Letter from iLab's Director of Product Strategy:
The Benefits of a Network Landing Page
To gain a competitive edge and allow for more efficient research and collaboration, many institutions are now joining inter-institutional (or partner) networks where they share resources, knowledge, and funding. To help these networks give their collaborating researchers a consistent and easily accessible experience, iLab now offers the ability to add an institution within iLab to an iLab "Partner Network."
In recent years, more and more funding agencies, including the NIH, have taken notice of the possibility for such networks and are actively encouraging collaborations across more investigators, disciplines, and institutions. Fortunately, iLab's network landing pageserves as an excellent way to promote and facilitate this collaboration. This page gives its visitors easy access to all available resources within the network. As facility managers use tools such as iLab's Core Facility Management platform to centralize management, a single landing page becomes a great way to foster interaction between facilities and researchers.
We are excited to offer this option to our facility managers. If you are interested in learning more about network landing pages, please do not hesitate to reach out to an iLab associate.
Director of Product Strategy
New Ticketing System for iLab Support
iLab Support is implementing a new ticketing system for its customers powered by TeamSupport. TeamSupport provides a number of tools, which will allow us to provide more efficient and effective support to our customers. The new system brings 3 key upgrades:
1. Keep relevant information in one place: iLab's Support team will have a greater ability to combine emails and tickets received from a user regarding the same topic. Now, tickets and follow up emails can be combined into one ticket, making it easier for Support to quickly address the issue. Users will also have access to this streamlined ticket.
2. Automated responses: TeamSupport brings many automation functions to keep the support process moving smoothly. For example, if the Support team needs more information on a ticket and the user has not responded for a certain time, TeamSupport will automatically remind the user to send the necessary information.
3. Generate better metrics and reports: TeamSupport provides better reporting on many facets of the support system. This includes detailing the time a ticket has spent with a specific status, as well as tracking the level of urgency and most recent communications for support tickets.
All together, these features improve the processes of the Support team, meaning any issues you encounter are resolved as quickly as possible. Look for these changes coming soon! For more information, please check out our guide on leaving a support ticket.
It's That Time of Year! 2016 Benchmarking Study Survey Available
Part of kicking of another great year at iLab entails opening the annual Benchmarking Study Survey to core managers. We invite you to take a few moments and fill out the survey, which may be found here. The results will be shared later this year.
Thank you in advance for making this project such a success every year!
New Features Coming Soon!
1. Department Maintained Funds: With this feature, department level administrators can add fund numbers directly to iLab and assign those numbers to labs of Principal Investigators. From there, lab administrators can assign the funds to lab members and approve usage while department administrators maintain the ability to track the usage of that fund through reporting as well as view relevant invoices. Please note that this feature requires integration.
2. Refunds: iLab adds the ability to easily enter refunds on final invoices. All administrators with access to the invoice will be able to see the refunds with a link to the original charge for quick access. Please note that this feature may require review with the institution's financial team to see if refunded charges are accepted.
3. Conditional Reservations: For cores featuring equipment that allows users to set different configurations, the core can now indicate when that equipment will be set to meet those configurations in our scheduling tool. This allows a researcher with specific requirements to see exactly when the equipment will be available to meet his or her needs.
4. Flagging Reservations: With this update, reservations with errors or missing data are flagged for an administrator's approval before the reservation ever gets to the billing process. Once flagged, the issue must be resolved by the administrator before billing can be completed. Core administration can configure which errors should be flagged.
5. Equipment Settings: Creating or updating a scheduling resource, such as a piece of equipment, is an essential part of managing a core laboratory in iLab. As such, iLab has redesigned the process of creating or updating scheduling resources, making it even easier and faster than before. Specifically, iLab has reorganized and simplified the scheduling resource editor, and added a searchable index of options and supporting help text.
Animal Management Update
iLab is in the process of developing a simple but robust Animal Management Module. To ensure that we are designing this module to flexibly meet the needs of a variety of facilities, we are building this product in stages and in collaboration with a number of customer partners.
The first milestone for this product line was a central Protocols Management component on which we have completed the first round of development. While this feature is not intended to replace full institutional protocol management systems, it is built to store the particular sets of data that core facilities and principal investigators will need to reference in the course of their daily workflows and processes. With this feature in place, iLab can receive an input file containing approved protocols or approved protocols can be manually entered into iLab. Core Managers and researchers can then associate approved protocols when placing service requests.
The next milestone, Animal Acquisition, is underway and with a completion anticipated within the next few months. This component will allow researchers to place requests for animals, based on their approved protocols, and the facility administrator can review and approve the request and place the order to the vendor. We are currently building the workflow for ordering animals from "Approved Sources," typically common commercial vendors. As part of this build, we will be integrating searchable catalogs from some of the most widely-used research animal suppliers and will also allow for the inclusion of institution-specific vendor pricing. In addition, we have begun building workflows for ordering animals from "Non-Approved Sources" and for transferring animals between different protocols.
The third milestone will be Animal Housing and Census which will be linked to the Animal Acquisition component and will also tie directly into the existing iLab billing module.
New Helpsite Available for Core Facility Users!
iLab has developed a new online helpsite to help researchers find answers on how to access and best utilize the iLab system.
The site is being developed in phases with phase I being directed toward Core Facility Customers and Lab Administrators. Over time we will publish more articles to help the broader iLab user base, including core facility administrators as well as institution and network-level administrators. Pages created to help core facility members will go live within the next few weeks.
Check out http://help.ilabsolutions.com/
New Server Status Site
The Support team has developed a new page to share updates with customers during system outages or major feature bugs. Additionally, notifications for any planned downtime will be shared on this page. The new server status site can be found at http://status.ilabsolutions.com/
This site can also be found on the new helpsite by simply clicking the "System Status" button at the top of the page.
Registration Now Open!!!
We are excited to announce that the 2016 iLab / CORES User Group Conference will be held at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, OR on March 21-23, 2016. Registration is now open!!!
Institution Administrators and Core Facility Directors and Managers from the 130+ institutions that use iLab and CORES platforms are invited to join us for networking, learning about new features and best practices, and providing input into the future development of the iLab software.
More information, including how to register, can be found at: www.ilabsolutions.com/user-group-conference-2016.
We look forward to seeing you there!!