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Your AMS Journey: Selection to Adoption – Step 3: Choosing the Right Product Partner
By Noel Shatananda | October 29, 2020

So what should I look for in my next Association Management System?

As implementers, we often get asked this question is some shape or form during the AMS Journey. For those following this series in order, we have asked “why do we need a change from our current system?” and then developed a vendor selection process through the creation of a RFP.

While evaluating the needs of your current platform and beginning to vet platforms is great progress, our AMS Journey is far from over. Your next step is to identify the exact organizational and platform problems you are looking to solve, and choose a product partner based off those requirements.

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Choosing the Right Product Partner

Here are some of the key factors you might want to consider as you evaluate platforms during Your AMS Journey:

Your Size and Growth

We often come across associations that have purchased a 16 wheeler, when what they really needed was just a SUV. If you are a small association that has a concise set of features and processes you need to operate well, then going for an extremely flexible and innovative platform might be overkill.

However, are you looking to grow substantially in the future, and do you envision your members doing the same? If so, you need a cloud based, highly flexible product on an innovative platform.

Place of Birth

What we mean here is, was the product “born in the cloud”? It’s obvious we want a product that lives in the cloud, but was it architected for the cloud from its inception. This becomes a crucial factor as you grow.

We tend to come across legacy products that were built before the cloud, but have added a web use interface and claim that they are a cloud platform. Unfortunately, that is not true, as the core architecture was never designed with the needs of the cloud in place.

Platform Compatibility

AMS platforms are great in the sense that your tool is built on top of a stable, innovative, foundational layer. The platform will continue to evolve, and the AMS automatically benefits from the underlying technological innovation. As an example, if the platform began to support artificial intelligence and blockchain, the AMS would be able take advantage of it. Non-platform products would have to integrate or build support for these independently. At some point, your organization will find non-platform products too difficult to keep up with evolving needs.

Features & Technology

We frequently see associations making decisions purely on features, while not fully understanding the ramifications of the technologies the product is built on. Most legacy systems that have been around a long time have solid features, but are poor at integrating, not born in the cloud, and are hard to customize. Furthermore, some of them are not built on a stable platform.

In-house Technical Competence & Budget

Lastly, it is key to make your product decision based on the technical competence you have on staff and the potential budget you are willing to allocate to IT.

We come across organizations that purchase larger complicated systems, when they clearly did not need it. This in turn leads to poor implementation and adoption, and adds problems instead of solving them. A simpler, fully partner managed, easy to use system will be more beneficial in the long term.

Always Use a Scorecard During Platform Evaluation

Typically, the more customization and features you want to implement, the more it will cost. As you go through product demos, define a score card that all the participants can use to help keep the decision making process objective. Make sure you identify which features are a necessity and which features are extraneous.

There are a variety of templates and resources regarding an implementation scorecard, and each organization will have different pain points with their current platform. At the end of the day, make sure you identify what is most important for your organization as a whole in your evaluation, and weigh those needs properly on your scorecard.

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Stay Tuned for More!

By this part of Your AMS Journey, the hope is you have not only identified the needs of your organization, but begun to identify the new platform that will fulfill those needs. In our upcoming articles, we will explore where to begin the implementation journey with your new platform and product partner.

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to fusionSPAN for all of your AMS consulting questions and needs!

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Noel enjoys collaborative environments and is driven by the challenges of a growing industry. He values putting client goals first, explaining, “When we enable clients to be the best they can be, the company automatically benefits; it’s simply the by-product of fully enabling passionate human beings.” Noel heads up Salesforce Operations and is constantly working to strategically move fusionSpan forward toward its vision of bridging gaps through technology.

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