7 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your AMS

Your current AMS is a classic example of a software tool that’s probably outlived its usefulness. Not because AMS solutions are in decline or less relevant to the success of today’s leading associations.  Rather, some solutions overpromise and underdeliver, update too slowly (not at all…hope you are not part of that community) or were built on code that is decades old. The reason doesn’t matter…there comes a time when you’ve got to cut the cord and stop making excuses.  In other words, ditch your old AMS and find a new one.

Members have become more demanding than ever before when it comes to customer experience. The bar has been set high by Amazon and many of the technologies they interact with on a daily basis. That’s why you need a AMS solution that can keep up with demand and enable your staff to offer the best possible level of service to your members.

If your current AMS shows any of the following signs, then it’s definitely time for a change.

#1. It’s Not in the Cloud

Limited to Internal Infrastructures

Today’s industry-leading Association Management Solution (AMS) or membership management solutions are primarily cloud-based, which means they’re not limited by the capabilities of your organization’s internal infrastructure. Nonetheless, many associations still rely on in-house systems or dated premise based solutions that simply can’t keep up with the current pace of digital transformation.

Want to Work Anytime, Anywhere

Association staff, as well as members, expect to be able to work anywhere and anytime or, at the very least, have access to member-specific resources regardless of time, location or device. And from a business perspective, a mobile workforce translates into a more productive and motivated one. That’s why you need a AMS which offers full cloud enablement and mobile functionality (included responsive design).

#2. It’s Expensive to Maintain

In-House AMS = Expensive

Maintaining a proprietary, in-house AMS system or a dated premise-based AMS (Association Management Solution) or membership management platform is both expensive and time-consuming. Worse still, the high costs involved can increase exponentially along with demand, especially if you find yourself having to upgrade your hardware to add more compute power or data storage capacity or meet the ever-increasing demands of your members.

Remove Recurring Costs

One of the key advantages of migrating to a cloud-based AMS system is that you can do away with many of the expenses of an on-premises solution for a single predictable annual (or monthly) cost. 

Switch to an Annual Subscription

Cloud-based AMS, like Impexium, typically charge an annual subscription fee based on the number of users as well as storage and computing needs, which also allows you to scale back and forth as demand requires.

#3. Staff & Members Are Constantly Frustrated With the AMS

Negative Feedback

High-level decisions using AMS data rely on the people who use it daily. If your staff and members express constant frustration with the association management solution or membership management platform, this could be due to a few reasons.

  • An overly complicated solution that requires extensive onboarding
  • Unstable or buggy software in which features don’t consistently work
  • A clunky interface that slows down their workflow with tedious clicks

Invest in an Upgrade

No AMS can please everybody, but if you’re running into one or more of these challenges, the cost of not making a change may well be more than the investment required to make a strategic technology upgrade.

#4. Your AMS Data Is Inaccurate

Inaccurate or Incomplete Data

Inaccurate or incomplete data undermines your AMS and membership management initiatives. Poor data management may be a sign your staff are reluctant to use your AMS. Certain factors may increase the likelihood of poor data, including:

  • A high degree of manual data entry
  • Redundant data can be entered in multiple formats (New York, NY, N.Y.)
  • An absence of clean data protocols, like audits or deduplication.
  • Employee apathy towards AMS data integrity

Reduce Manual Data Entry

Today’s modern AMS platforms reduce data entry — and thus, frustration — with contact importation, auto-completion of member and organization profiles, drag-and-drop interfaces, or simply a well-designed UI.

#5. Basic Reporting & Analytics Take Forever

Manual Analytics Process

At the end of each month or quarter, does your association’s staff comes to a complete halt as they begin a lengthy (and manual) process to deliver moderately helpful reports and business insights? If so, they are probably using an outdated AMS that has outlived its effectiveness.

Need Better Functionality

Today’s forward-thinking membership management solutions include the ability create personalized queries, dashboards and visualizations for various departments without the need for an advanced degree, costly professional services or undue amounts of valuable staff time.

Want Personalized Dashboards

The new era of smarter, simpler membership management platforms promotes effective decision making by personalizing individual dashboard views, automating the delivery of real-time analytics and including the ability to drill down to the underlying reports, data and member profiles.

In comparison, “yesterday’s” AMS applications that only reluctantly cough-up a mission-critical reports after days of massaging and trial-and-error are a drain on resources and an obstacle to insight rather than a strategic advantage.

#6. Your AMS Platform Doesn’t Work Well With Other Systems

Requires a Best-of-Breed Solution

Any software platform can “integrate” with another platform—in theory. And to compete in today’s competitive business environment, many associations rely on multiple integrations to best-of-breed solutions to manage their members and daily operations. These integrations between solutions become more common – and necessary – the quality and quantity of data in one system will need to sync more easily with the requirements of the other.

Integration Should be Seamless

For today’s modern cloud-based AMS platforms, integration should be relatively smooth and seamless. But if your current AMS only passes or receives data from another mission critical system such as your community platform, learning management solution or marketing automation platform with the need of considerable human assistance and a great deal of time, then it’s not really doing its intended job. Rather, your current AMS is effectively obstructing efficiencies and opportunities for innovation and probably an expensive inconvenience.

#7. Your AMS Doesn’t Easily Bring In External Data

Can't Upload External Data

Associations are finding that a more complete and comprehensive view of member data is critical for driving relevant and contextual engagement. In fact, it’s often the insight gained from new data sources, including third-party solutions, that helps associations highlight recruitment, retention and revenue opportunities they might have otherwise have missed. But like the integration problem, if your AMS software doesn’t easily bring in data from external sources that could be a sign that it’s time to upgrade as well.

You Should Be Able to Blend Data

With features and tools that now come standard in modern AMS applications, many associations are pleasantly surprised at how flexible today’s membership management platforms are at integrating and blending data from multiple sources.

No AMS can please everybody, but if you’re running into one or more of these challenges, the cost of not making a change may well be more than the investment required to make a strategic technology upgrade. 

Impexium’s 100% web-based Association Management Solution (AMS) supports the full range of association business and administrative activities. We combine enterprise-level functionality with the benefits of a software-as-a-service model to deliver a mobile-first, responsive, analytics driven platform to associations of all sizes.

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