that customization comes at a steep price, which many association budgets can’t accommodate.
  3. An affordable system that performs basic functions well and is easy for submitters, reviewers, and association staff to use. The system can be configured to add flexibility and work with an association’s unique process. There are limits to the configuration that’s available, but most associations get the level of personalization they need without the high cost of a customized system.

As we have learned from our customers, associations needed the third option, which offers flexibility without breaking your budget. We made a conscious decision to pivot our abstract management system in this direction so we can help associations find that perfect balance.

How can a configurable abstract management system help? You can …

  1. Make the system fit your process—not the other way around. Each association is different. Your abstract management process won’t look the same as another organization’s, even within the same industry. Your system should be able to adjust.
  2. Bring us your challenges and we’ll suggest configurations that work for you. The Omnipress team is continually revising its best practices, based on feedback from your association and others. What works best is a fluid concept. Are you struggling with an aspect of the system? Bring it to us and we’ll work on creating a better fit. Once we do, other associations can also benefit from your insight.
  3. Help create a process that’s easier for submitters and reviewers to use. We know that if an abstract management system isn’t simple and straight-forward, you’re going to hear about it from other users. And since we work with meeting professionals like you every day, we know how frustrating this can be for you. When the submission and review processes are smooth, your phone may not ring quite as often. We’re pretty sure you’d be okay with that.
  4. Save time and frustration. Is there a part of the abstract management that seems clunky to you? Let us know. Maybe there’s a workaround that makes sense, or a tweak we can make that simplifies the task. We want you to be as pleased as possible with the system and we’ll do what we can to save you from hassle.
  5. Use the system for other purposes. What works for abstracts can also work for posters, awards, grant applications, and anything else that needs to be collected in an organized way. Once you understand the ins and outs of the system, you can use that knowledge to simplify other work that your association does.

Omnipress responds to customer needs to make the system better for everyone, and to customize your experience to fit your needs and the challenges your submitters and reviewers bring to you. To see the system in action, try our abstract management system demo. But remember—nothing is written in stone. Just like your association, the Omnipress abstract management team welcomes change.

How to Get More Out of Your Abstract Management System

You know how important it is to choose appropriate, relevant, and interesting content to feature at your association’s annual meeting. You likely spent a lot of time and energy to carefully select the right abstract management system for your conference—one that matches your collection and review process, and is user-friendly for submitters and reviewers.

But did you know that you can make your abstract management system work even harder for you? Think beyond your conference to get the most out of your abstract management investment. Truth is, you can use it for just about anything your association needs to collect and manage.

Several of our customers use our abstract management system for purposes other than, well, managing abstracts. One group uses the system to make nominations to its board of directors; another collected grant applications. Many associations, however, use our system for only final paper collection.

Bentley Systems, Inc. (BSI) worked with Omnipress to collect and manage award submissions, and in the process, they built excitement and increased engagement before and during their conference.

Read BSI’s complete story—download the case study! Let us know what you think! Comment below or contact us.

7 Customizations to Make Your Abstract Management System Better for Reviewers

Reviewers—You gotta love ‘em. Truly! You have to give them credit for their work.

Thank goodness they take time out of their busy schedules as industry professionals to seriously consider and evaluate submissions to your association’s annual meeting. If your association has a reputation for presenting compelling content at its conferences, it’s not difficult to see the role reviewers play in bringing that quality and interesting information to light. They are the sieve through which abstracts must go; they separate the wheat from the chaff.

In part to keep these important individuals happy and satisfied, and in part to make the review process painless enough that they will volunteer to do it again next year, you have chosen an abstract management system that is easy to use, efficient, and fully realized, with tools like forms and guidelines to evaluate submissions.

You did choose an abstract management that makes life easier for reviewers who donate their time and talent to making your conference content the best it can be … didn’t you?

If not, there’s no need to fret. Omnipress can help you customize your abstract management system to be reviewer-friendly.

  1. Helpful forms and scoring requirements: Grading papers objectively is hard enough when you’re the only person doing the evaluation. When your reviewers take on this task as a group, they need some direction to meet your expectations.
  2. Abstract assignments: Reviewers are happy to dive in to the abstracts that are under their umbrella … but that can take forever to do if you have to manually assign each of them. With Omnipress’ system, you can choose how abstracts are distributed among reviewers: randomly, by a prescribed set of criteria (chosen by your association), or, if you’d rather handle it yourself, manually.
  3. Clear process: Does your association do multiple rounds of review? The system is easy to use; its clean appearance will ensure that reviewers don’t get lost in the weeds.
  4. Rolling review: Want to kick off your review early? Implement the lockbox, in which abstracts are “locked” for review as soon as they are submitted. As soon as a paper is in, the review can start for that submission, which can move the process along smoothly.
  5. File flexibility: Omnipress supports a wide variety of formats for submissions; Word documents and PDFs are just the beginning. Submitters may also include images, videos, and other supporting documents.
  6. Dedicated support: Did a reviewer forget their username or password? No problem! Just have the reviewer click the Support button in the top right corner of the screen and Omnipress will take care of the problem during business hours.
  7. Established best practices: We have worked with hundreds of associations with abstract management and review. With all of that experience under our belt and with dedicated project managers ready to help you customize the system to match your process, we have sussed out the best practices and can help you optimize your results while making the process easier for submitters, reviewers, and association staff alike.

If you’ve been treating your sponsors, exhibitors, and vendor partners more favorably than your reviewers, you might want to reconsider that position. They volunteer their time, they make your conference better, and they ask for nothing in return. Out of respect for their sacrifice and appreciation for their service, you can give them the gift that keeps on giving—an abstract management system that is efficient, easy to use, and hassle-free.

To see Omnipress’ abstract management system in action, sign up for a demo! The intuitive system will streamline your process and keep your reviewers happy.

Technical Support for Abstract Submitters, Courtesy of Omnipress

If you manage your association’s call for papers, you may be used to getting a lot of questions. Your four-year-old’s game of “Why?” is the only conversation more frustrating than sending out a fourth password change email to a submitter.

It’s enough to make you wonder whether there’s a better way to go about managing submissions. Good news! There is: work with Omnipress for abstract management.

Take care of your submitters—and yourself. When you work with Omnipress, we handle the technical support for the abstract management system. Submitters can submit a request for support within the system; you don’t have to be the go-between. That leaves you time to take care of other conference planning tasks. We know you’ve got dozens of those on your list!

In a case study, Conference Manager Jill Schmitz of Wisconsin Union expressed the relief she experienced when Omnipress took over technical questions:

 

The amount of time I’ve spent on abstract management has been reduced by 90%. I used to get 20-30 emails a day for each conference (with about six conferences each year doing collection) with submission and layout questions. Maybe 70% of those emails are gone now, and the ones I do get are about the conference itself, not the collection system.

 

Sounds good, right? You can get similar results for yourself and your association. Your dedicated project manager will help make abstract management easier for you at every step. Our technical support team does the same for your submitters.

Superior customer service is the cornerstone of Omnipress’ success. Our people are the best answer to the question, “Why Omnipress?”

Contact us today to set up a personalized demo to address your current abstract management frustrations. Once you make the call, relief will be underway!

Back-to-School Sales & Abstract Management

Every year, back-to-school sales seem to hit stores earlier. (The same could be said for holiday merchandise. Don’t get me started.) As hard as it is to admit that summer is winding down, all signs—particularly those in store windows—point towards fall.

Back-to-school shopping is the bellwether of pumpkin-flavored everything; similarly, your association’s selection of an abstract management provider signals the start of a new conference cycle.

Abstract management is the beginning of the process, and if you do it right, you’ll make it easier to manage your outputs as well. As I’ve written before, abstract management is everything!

What do you need from an abstract management system? Is your current provider getting it done? If you have been trying to direct the project from your inbox (in other words, you use email and attachments to manage the process), do you ever wonder if there’s a better way?

Answering these questions will shape your whole conference, not just your call for papers, review process, and collection of final presentations. A comprehensive system can solve problems you didn’t even know you had, with resources like a drag-and-drop scheduling tool and an upload tool that accepts all types of files, of any size.

For the best abstract management experience, make sure that collection is the first step of many—not a one-and-done scenario—with the same vendor. Once your conference content is all in one place, housed in a single system, the time comes to create outputs: printed programs, for example, and online conference materials, USBs, and a conference app.

If you handle those outputs with different providers (whether that means one provider that manages all outputs or—for more headaches—a separate vendor for each), you basically have to start over. You would have to download materials from the abstract management system and distributing them to your vendors to prepare the outputs.

That’s like buying all of the school supplies for your to-be-4th grader, only to learn that you grabbed the 5th grade list for a different school by mistake. Why take that extra step? And why take the steps that follow, communicating with multiple vendors to handle the same set of content?

Omnipress can help you with conference content every step of the way, from your initial call for papers, to outputs like printed and online conference materials, to creating a digital archive with a digital publishing platform. Keep your content under one roof, handled by a team that knows how to communicate with each other and make things easier for you.

Before you take your 12-year-old shopping for a back-to-school wardrobe (good luck!), talk with Omnipress to learn more about our abstract management system. That way, you can get your conference content off to the same great start your kid(s) will have this fall.

Abstract Management That Meets Everyone’s Needs

When you think about how to handle your association’s next call for papers, consider the experience of all three groups that will use an abstract management system: submitters, reviewers, and staff.

Too often, a system is built for one type of user, which means that it can be headache for others to get the job done.

Using email to respond to a call for paper is easy for a submitter, because there is just one message to send. Reviewers might have a hard time keeping track of their responsibilities in a sea of other emails.

A “home-grown” abstract management system, on the other hand, might have an intuitive user interface for reviewers, but require complicated work-arounds and double entry for the association staff. After all, your IT staff only has so much time to devote to building that system, so any back-end tasks may fall into the “nice to have” category.

When you begin with the end in mind, you build a system that works for everyone—submitters, reviewers, and you. Omnipress’ Abstract Management and Paper Collection System has enviable features for all types of users.

Submitters appreciate:

  • Format flexibility: Upload any type of file of any size.
  • Start now, submit later: Authors can begin a submission, save a draft, and come back later to finish it.
  • Technical support: Omnipress project managers can field questions about the submission process so you don’t have to.

Reviewers love:

  • Clean design: If the same reviewers come back year after year, they’ll recognize the streamlined system they enjoyed using last year.
  • Review forms: Guidelines for scoring, found in the same system where the submissions live.
  • Rolling review: The system can be set up to “seal” submissions after they come in, so reviewers can get started as soon as the first author’s abstract is received.

You’ll be happy about:

  • Custom fields: Ask for what you need up front and skip the follow-up. Ask for bios, pictures, and even A/V requirements as part of the submission process.
  • Seamless communication: The onboard email platform includes helpful templates to remind submitters about outstanding drafts and reviewers to complete scoring by the deadline.
  • Simple scheduling: Drag and drop the accepted presentations right into the scheduling tool! If you work with us for your printed program, too, we’ll have most of what we need without extra work on your part.

Choose an abstract management system that appeals to ALL users! Omnipress has your submitters, reviewers, and association staff covered. To see the system in action, try the demo!

Get Help with Abstract Management: Meet the Team!

No matter which abstract management system you use, it can be complicated to learn. When you first get started—and maybe for weeks, months, and years after that—, you’re going to need some help.

Ideally, that help will come in the form of a dedicated project manager who will work with you every step of the way and be your contact person with questions and any issues that may arise. A dedicated project manager understands your association and your specific situation. They can set up your system to reflect the way you handle abstract management, adding custom fields and setting up a multi-step review process, or keeping the procedure as simple as possible for final paper collection.

You work closely with the project manager and come up with the best course of action for your association. When the two of you develop a strong working relationship, communication becomes easier and more open. Based on post-job surveys and case studies, it’s clear that meeting planners like you value the personalized customer service that dedicated project managers provide.

Omnipress’ team includes three project managers who specialize in abstract management: Brandon Butzler, Jill Taylor, and John Hinch (left to right, pictured above). Each of them brings unique skills and talent to the team, but they have one goal in common—a smooth abstract management experience for you.

They know the system inside out and can explain procedures to you in plain English, not tech-speak, so you can learn how to handle challenges on your own. Or, if you prefer, you can delegate tasks to them.

They can help you make sense of custom reports, help you set up forms to collect all the information you need from a submitter, teach you how to contact reviewers through the on-board email system, and much more. They’re here to help you with anything abstract management that’s troubling you.

Do you have a story about how Brandon, Jill, or John helped you with abstract management? Share your story in a comment below!

For a Better Conference, Schedule Early and Often

As you begin your preparations for your next meeting, take stock of the tools you have at your disposal. Really look at every aspect of the conference with fresh eyes and try to determine if there’s a simple solution hidden in a system you’ve used for years, or if a different system provides enough relief to justify making a change.

For example, is there a scheduler built into a tool you use? If you, like many conference planners, follow a schedule, it can be helpful to know how you can manage your time, using which tool(s). If you have a favorite time management tool to recommend, share it in the comments!

Scheduling your time helps you keep consistent with everything from setting goals, like making time to exercise, to making sure you take breaks. We’ve all accidentally worked through lunch because distractions wouldn’t stop bombarding us from every conceivable direction.

The same is true for the schedule you set up for your association’s annual meeting. Taking the time to set aside time for networking, a common goal for many attendees, as well as ample breaks for coffee and meals, is part of keeping your annual meeting on track.

Of course, the educational sessions are the meat of your conference. Working out that part of the schedule is the most challenging, with so many moving pieces in play. Your trusty spreadsheet may help immensely with this task, but you have to wonder: Is there a better way?

Omnipress’ abstract management and paper collection system has the solution you didn’t even know you needed. Once abstracts have been submitted, reviewed, and accepted, the scheduling tool makes it easy to build your best meeting. The simple drag-and-drop interface lets you look at the schedule and switch things around quickly.

To make it even easier, start using the scheduling tool as early as possible. You can set up those breaks, networking receptions, and other events, like a 5K Run/Walk, and build the sessions around those known quantities. Before you know it, you’ll have crafted a well-balanced, exciting annual meeting, no spreadsheet required.

To learn more about the abstract management and paper collection system, try our free demo!

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.

The Sum of your Conference Content, Starting with Abstract Management, is Greater than the Parts

Conference planners like you handle countless tasks on a day-to-day basis. Each time you check off an item on your long to-do list, you come a little bit closer to a meaningful, successful conference for your association’s members.

It’s easy to think of these tasks as a single, independent line item to be accomplished and forgotten. In terms of conference content, though, it’s helpful to consider everything you do to be part of a larger, ongoing process.

The conference content process begins with abstract management and paper collection. With Omnipress’ system, you can create custom fields to make sure you collect all of the information you need from submitters up front. Go beyond the abstract to make life easier for yourself, and your submitters as well. When you ask for everything you will need once a speaker is selected, you don’t have to worry about following up with the submitter for additional information.

Besides avoiding the run-around, asking for all required information up front solves another problem: creating your outputs. Omnipress can help you set up your abstract management system to collect information, like metadata (title, keywords, and description), that set your association up for an easier process in creating outputs, like a conference content website.

Omnipress offers both abstract management and a wide variety of conference outputs, including conference printing, online conference materials, conference apps, and USBs. Partner with us for all of your conference content needs to make every step of the process easier. Internal communication among Omnipress team members keeps things moving; you won’t have to explain your association’s needs all over again every time you reach out to someone to talk about conference content. Start with abstract management and follow through to all the outputs your association offers—print, mobile, online, and/or physical digital media (USBs, CDs, and DVDs).

Today’s takeaway: Change your mindset about conference content. Once you start to consider the tasks that fall under that umbrella as parts of a whole, handled from abstract management to final outputs with a single vendor, you’ll see how simple it can be to bring your association’s important content to attendees.

Event Content Life Hack: Begin with Collection

Everyone needs help making life a little easier. We read articles about life hacks, how to save time and money, and work/life balance. In the office and out, we have become obsessed with making the most of our time.

When it comes to your annual meeting, there’s an easy solution that goes a long way to simplify the collection, review, and distribution of event content. Work with Omnipress for your entire event content process, from the initial call for papers through all of the outputs your association offers—conference printing, a mobile event app, posters, CDs/USBs, and/or an event content website.

This event content hack—working with Omnipress for collection—makes life easier for both your association and for us.

We have processes and teams in place to take care of your project from start to finish. We have configured our company to handle just this issue—what we do best is meet all of your event content needs under one roof.

More importantly, beginning with collection and continuing through distribution with Omnipress is easy for you, too. You have one vendor to call when you have questions or problems to address. Internal communication between Omnipress employees means you don’t have to be responsible for keeping the teams on the same page, literally or figuratively.

There are plenty of reasons to choose Omnipress for collection on its own merits. Our system is easy to navigate and user-friendly for all parties—submitters, reviewers, and association staff.

  • Collect all types of files and get the information you need from potential speakers upfront, including not only the abstracts or papers, but also bios, photos, release forms, A/V requirements, and more.
  • Control your review process with a configurable system that allows you to manually or automatically assign submissions to reviewers. You can also create review forms to help codify the scoring system your reviewers use.
  • Manage the collection process at the association level. You can decide which fields and data you wish to use, communicate with submitters and reviewers within the system, create custom reports, and create a schedule based on the excepted presentations.

It’s not too late to streamline your event content process. Step 1: Trust Omnipress to handle event content delivery for your association, beginning with collection. It’s a life hack that can have a real impact on your day-to-day activities.

Visit Omnipress at ASAE Tech!

Next week, Omnipress will exhibit at ASAE’s Technology Conference & Expo. The event, which will take place December 15-17, is held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Steve Manicor, Vice President of Business Development, and Sean Lawler, Product Director – Digital Services, will represent Omnipress.

We invite you to stop by booth 200 next week to speak with Steve and Sean. (For the schedule, including expo hours, click here.) In addition to be great conversations and free white papers, the Omnipress team will be providing fun giveaways, like all-in-one tools and portable phone chargers.

Come to booth 200 with questions about your association content delivery, whether you’re interested in digital or analog products. You can talk to Steve and Sean about:

  • Online abstract collection & speaker management: It all starts with collection. With our system, it’s easy to submit, review, and manage submissions. Moving forward to content outputs is streamlined when you begin with collection.
  • Online event services: Offer attendees the opportunity to connect with your event content where they already spend so much of their time—online.
  • Mobile event apps: The vast majority of your attendees carry smartphones or tablets. Make sure your association has some of the valuable real estate available, in the palms of your attendees’ hands.
  • Scientific posters: Omnipress can collect and print your posters, as well as provide online access to attendees and members.
  • Conference printing: Kick it old-school with a printed program. Surveys have shown that attendees of all ages appreciate reading educational materials in print.
  • CDs/USBs: Physical digital media helps associations—and attendees—bridge the gap between print and online resources. Besides, who doesn’t like a useful giveaway?
  • Anything else event content delivery that’s been on your mind!

Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for posts during ASAE Tech, a.k.a. #tech14. We hope to see you there!