Join the PCS digital discussion

Nick McCarthy, PCS head of digital projects, outlines how this year we’re moving to fully integrate our database and our communications systems on cutting-edge digital technology and explains how you can get involved

In 2018, PCS will be introducing cutting-edge digital technology. This blog post is intended to give you an introduction to what is being planned and let you know how you can get involved; by completing this survey; and join our discussion and testing group by emailing digitalprojects@pcs.org.uk

In 2017, PCS decided to make a revolutionary change to its technology. Our database Commix is over a decade old, and urgently needs replacing or updating. But we decided, rather than go for an updated version of Commix, we’d move to fully integrate our database and our communications systems on cutting-edge digital technology.

The challenges should not be underestimated. We are developing the skills of staff so that much of this work is being delivered in-house, giving us control over the applications and developing trade union-specific applications. It has been a steep learning curve, and the work has been juggled with the demands of continuing with our everyday work. However, the preparatory work has now been completed and we are ready to start developing and testing new digital applications.

Last year we built a parallel digital database and started to migrate our data. At the start of 2018 we set up a 12-month digital project team to manage the implementation of digital tools. Our new database is on the Salesforce database and digital marketing platform. This platform integrates with a range of other digital technologies, including our website, email system and political campaign tools. It enables us to develop digital applications for training courses, conferences and use collaboration tools (Salesforce Chatter) so that members and reps can communicate and work together in a secure, online environment.

It will enable us to develop new organising tools. All of the new applications will be available through desktop, tablets or smart phones. We have created a presentation of the project which explains more about how it will work and the applications we are using.

This month we will be starting to move to a new national email system. This system targets and personalises email content so that members receive more of the information they want to see, and less that they don’t. It also has sophisticated analytics which will tells us how effective our communications are, to help us improve the engagement of our emails.

Get involved

We want to introduce tools which are used by members and reps, make their lives easier and use technology to help build the union. We know that the input of users is vital, both those with technical expertise, and those who simply want to use user-friendly applications. All we need are people who want to see our technology improve and are prepared to give us your views.

In advance of building a new portal to replace iMembership we are seeking your views through a survey.

Starting in March we will be having monthly Skype webinars and a group on digital projects collaboration software (using Salesforce Chatter). We will use both to give updates on the project, seek input on priorities and look for volunteers to test applications. You can join either or both the Skype webinars and the collaboration group by emailing digitalprojects@pcs.org.uk

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