Historically, effective abstract management tools have not been available for small organizations with limited budgets. Smaller associations had to put in extensive hours performing tedious and repetitive tasks using Excel, Outlook, and a good memory. Items fell through the cracks and attendee experience suffered.
This was particularly true for small conferences held on many university campuses. The need for effective abstract management software exists even if the funding isn’t always available.
“In the past year, we’ve expanded our product offering to include smaller conferences,” John Berglund, CEO of Mira Smart Conferencing, said. “Often, we would find conferences collecting less than one hundred abstracts, maybe a bit more, with association staff tracking everything through email and spreadsheets. Given that we know the abstract collection process well, we estimated that these small organizations were dedicating the equivalent of one full-time person just to maintain this manual system.”
“Even $1500 was often too pricey,” John noted, adding that the team at Mira loves helping these conferences administrators have the best event that they can. “An affordable abstract management solution had to be found which provided many of the tools associations needed, without breaking their bank”
“We had the idea for a simple to use submit and review package for less than $1000,” John said. “The real push came from the executive director of one small state organization that said that if we could create such a system, he would sell it himself to other small organizations like his.”
What makes this work is the “self-service” model which allows association staff to configure the site the way they want it, as opposed to the “full-service” model requiring programmers, account managers, and other support.
“With advances in our user interface over the past 18 months, we are able to empower our customers to help with site management. This reduces our staff time, so it is a win-win for all,” John said. “The desire for a solution is so strong that we had a potential client base willing to advocate for us. We couldn’t let this market segment continue to struggle.”
The abstract management answer came in the form of miraCE (Community Edition), a simple to configure and simple to use submit and review solution. Site administrators can collect as much information as they need about authors and abstracts, assign abstracts to reviewers, pull reports for every single item in the database, and send out batch emails to every constituent user group of the software.
And they can do all of this and more for $500 a year.
“We’ve already had positive feedback during a soft rollout of the product,” John said. “Abstract management administrators who are using spreadsheets and email and free online form generators love the idea of one site that stores every single piece of information that they need. Some of our miraCE customers might not just call it a time saver but a life saver, too.”
As the year continues, look for more information about Mira Smart Conferencing’s miraCE abstract management solution.