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Membership database goes live

MEMSYS, the ICE's new membership database is now up and running, going live in time to meet its crucial late September deadline. The system will be used to produce approaching 80,000 subscription notices which feature over 2,000 variants.

Described by finance director Ian Powney as 'a quantum leap for the ICE', the system is believed to be the largest ever step change in the ICE's internal processes.

Records on 77,000 ICE members plus 14 associated societies will be held on the system, with the information far exceeding standard mailing details. All members will be asked questions regarding their career and interests through a questionnaire to be included with the subscription notice.

One application for this will be to enable the local associations and learned societies to target their audience better, and to inform them of last minute changes to meetings and conferences via e-mail.

The project has proved to be extremely complex, and external project management was brought in to ensure there would be no repetition of the problems that plagued the previous system ICECOLD - abandoned after two and a half years of development at the cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The external project management, combined with extra user training, has led to extra costs of ú99,000 on top of the ú485,000 already spent on the project.

But Powney feels the expense has been justified by the system's fully operational delivery, with a completely new software module developed from scratch, within one month of its original delivery date.

A new data protection policy has been announced at Council, aligning the ICE's systems - including MEMSYS - with the Data Protection Act 1998 which came into force in March.

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