Your current AMS has stopped meeting your needs and you’re ready for a change. Time to write an RFP and implement a new system, right? Sure. That will get you a new system. But will you be more successful than you are now? Are you preparing for what a change can do for you, your members, and your future?
Advances in technology will give you more functionality, make integration and configuration easier, and allow for more flexible decision-making. But beyond the technology, let’s walk through 5 things you should consider ahead of the RFP to set yourself up for not just a successful implementation, but a successful future.
1. Change Management
Implementing a new system using the same business processes, the same approach to data, or the same skillsets is like buying a boat when you don’t know how to swim and don’t live near a lake. Great in theory, but quite a costly sunk cost that you may never get your return on investment.
Take a step back. Think about what you’re doing now and ask why.
- Was a process that you’re continuing built because of past system limitations vs actual business needs today?
- Do your business rules make sense in today’s world and are they adaptable to a changing world?
The world – and likely your association – has gone through a lot of change in the last year. Change fatigue is real. But this is also an opportunity to illustrate to your board and the C-suite team that your association can handle change. That being open to re-imagining your business as well as your technology will set you up for future success – and future abilities to adapt to a changing world.
2. Data Management
Whether you’re integrating with other systems or implementing an all-in-one platform, knowing your data, how it’s used, and how it’s maintained is necessary for not just an effective implementation, but for an effective business.
Squeaky wheels get attention. So anecdotal decisions get made. That may never change in an association world. But having faith in your data – and being able to report on that data in digestible ways, such as with PowerBI reports that the world has gotten used to seeing, allows you to make data-driven decisions.
3. HR Management
This one may come as a surprise. You’re thinking about an AMS/CRM solution, not a new HR system. What does HR have to do with this? Well, an effective HR team – and by extension, an effective team overall – cares about the skills their team has, career development, and talent pool. Customized or targeted tools will have a more limited pool to pull from when hiring – and minimize marketability. That may be good short-term, but fostering a culture that wants to nurture and encourage staff career development should be a factor in the technology chosen.
The ability to work in a low-code/no-code environment, including manage customer journeys with automation, may require different skills than some staff is used to. Leveraging the extensive online learning opportunities now available is a good start in ensuring your team stays ready for what comes next.
4. Member Management
Are you providing a personalized “Netflix experience”? Personalization is how we live our lives now. Your recommended queue is likely far different than mine. People expect that. Whether it is a personalized welcome journey in marketing automation or offering up the right discounts and recommendations based on who I am, your tech should support this.
5. Vendor Management
Integration allows you to get the features you want – from the vendor you want. You may go with a tool that meets most of your needs with just some supplemental integration or cut across the full spectrum of specialized vendors. More vendors are seeing that associations are an industry worth investing time and money into development. They’re also looking to form partnerships with their customers. Reggie Henry from ASAE likes to talk about how the vendors are partners and an extension of his staff. Look for vendors who want to form that partnership with you.
For instance, Altai Systems is confident in our software – and confident in our process. Our process, our ease at integrating within the Microsoft 365 universe, and the ability to look ahead for you are what we’re bringing to the table to make sure you succeed.