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CMS Connected - Overview

Chabad Management System – Connected

What is “CMS Connected”? In short, it is a connection between the CMS Program which is running on your local computer and data that is submitted on your website (donations, for example).

Please see our introduction video
here.

The Challenge

Data that is submitted on your website can come in many different colors and flavors. Everyone sets up their forms with different fields. When a form is submitted online, the data is either emailed or stored in a database that can be downloaded later or retrieved in some other manner (exporting to Excel, for example).

Working with data in this fashion makes it extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to process automatically. This data must be manually entered into CMS, a time consuming and often tedious process and one that is prone for errors.

The Solution – CMS Connected

Ready-made forms that can be easily plugged in to your website that when submitted allow for simple processing of the data in CMS; while at the same time allowing for design flexibility, user defined settings and various customization options. This provides the perfect balance in ease of use, and total integration with CMS.

How It Works

CMS Connected has several components:

1.       Form Design: Here is where you configure your forms, set options, drop-downs and more. You also map the drop-downs to various lists from your CMS database. For example, you may have a Purpose drop-down on your donation form to describe what the donation is for. This drop-down is configured so that the values are mapped directly to the CMS Categories/Subcategories so that when processing the data, the correct categories are used.

2.       Notifications: Using Desktop Notifications, you are notified in real time that a form was submitted on your website. You also get an email.

3.       Data Processing: Processing the submissions means actually downloading the submissions into the CMS program, (automatically) matching up existing names, and committing the data to the live database so that it comes up in the main CMS program. This is done via user friendly screens where you have the option to automatically match up data and to manually connect downloaded submissions to existing contacts. First this is done automatically, after which you can review the matched records before they are committed to the database and make adjustments if needed.

Seamless Integration

Although data that is submitted on your website does not instantly appear on the CMS Program, and several steps are required (as described above), this does not feel at all like an “exporting-from-the-website-to-excel-and-importing-the-Excel-file-into-CMS” exercise.

Our goal in creating CMS Connected was to have a truly seamless integration. The entire process is done within the CMS Connected “applet” (=mini application) which is running on your computer (in the System Tray, next to the clock). It is this applet that notifies you of form submissions, in real time, that have been made; it is the same applet that you use to configure and design your forms (and changes made there go live instantly); and it is the same applet that downloads the form submissions right into your CMS program, ready to be processed. Truly seamless integration.

Cross Platform Compatibility

These Forms can work on any website, including Chabad.org. To get the form to your website, simply design the form using the CMS Connected applet, then Preview the form (also within the applet) and copy and paste the few lines of HTML into your HTML editor on your website. Chabad.org users must go to the Form Options and check the “Do not include a submit button…” check box.

Security

The forms are secured with SSL 128 bit encryption. However, the page that is hosting the form also needs to be secured. If the hosting page is not secured, the browser will display a security warning that not all parts of the page being loaded is secure. Chabad.org users must enable Secure Forms and check the “This is a secure form” option.

Communication between the CMS Connected applet and SQL Server (which hosts the forms and the data submitted) is also secured with SSL encryption. All communication is done over https using a secure web-service.

In addition to the form being secured with SSL, the credit card information being submitted is further encrypted, so that when it gets stored in the SQL Server database (and then later downloaded into your CMS Program), the cardholder data cannot be visually retrieved. Only when the card is processed (by the CMS Program) does the card get decrypted (for an instant - in memory) and submitted to Authorize.net (also via SSL).

If this sounds complicated, it is. But what you can know from all this is that we went the extra mile when it came to security and that from Form Design to Submissions to Notifications, Downloading and the final processing of the data, everything is completely secure.

Cost

CMS Connected is presently in the beta testing phase and there is no charge to use it, other than a $50 setup fee. In this phase, only a limited number of users will be accepted, on a first come first served bases.
In the future, as with other modules, there will be an annual fee to use CMS Connected. No details on future pricing are available at this time.

Getting Started

If you are interested in becoming CMS Connected at this time, please submit an inquiry at www.chabadms.com/support and request to be contacted to set up your account. We will contact you to as soon as time allows.

Article ID: 643, Created On: 10/21/2009, Modified: 3/2/2010