Reston, VA

Reston Association’s new information technology director says that the association needs to upgrade its technology to prevent issues.

Clara William, who started her new job in September, presented to RA’s Board of Directors on Thursday the issues she’s identified along with RA staff.

“It has challenges and it needs improvement,” William said, listing a variety of issues, older products no longer under warranties, outdated software and slow or no wireless speeds.

“We lack security from the end users point of view,” she said. “There is not a substantial amount of security that is there.”

Crashes can cause problems — which has happened already — because the association is using old software, like financial software from 2013, she said.

“I want to move away from customized programs completely,” she said, adding that the more customized a website is, the harder it is to maintain and update. “We want to move to a more cloud-based solution.”

During the presentation, William laid out the plan for how staff plan to fix the IT issues. “To do all of this work, were going to hire IT consultants,” she said.

William said goals for 2020 include:

  • stabilizing the infrastructure
  • modernizing the technology and security
  • augmenting IT skills gap with professional tech services
  • moving apps to the cloud software as a service
  • building centralized data and business intelligence reporting

People can also expect a new RA website next year, according to William’s presentation.

The work means that the IT budget for next year will increase $413,000 due to infrastructure upgrades, licensing and contract costs and consultants — totaling just over $1 million.

“It is required to take RA IT to the next level otherwise things are going to crash and fall apart,” William said about the high budget amount.

“I had no idea that our IT situation was this bad,” Vice President Julie Bitzer said, asking if the budget increase would be a one-time or continued increase.

William said that some of the costs may “go down or go away” next year, like the professional tech services.

“This budget will not be high next year,” William said.

William said that she will work with RA CEO Hank Lynch to come up with metrics for the project and how often the Board of Directors will receive updates.

“I will make sure there is a progress report,” William said.

Images via Reston Association/YouTube

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