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May 23, 2015
Andreas Hagen-Chief Software Architect

Over the past several months, we have worked closely with customers to improve user experience and are working to refine the system interface, navigation and performance. The implementation of these upgrades will occur in stages. In fact, you may have seen some changes already, including our Service Templates and Studies Module. The next area where you should expect to see interface improvements is within the Reservations tab and My Reservations page. The design and workflow choices we make in these pages will, over time, be implemented to other pages throughout the system.

As iLab continues to evolve, we encourage customer input through the various communication channels, some of which include leaving iLab feedback within the system, working directly with your iLab team member contact, filling out iLab surveys, attending the annual user group conference, and participating in conversations on the iLab community listserv.

We thank you for your continued support and collaboration as we continue to strive to provide innovative and effective solutions to support research.

Andreas Hagen
Chief Software Architect

Interface Changes within iLab's Scheduling Module

We are enhancing the look, feel, and usability of two important interfaces in our scheduling module: the 'Core Facility Reservations Tab' and the 'My Reservations Page'. These two pages are some of the first to take on iLab's new and improved design.

Enhancements to the Core Facility Reservations Tab include the following:

  1. The ability to view more than one day at a time
  2. A better visual representation of reservations on the calendar view
  3. An improved user interface for selecting which resources to display
  4. The ability to clearly view multi-day reservations
  5. The ability to access all reservation details with edit links directly from this view

Enhancements to the My Reservations Page include the following:

  1. general clean-up, making the overall view easier to understand
  2. adding links to recently used resources
  3. adding links to favorite resources
  4. creating an easier way to update reservations

[Estimated release date: June 2015]

Capping Usage on Equipment

Our core facility administrators indicated that they would like more controls to ensure that all of their customers have equal access to their facility and time on equipment. To address this request, we have implemented a unique approach, which allows cores to define how many hours a user has available to schedule on a particular piece of equipment or at a facility within a given time. This innovative concept represents a "rolling approach" to restrictions, or caps, on equipment usage and allows a facility to equitably distribute valuable resource and equipment time among users as well as maximize instrument usage.

[Estimated release date: May 2015]

Lab Membership Expiration

We heard from a number of administrators at the lab and department level that it would be helpful to provide tools that make it easier to manage who has the ability to order on behalf of research groups at any given time. Based on this feedback, we have introduced a lab-level feature which allows administrators to set a start and end date for each member of their group, in one central location. This is particularly helpful for labs that have frequent graduate student and post-doctoral fellow rotations.

On the core side of things, we have provided a series of alerts that indicate when their customers will no longer have the ability to order on behalf of a lab. This allows the core to wrap up financial aspects of billing before the individual has left the lab.

[Estimated release date: May 2015]

Center Assigned Funds

We are releasing a new feature, Center Assigned Funds, also referred to as "Scholarships." With this feature, a center may select to transfer funds to its core facilities prior to any work and then will leverage iLab to allocate said funds to its PIs as well as track fund spending.

With this feature, centers can do the following:

  1. Indicate in iLab that funds have been transferred to specific core facilities
  2. Allocate the dollar amount available for each Principal Investigator and their lab(s) for each core facility
  3. Track the spending of the allocated funds for each researcher within each facility

To set up the Center Assigned Funds (Scholarships) feature, please contact your iLab Customer Partnerships Manager. This feature is managed under the Centers interface.

[Estimated release date: June 2015]

Aging Reports

Aging reports list all customers who have unpaid (or partially paid) invoices and it organizes the information according to the length of time in which an invoice has been outstanding. Generating such reports is critical in determining the financial health of the customer and, therefore, the health of the business.

Multiple customers asked for an aging reports feature within iLab. To meet this need, iLab will be updating the institution invoices list view with bulk actions that will allow administrators manage invoices across their cores and billing events. Now, after filtering for desired invoices, administrators can bulk email invoice owners, download a PDF of invoices, download the list of invoices to a csv and, pending institution settings, generate Aging Reports on past due invoices.

[Estimated release date: June 2015]

CCSG Reporting

With iLab's new CCSG reporting feature, Cancer Center Administrators will be able to run a report which breaks down dollars spent per week, per core, by researcher peer-review status, and cancer center membership. All data is csv downloadable, enabling Administrators to develop the specific reports they need for cancer center support grant renewals.

[Estimated release date: June 2015]

Dual Usage Reporting for CORES Customers Transitioning to iLab

iLab is currently working on Dual Use Reporting functionality. This functionality is specifically useful for CORES customers who plan on converting their facilities to iLab in stages or over an extended period of time. This functionality will pull invoiced usage data from CORES into iLab and will allow users to run consolidated usage reports from the iLab system. We have created this functionality to keep users from having to go back and forth between systems and manually consolidate reports during the interim transition period.

[Estimated release date: June 2015]

Animal Management Product Line: Addressing Protocols

iLab is in the process of developing a simple but robust Animal Management Module. To ensure that we are designing this module to flexibly meet the needs of a variety of facilities, we are building this product in stages and in collaboration with a number of customer partners.

The first milestone that we are tackling is a central Protocols Management component. Although, this feature is not intended to replace full institutional protocol management systems, it is built to store the particular sets of data that core facilities and principal investigators will need to reference in the course of their daily workflows and processes.

Stay tuned for more updates on iLab's new Animal Management product, including upcoming details on our next milestone: Animal Ordering (Acquisition).

[Announcement] Infrastructure Enhancements will Result in a Change in IP Address

As part of our efforts to increase system performance, we will be enhancing our infrastructure for our production, testing and development environments this summer.

With this upgrade there will not be any changes to the system workflow or design, but the following are ways it may affect you:

  1. We expect the system to be down for approximately 24 east coast hours. This will mostly likely occur Saturday, July 4th.
  2. This system update will result in a change of some of our product IP address. We are identifying groups using LDAP integrations or Web Services, but let us know if you are using our IP address so we can get you the updated address.
  3. This upgrade will increase system performance resulting in decreased load times and continuing to handle our growing user base.

Please note: Our EU servers have already received a series of infrastructure enhancements; therefore, Europe-based customers will not be affected by this downtime or IP address change.

Phone: 1.617.297.2805
Toll free: 1.800.690.2957