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After technology mishaps, Reston Association explores digital upgrades

Reston Association is eyeing launch of a process audit (file photo)

In an effort to refine its technological practices after two years of various mishaps, Reston Association’s Information Technology Committee is urging the organization to consider a major digital transformation.

In January 2021, Wipfli, a consulting firm hired by RA, completed an assessment of the organization’s IT practices. The report centered around three mishaps:

  • A compromised email account that resulted in over $187,000 in losses
  • Embedded malware that froze the website
  • A server crash that resulted in additional $26,000 in losses, prompting a shift to cloud-based storage

A national law firm BakerHostetler also investigated the incidents.

RA established the IT committee in March 2021 to review its technology services and needs.

Wipfli Chief Technology Officer Michael Lockett says RA should continue to pursue a digital transformation.

Currently, Wipfli is in a discovery phase, which will be followed by a process audit and the completion of a draft roadmap of priorities moving forward.

Lockett said priorities include streaming constituent-facing services and fully implementing software like Microsoft Sharepoint and Teams. At a board meeting last week, Lockett said the aim is to make “internal collaboration a strategic goal of the organization.”

While expressing her support for the plan, Jennifer Sunshine Jushchuk encouraged the committee to take a look at other issues flagged by the IT committee.

“We have not seen a work plan,” she said at the March 24 meeting.

The committee’s chair Jordan Fletcher said the body met last week to finalize a proposed annual workplace review in order to improve efficiencies and reduce costs and time to deliver services.

He encouraged RA to approve a process audit around May in order to improve its workflow. Board member Bob Petrine called the process audit a “laudable goal.”

“These kinds of reviews do result in very measurable improvements in the way you process transactions in the organization,” he said.

Acting CEO Larry Butler said the May timeline was “aggressive,” noting that RA needs to name a new CEO and that spring is its busiest time of the year.

Butler also noted that RA staff will be required to complete a 45-minute IT training.

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