By The Protech Team
Is your association on the verge of purchasing a new association management system (AMS)? You can wave goodbye to those old data silos and complex integrations with third-party software, right?
Well, before that happens, your professional or trade association needs to get through successful AMS implementation. But what can you expect during the impending digital transformation, what does your team need to know, and how can the ship be steadied if the implementation isn’t going as planned?
Below are a just a few of our tips for association professionals during the implementation process to ensure long-term success of your AMS.
What You Need to Know for a Successful AMS Implementation
Know & Communicate with Your Team
Confirm with your AMS team members – the ones who will be helping you evaluate, select, implement, test and operate the system after go-live – that they each understand their role. Chat with colleagues about the timeline and reaffirm your association’s priorities – whether that be improving e-commerce transactions, content management system development, etc.
Include your team on discussions with the AMS vendor’s implementation team, too. These teams typically consist of senior account and customer service executives, finance managers and other software developers. Let their experience guide you through implementation by highlighting how to handle administrative operations and application integrations. The AMS vendor won’t be able to help you unless they know what the issues are, so be sure to connect with them regularly.
You’ll be sorting through terabytes of information – years of data on membership, events registrations, exhibits, sponsorships, advertising, professional development certifications and financial reports. Then you’ll have to work on conducting data audits, data maps and documenting the progress. This will be the most tedious stage of the process.
Determine the data science experts on your staff that will be managing the migration and schedule periodic meetings with the AMS provider so they can share the necessary reports and documents. It’s easier to handle technological difficulties as they arise instead of waiting the day before go-live to mention it. It’s probably too late at that point.
Avoid unnecessary pitfalls by performing some background research too. Ask the AMS vendor about their experiences migrating data with similar associations and follow-up to get feedback. How can it be done better?
Additionally, it could be valuable to consult with a third-party firm to see how data migration projects have changed over the years. Ask about data from third-party applications and get an idea of the overall security infrastructure.
Let your association know who these users are so everyone knows where the reports are going.
Establishing standard procedures for creating case tickets after AMS implementation is important for those on your staff who are less knowledgeable about software. All they want is for the system to work. This is where open communication and a good relationship with the AMS vendor’s implementation team pays off. You’ll know which personnel you need from them to support your database technologies.
Utilize Educational & Training Resources
After a successful implementation, the AMS vendor to educate their client on database software platforms. In other words, is the vendor helping the association help themselves?
At Protech, that means sharing updates from Microsoft Learn about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Azure Cloud features. Users can study up on Azure network integrations, Power BI, Microsoft Teams, financial reporting automations, supply chain management and hundreds of other modules. We then discuss these topics further with our Protech User Group (PUG) community.
Verify with your AMS vendor that these types of educational and training resources are in place and that they have the infrastructure to update these modules as necessary.
Closing Thoughts on Implementations
It should go without saying, but we’ll mention it anyway for good measure – the more work you and your team put into implementation, the less stressed you’ll be during go-live.
Make it a point to communicate with the AMS vendor’s implementation team, optimize data conversion by delegating specific roles to your staff, develop and enforce a standardized post-implementation protocol and review educational resources. Cover these steps and your association will be thanking you later.
Thinking of implementing an AMS in the cloud? Download Your Guide to Simple AMS Upgrades.