Associations rely on their association management system (AMS) to recruit, manage and engage with their members, prospects and partners and to efficiently and effectively exceed operational and member-related goals. Unfortunately, when staff begin to spend more time managing the AMS software than managing members, the results can be devastating.
Membership associations should review their legacy association management system (AMS) to determine whether it still meets their business needs as well as the current and future needs of their members.
Is it time to invest in a new AMS?
Selecting and implementing a new AMS will require significant upfront investment in time, money and other resources, but, in most cases, the investment is worth it in the long run. Because of those costs and the potential disruption to their daily business operations, associations often struggle to squeeze more out of their current AMS platform—even at the expense of membership initiatives and staff efficiency.
To help your association make the decision to switch your AMS platform, there are three important questions you should ask yourself.
Has your legacy AMS provider been responsive to all of your concerns?
When it comes to troubleshooting their AMS, most associations lean heavily on their vendors to recommend solutions (ex. specific workflows) and configure the software to their specific needs. In such instances, the client-vendor relationship is as important as the capabilities of the AMS itself.
If your vendor doesn't provide the required level of support and professional services your association needs to be successful, it's best to look for a new AMS provider, one who continually invests in resources and staff dedicated to helping your association achieve your objectives.
Does your AMS help you reach your goals?
Aside from providing robust functionalities, your legacy AMS system should integrate seamlessly with your association's website and third-party vendors (ex. Marketing Automation, Community, Learning Management). If your members find it challenging to engage with your association via digital channels such as your website (ex. shopping cart or event registration forms), or your staff finds it difficult to share data between various platforms, your vendor isn't delivering a functional solution that meets the needs and expectations of your members. That can potentially lead to the loss of revenue and possibly a decrease in membership.
The whole point of using an AMS system is to maximize the user experience, streamline processes and make it easier for you to manage your association's activities. It should save you time and money by automating manual and mundane workflows and freeing up your team to focus on more strategic tasks. If your legacy system doesn't help you achieve your operational, business and membership goals, you're better off looking for a new provider.
At what point is your AMS at in the refresh cycle?
For every AMS you purchase, you should get at least seven years of use out of it before the underlying technology becomes outdated. By that time, your business model or workflows will have changed to the point that the legacy AMS may be incompatible, or technology will have advanced to the point that your system is unable to deliver comparable levels of service expected from today’s modern AMS platforms.
Since newer generations of software often deliver more functionality than older systems for the same price, you should consider looking for a new AMS.
Make the right choice for your association.
While switching to a new AMS provider can be time-consuming, disruptive and require significant financial investment, it is your best option when you're in any of the following situations:
Reviewing the above questions can help you determine the best course of action and ensure that you choose the right AMS for your association and membership needs. Let Impexium help you.