The fusionSpan Blog

AMSFest – Up close with an AMS

By Justin Burniske |September 22, 2016
Association Management Solutions (AMS)Events

img_3461fusionSpan was at AMSFest, put on by Teri Carden, founder of It’s an intimate event where association professionals can get an up-close look at a bunch of different AMS (association management systems) vendors all in one place. They also can talk with industry partners (like fusionSpan) about what the trends are and what they should have on their radar. Very informative for both organizations beginning the process of moving to a new AMS as well as organizations just looking to stay abreast of the latest news related to association technology. Highlights included:

AMS Implementation

Heard from Rene Shonerd who is currently implementing 5 AMS systems at once. A little crazy, but sometimes you just got to do what you got to do. She pointed out that before making a move, associations should always reassess their current system – new feature come out all the time, and those new features may solve your current issues. If you do decide to move, make sure to rank the importance of different feature BEFORE looking at systems – don’t want to make a decision based on some shiny object that isn’t business critical.


Featuring fusionSpan’s very own Gayathri Kher, this panel dived into the nitty-gritty of SSO (single sign-on) and API (application programming interface). While all AMS vendors can check a box that their system does have an API, not all APIs are built the same. As you are getting ready to make a purchase, ask them to demonstrate the capabilities of their API, budget money to maintain your integrations, and understand that, as the name suggests, you will need a programmer to do some programming. There was also an interesting conversation around Middleware that can serve as a cog to connect multiple systems, but can also be costly.

Investors Discover

Lots of AMS vendors are buying and being bought. A vendor being purchased could be a good thing – the panel noted that generally only good companies get acquired. It could also mean trouble – an acquisition likely means a change in culture. Key takeaway for associations? Ask questions – reach out to your favorite employees at that organization and see if they are sticking around. If they are leaving it may be a red flag of things to come.

Was a very informative event with lots of very knowledgeable speakers donating their time to put on a great event. Plus, if you’re about to begin the search for a new AMS, may as well do it at a location with a rooftop networking event. We had a great view of the Capitol, Union Station and the rest of the DC skyline.


Justin Burniske

Justin serves as the Director of Enterprise Solutions at fusionSpan, bringing his experience implementing and overseeing an association management system for an education nonprofit. Additionally, he brings his positive, can-do attitude to any project on which he is working. Justin graduated from University of Maryland’s MBA program, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining fusionSpan, Justin taught middle school math and worked with education nonprofits. Also, he wants you to know he loves his family.

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