A Membership and Conference and Event Management System for EACTS, a leading European association of surgeons

About the Client

EACTS (The European Association for Cardiothoracic Surgery), was founded in 1986 as an organisation devoted to the practice of cardiothoracic.  It has members all across the globe including surgeons, perfusionists and allied health professionals.

The mission of the association is to advance education in its highly specialised field, also to promote research into the related physiology, pathology and therapy, with the aim of correlating and disseminating the results for the public benefit.

The association has an academy that offers high-quality educational programmes to suit a range of levels, from trainee experienced surgeons.  It publishes three journals and maintains a quality improvement programme to facilitate continuing professional education.

A summary of the opportunity and problem solved

The association hosts the largest annual conference of its kind for surgeons, perfusionists and allied health professionals focussing on scientific developments and research.  2017 was the 31st event.  The association also hosts smaller events and educational/training programs throughout the year.  All events can be attended by non-members.

To organise its programme, the association originally used a third-party event management system.  The system was complex to use and the association, its members and the participants all experienced difficulties.  Modifications and customizations specific to the association’s needs were difficult to implement and the licensing and subscription costs were high.

These difficulties were compounded by a growing unwillingness of the major pharmaceutical sponsors to support the conference and events, mainly due to increasingly stringent disclosure norms adopted by the EFPIA (a body of industry associations and pharmaceutical companies in Europe).

The association, therefore, decided to conceptualise, design and develop a bespoke event management system that catered for its requirements and those of similar associations.  The system once developed and in use, could also be used by other associations, thus introducing a new revenue stream.

Gislen Software has collaborated with the association for the requirements, design, development and launch of the new system.  An 18-month partnership has been established and is continuing.

 A summary of the solution

The new event management system was conceptualised in close consultation with the association’s business and technical stakeholders.  The requirements were discussed, iterated and re-iterated.  The user experience was prototyped and designed.  Over a series of sprints, the new system incorporates an impressive feature list including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Manage members and memberships
    The Association can manage members, create and assign membership types, assign privileges and create and assign fee structures. Members can manage their membership, pay membership fees through a variety of payment mechanisms, and keep up-to-date with events and conferences.  Members can manage their profile and data through the “My profile” feature.
    Conferences and events
    The association can schedule and publish conferences and events. The conference and events calendars can also be published.  Members and non-members can be invited to view these and encouraged to register.
  • Conference and event registration
    Members and non-members can register and pay the registration fees (depending on member/non-member category) through a variety of payment mechanisms. A designated group representative can register groups through a group registration feature.  The Association can also register members and non-members to its conferences and events.  Exhibitors can register for the conferences and events, understand terms and conditions and register their participants.
  • Fee structures and taxation
    The fee structure and fees can vary based on member category. Early registration discounts can be promoted.  Fee units for sessions that can be attended can be assigned.  Fees take into consideration taxation inputs, based on both the registrant’s country of domicile and the conference/event’s country of hosting.  Registration fees can be transferred to another registrant if the initial registrant cannot attend.  Registrants can view and print invoices.
  • Dashboards
    Different users of the system have a bird’s eye view through a customized dashboard.
  • Advanced search
    The system admin can define the search criteria. The admin can select/de-select various parameters to refine the search results.  Association users can carry out advanced searches and save and export the search results.
  • Print badges
    Badges can be printed for the registrants based on a barcode and/or registrant identification.
  • Reporting and Intelligence
    The system includes a comprehensive reporting module for the benefit of the Association and members. Data can be collated and reports can be presented for various business use cases.

The new conference, meeting and event management system was developed in an agile model at Gislen Chennai.  The team was multi-skilled with an average team size of five.

 Benefits gained and business value delivered

The new conference, meeting and event management system was launched in June 2017 and was in active use for the 31st edition of the annual conference which was held in October 2017.  Over 28,000 users (members and non-members) have been migrated from the old system and enhancements to the new system are ongoing.

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