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Abila netFORUM Pro

Last Updated: May 21, 2015 03:20PM EDT
In 2014, Abila announced that Higher Logic is the recommended vendor for community management solutions for netFORUM customers. netFORUM customers should already be familiar with Higher Logic's software as it is the platform powering the Abila Users Group (AUG) site.

The integration between netFORUM Pro and Higher Logic drives object creation on your Higher Logic community site from the vast amount of member data that you already track in netFORUM to ensure that your members interact with the most up-to-date data, boosting member participation, collaboration and retention.

After the integration is in place, it is not necessary to complete any additional work to ensure that the data reflected on your community site remains synchronized with netFORUM. The periodic check of changed records in netFORUM (Periodic Refresh) coupled with a comprehensive refresh of each updated record (Member Refresh) yields a robustly integrated ecosystem.

The Higher Logic-netFORUM Pro integration has several integration points to create a robust experience for your community members. The integration is accomplished by calling netFORUM’s xWeb Services, which returns data from netFORUM Pro to Higher Logic. The integration does not require assistance from Abila, and the only charge from Abila should be for an additional production xWeb User license.

netFORUM Pro does not support true Single-Sign-On (SSO). However, it does allow members to log in to your community site using the same username and password stored in netFORUM, reducing the need for multiple passwords.

Profile & Demographic Data
netFORUM is your database of record. The Higher Logic integration generates profiles on your community site based on member data that is already in netFORUM, including name, job title, company, address, email, phone, and profile picture. A member may change their information by using the netFORUM eWeb My Account pages; for data objects synced to Higher Logic, edit links on your community site will be directed to those eWeb pages. Using your existing member self-service pages means you are not paying for someone to re-create functionality you already have. Plus, any customizations you have made (or will make in the future) only need to be done in one place - netFORUM.

Custom Demographics
There are other demographic items you may want to sync from netFORUM that are stored on a member’s profile using Custom Demographic Data Fields in netFORUM Pro. Custom Demographic Data Fields can be added to record information such as special needs, education level, etc; the data fields can be check boxes, text boxes, drop-down lists, or even multi-select fields. Once set up in netFORUM Pro, these custom demographics can be synced to Higher Logic for multiple uses on your community site, such as an enhanced member directory.

Community Groups
Membership to community groups drives participation via the many features of your community site, including discussions, libraries and blogs. Membership to netFORUM-integrated communities is determined by data in netFORUM. Traditionally, only members of a specific community may view that community's associated discussion and library. Chapters, sections, committees and event registrants in netFORUM can each have a dedicated community for which members are automatically added and removed based on their terms.

Security Groups
Security Groups can be thought of as “roles” and are a powerful tool for limiting viewing and access to navigation and content items on your community site. Users can belong to more than one security group. Out of the box, your site will be configured with four Security Groups:
  1. Public – A user who is not logged in.
  2. Authenticated – A user who is logged in (regardless of member status).
  3. IsMember – A user whose security group(s) grant member status in Higher Logic. Those with IsMember privileges also belong to the Authenticated security group. *Content and functionality is routinely protected to members as a benefit of membership.
  4. HLAdmin – Global administrators (SuperAdmins) with universal access and editing privileges. These users are designated within Higher Logic (not netFORUM).
During implementation the groups that make up the IsMember group will be defined. This can be based on the member flags on the individual’s record in netFORUM or member products purchased by the individual or their company. Organizations with multiple membership types or roles can represent these by syncing additional security groups. The most common of these is the “Staff” security group for employees of the organization. Others include “Associate Member” or “Student Member.” Security groups can also be used to assign members badges or ribbons.

Member Refresh
It is important that members' profiles and groups stay up-to-date on the community site when changes are made in netFORUM.  Thus, a member's data will be completely refreshed in Higher Logic on 2 occasions: upon the member logging in to the community site and during a periodic refresh. The periodic refresh runs every 30 minutes, but may be scheduled for a different interval based on your organization’s needs.

Event Calendar
The calendar of events on your community site can include meetings synced from netFORUM. netFORUM event products synced to Higher Logic can be limited to selected event type codes. Synced events are refreshed at the same interval as the periodic refresh.

Higher Logic Test Instance
While most AMS companies supply a test instance of their application, it is not needed for a Higher Logic community site. netFORUM is your database of record - all member data on your community site will come from there. Moreover, your community site launch will likely be several weeks after the integration is completed so you will have time to review and fix any data issues. If you wish to have a separate test instance of your community site, please note that the fees to do so are similar to the fees of your production site.

Conversion from MemberFuse
It is possible to move data from a MemberFuse community to a Higher Logic community. Abila provides two standard exports of data from MemberFuse at no charge: an initial export for testing and a final export. These exports do not include resource library files. Higher Logic charges a one-time migration fee to import library data to Higher Logic.
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