Information Systems Status

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Princeton Windrows Technology Committee

Tech Committee
Bricolage Lab

Windrows Information Systems Status And Needed Improvements[edit | edit source]

(Draft as of 4/2/24)

The Tech Committee has documented and hopes to improve the major information systems now used at Princeton Windrows. This is an initial listing of our major IT systems. Hopefully, Tech Committee members and others can enrich these descriptions, identify other needed improvements, and decide which system or systems need first attention.

  1. Calendar & Grid — The combination of the Grid and related website calendar are the principal basis for announcing, advertising, and scheduling activities, classes, meetings, and events. Currently the Grid is a monthly document but also relates to the longer ­range calendar on the website and paper based "Red Book" used for signups. The Grid and Calendar are staff controlled but can be impacted by committees or residents scheduling new activities. Various upgrades and improvements have been proposed:
    1. Alter the website so that all listed activities can sign up online.
    2. Permit residents to receive reminders one day prior for all activities where they have registered. Offer the same reminders for meal reservations.
    3. Too many staff members are involved in parts of the calendar planning process. We need to consider reallocation of staff duties. Furthermore, all planning documents and changes must be in compatible digital forms to avoid frequent retyping and the resulting human errors.
    4. Include a list of all available videos posted on the website
    5. Committee Chairs suggest -For residents who log in and click on "Programs and Activities" we suggest that all the current paragraphs and the menu be removed and three menu items be added:
      1. The Grid
      2. Wednesday at Windrows videos
      3. Some current offerings as of 3/2024
      4. Click #3 to: art studio, bocce, book groups, Cabaret, concerts on-and off­ campus, Dance for Life, field day, film and discussion, Great Decisions, literature and film group, memoir writing, off-campus trips, pickleball, ping pong, Sunday Musicales, TED Talks, variety shows, Warblers singing, Wednesdays at Windrows speaker series, Wellness presentations.
  2. Resident Data Base — Windrows has three or four ways to compile and share information about individual residents, including their contact information, interests, and committee memberships. Presently, these various systems are neither linked nor widely used. Proposed upgrades and improvements suggested:
    1. Combine the various resident profiles, phone books, contact data, etc. into one combined posting of residents,
    2. Provide training and incentives to encourage all residents to approve and use their individual profile, including all information and a resident selected picture.
    3. For new residents, arrange one complete meeting covering key Windrows practices, welcoming topics, and then to compile all needed information about the new residents. Staff to assist as needed to help residents complete postings.
    4. While there's supposed to be a listing of newcomers (within last 6 months), that "database" is currently empty.
    5. Welcome information packet was updated within the past year and is Board approved. Recently scaled-back. Contains info on many committees. Needs to include board approved statement of What Windrows Is and Is Not (meaning a CCRC).
  3. Windrows Website & App — The information now posted on the Windrows website must be created and periodically updated by both committees, staff, and the Board. At present, no single person or department is assigned to keep the website up to date. Most committees and many staff members probably create new items that must be posted here. Suggested improvements:
    1. Identify out of date or incorrect information now on the website. Revise or remove with permission of most directly involved staff member or committee.
    2. Assign one qualified staff member to serve as Web Master, overseeing all needed changes, new requests, and interactions with website vendor.
    3. Let residents use fingerprint or other biological methods to sign into website and app.
    4. Window on Windrows should be included on website (separate notes available on this proposal.)
    5. Assure that staff can remove any message board postings that are clearly out of date and do not have a posted 11remove by" date.
  4. Meal planning, booking, and billing — We have at least one system that records a resident's use of their monthly meal plan. This meal plan somehow must provide information that leads to billing by the finance staff. There also is probably a different system designed to schedule work by various waiters and kitchen personnel. Finally, the Cafe uses a different paper based ordering system than the dinner meal reservation system. Suggested improvements include:
    1. Evaluate use of tablet devices at dinner reservation and luncheon meal selection processes so that orders are made in digital format.
    2. Authorize longer range calendar for future meal reservations. Currently limited to 14 days in advance and no changes in last 2 days.
  5. Financial/Budgeting Systems — This system plans, reports, and monitors all annual revenues and expenses for all Windrows activities. The independent CPAs probably define the categories and data sources used. These systems related to taxes, fees, resident charges, etc. Suggested improvements include:
    1. Permit residents to check their current status on the monthly meal plan.
    2. Let residents obtain a copy of their monthly billing statement, as presently mailed to all residents.
    3. Post approved auditor statements on line for past three years.
  6. Investment Performance — The investment committee receives periodic reports on the status and performance for all Windrows financial assets. Also, this committee monitors and authorizes all investment decisions, normally as proposed by outside advisors. It is likely that the investment advisory firm provides the data and the reporting systems. Possible improvements might be identified by the committee or staff.
  7. Staff Human Resources — Windrows must have at least one system that records the employment status, salaries, hours work, taxes, contact information for all staff employees. Needed improvements need to be identified through staff interviews.
  8. Resident Medical Records, Wellness -All new residents are asked to help create a personal medical record including their medical history, next of kin, regular medications, their doctors, and other medical information. Interviews with Windrows wellness staff may identify needed improvements, including the following:
    1. Report attendance at all wellness classes on at least a quarterly basis on website.
  9. Buildings, Roads, and Cleaning — Windrows has at least one system and probably several systems that are used to receive requests for repairs, respond to residents, post needed projects, monitor their status, and deploy staff members to complete the needed work. Also, the many outside subcontractors and utilities must be tracked and paid. The Falcon Report is an important planning system. Several improvements have been proposed:
    1. Increase committee involvement to reduce time pressures on Board to approve all changes.
    2. We are currently using two systems to monitor work orders. Need to evaluate use of a single system.
    3. Work orders are supposed to receive an email follow up about the likely timing of resolution. Apparently, this feedback is overlooked at times.
    4. Residents often call the front desk, particularly when they get no response on needed work. This habit needs to be eliminated.
    5. Website provides basis to submit a new work order but there is no auto-reply feature.
    6. Making Windrows more resilient to climate change is an assignment from the board but the committee and staff have no capability to do this.
    7. Provide training for residents about how to use website for a work order request.
    8. Include questions about resident satisfaction and recommendations in any future overall survey of resident satisfaction.
    9. Use outside consultants to review opportunities to upgrade space planning and use.
  10. Transportation — Our small fleet of vehicles must be scheduled and monitored during use. Presumably there is a planning and booking aspect to the system for future use of vehicles. Staff interviews may identify needed improvements.
  11. Front Desk. Reception — The reception staff provides several routine duties.
    1. Respond to walk up questions from residents and visitors.
    2. Manually distribute or post activity notices and official USPS mail and packages.
    3. Receive, redirect, and record phone calls as needed.
    4. Monitor the Red Book paper based description and signup book for activities.
    5. Provide website passwords and manage the pendant and card key based security systems.
    6. Handle transportation scheduling and operations.
    7. Welcome and incorporate new residents, e.g.
      1. Explain mail space, passwords, access keys, rules, timing etc.
      2. Inform other departments of new arrival.
      3. Collect descriptive profile information from new resident.
      4. Distribute existing grid and other information.
      5. Explain other meetings and duties expected for a new resident.
    8. Various proposals have been made to upgrade the Front Desk service
      1. Replace the Red Book with a tablet that immediately records changes on the web-based calendar.
      2. Incorporate all welcoming services and new resident information collection into a more formal, comprehensive, and web based system.
      3. Upgrade the door security access system if possible to include digital devices as alternative to card based and pendant based older technology.
  12. Library System — -The library staff maintains a separate information system that displays on the Windrows website. This announces new books and is used to check out books electronically. The Library also maintains a paper based system as well.
  13. Real Estate Marketing and Records — At least one system must be used to maintain accurate records about the ownership, taxes, sales history, utilities, and fees for roughly 300 units. In addition, the current marketing theme for Windrows must generate some content that is communicated and stored. Staff interviews are needed about possible upgrades of current practices.
  14. Board Governance — By law and tradition Windrows keeps records of board agenda, actions, minutes, bylaws, official announcements, committee assignments, delegation, and key staff member evaluations. Interviews with board members and senior staff are needed to identify possible improvements.