Technology & the Institute

By Robert A. Biehl, CCIFP, Chairman

As I focus my year as Chairman of the Institute on continuous improvement, what better area to look for ways to become more user-friendly and efficient than the Institute’s use of technology?

Both candidates and certificate holders often report that the technologies related to the exam application and recertification processes are difficult to use. So, over the past nine months, the Institute’s Executive Committee has reviewed software packages with the ultimate goal of improving and streamlining processes involved with certification, certificate holders, and within the Institute. We have found our software solution with a product called LearningBuilder.

This software is designed to provide a consistent and user-friendly interface. For example, a bright orange button is the system-wide cue for the user to take action. It will also inform candidates whether the requisite amount of work experience and professional development credits has been achieved.

Here is a brief overview of how the new technology will improve various processes:

Exam Application
Applicants will have an improved user experience with easy-to-follow instructions and prompts alerting them as to whether they are successfully meeting the eligibility requirements. They will also now have the option to upload their picture while completing the application. A candidate will also be able to save application information in case he or she is interrupted during the process. (With the current system, it’s an all-or-nothing scenario.)

Recertification
Each CCIFP will have access to a dashboard that will show the status of recertification activities, immediate next steps, and notifications. The certification maintenance application will list and organize all requirements to maintain certification to ensure that CCIFPs complete each section correctly. The software will also allow CCIFPs to upload their CPE certificates and maintain a library. If, for example, you attend an event for which you receive both construction-specific and general credits, you will be able to reference the singular digital image you upload for both entries.

Automation
LearningBuilder will provide an administration interface that will eliminate current manual procedures. For example, CCIFPs who exceed their 72 required credits each triennial period can have up to 12 credits carried forward. The new software will identify those who are eligible and, once approved by the Executive Director, will perform the carry-forward within the software.

The ICCIFP will also be able to determine how many applications are incomplete and where the candidate left off. This will allow us to follow up with candidates and determine if they need assistance in completing the application. Currently, we are only notified once someone has fully completed an application and paid. The software will also provide a list of all completed applications and a summary as to whether each candidate appears to have successfully met the examination criteria (currently performed manually).

The ability to automate communications and reminders will also save time and money, which is anticipated to more than cover the software’s annual fee.

Implementation Process
The ultimate objective of the software is to create an enjoyable, positive, and user-friendly experience with the ICCIFP.

As the software is implemented over the summer, we anticipate transitional issues. We will e-mail updates to all CCIFPs during the conversion process and upon implementation. We appreciate your patience and welcome your thoughts on to how we can improve this current software implementation or other opportunities. We are excited about the software and how it will continue to push the Institute forward and make it a better organization.


Copyright © 2015 by the Construction Financial Management Association. All rights reserved. This article first appeared in CFMA Building Profits. Reprinted with permission.
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