December 10, 2014

How Do You Know When It's Time to Upgrade Your AMS

How Do You Know When It's Time to Upgrade Your AMS

When you think about your association management software, the first two words that come to mind probably aren’t “project management”.

But to be successful when implementing your AMS, you have to adhere to the principles of good project management.

Whether it was three months or three years ago, someone had to build an initial business case to purchase an AMS for your association. Maybe you were there or perhaps it was a predecessor who was responsible for your association management software. Together with your association’s executive team, the requirements were determined for your AMS and a budget was set for the type of investment to make in your association’s technology.

If your association’s board decided it wanted to make a small initial investment, your AMS might have been a lower price and delivered quickly but did not have all the functionality you need. Or, if a larger investment was made for a full association technology enterprise system, which would take months to implement, perhaps you’ve had a change in requirements that aren’t included in your current AMS system’s functionality.

Good project management principles state that constant review of requirements is needed to ensure there are no changes in scope and that the deliverables meet all of your goals for technology that will help your business. The same is true for your AMS. It’s time to look at your association’s technology and determine if you need to make improvements.

Here are ways to know when it’s time to upgrade your AMS:

1. The person who built the AMS doesn't work there anymore

If you weren’t the one to project manage the implementation of your association management software, then you probably weren’t a part of the initial process to gather requirements. Hopefully they didn’t try to build your own AMS, and if they did hopefully there’s documentation on your association's technology. The good news is you can take all the information from your current database and upload it into your new AMS.

2. The system hasn't been upgraded in years

If you built your own AMS, or hired an engineer to build it for you, then chances are your system is need of serious updates. That’s the benefit of partnering with an association management software as a service (AMS SaaS) technology vendor. Your association will always be on the latest version. Even if there is no budget to upgrade, your AMS provider will always be pushing upgrades and updates for free

3. Investigate how technology has changed since you purchased your prior system

Innovation, technical skills, and vision are essential for continuous delivery of cutting edge software solutions for modern associations. Even if you bought your AMS as recently as last year, you want to keep up with the latest association technology trends especially for membership engagement, event management, and membership financials.

4. Members are complaining about your association’s technology

If your association members aren’t able to easily use your AMS portal and are having a bad experience then it will be detrimental to your association’s brand. For modern associations, the technology they offer to members is an integral part of membership engagement. If you’re getting complaints about your AMS, then it’s time to upgrade.

5. Staff members are desperate for automation

Do you have association staff members who are still doing manual data entry? It’s time to streamline those processes with automation and eliminate the monotony of manually entering information that’s vital to your association. It’s 2015! Why would a modern association still be doing manual data entry?

6. You can’t connect other platforms to your AMS

In a perfect world, all of your association’s technology will seamlessly integrate without any issues. But in reality, you want to connect other systems to your database but are unable to do so. If your email marketing automation system doesn’t integrate with your AMS, or if financial applications can’t directly connect with your membership collections, then it’s time to upgrade your association management systems.

7. You’re using too many systems and need to consolidate

There’s a bevy of different platforms to choose from. A modern AMS provider will offer one cloud-based system with modules for all of your association’s functions including membership engagement, billing, financials, CRM, event management, certifications, continuing education, awards...everything your association needs to function in a modern, social world.

Is now the time to upgrade your AMS? Check out our infographic, 10 Questions Modern Associations Need to Ask Before Choosing an AMS

Ana Loden

Ana Loden is the Business Development Manager at MemberSuite. As an expert in communication, she spends her work days speaking and presenting to hundreds of associations. When she’s not selling new clients, she can be found listening to live music and rooting for Auburn University's football team.

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