By Robert Berto – Junior Systems Administrator
Cloud computing is not only the wave of the future for associations, it has permeated into virtually all industries in the present. Pure software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology has become so reliable that associations are opting to ditch their on-premises systems in favor of the security and flexibility of the cloud.
Member-based organizations aren’t alone in adopting pure cloud software. According to a blog post from Forrester, the cloud market is expected to top $230 billion in 2019, a meteoric rise from just over $100 billion in 2016.
So, what happened? As is the case with anything new in the worlds of software or association technology, many member-based organizations were careful in considering new technology. Some organizations sat back to see if cloud computing was just a fad, an intelligent and calculated approach. Other, more risk-averse organizations were just biding their time until the Microsoft cloud and its competitors matured.
Then, of course, there are the eager change agents lying in wait, ready for their board to give them the budget needed to capitalize on the advantages of cloud computing.
Unless you’re among the latter, there’s no longer anything standing between you and your first pure cloud association management software.
To help you make the case for cloud computing to your board or executive team, I wanted to share some of my favorite benefits of true cloud AMS.
2 Key Reasons Your Association Technology Should be in the Cloud
1 – Speedy and Simple Upgrades
Perhaps the best — and truly undervalued — benefits of cloud-based association technology is the access to instant upgrades.
Upgrades are inevitable, and there will perhaps never be a method to avoiding them entirely, but just because they’re unavoidable doesn’t mean upgrades have to be a burden to your association’s staff.
With the handful of true cloud AMS options, upgrades occur digitally. There’s no need to walk around from association to association completing upgrades one at a time. That’s probably why, according to an e-book released by Microsoft, interest in on-premises systems has fallen by 30 percent since 2009.
2 – Get Access to Real-time Data
The old way, while it was the best practice of the time, also led to a handful of unintended consequences. According to Microsoft, as many as 25 percent of companies are still two software updates behind. And when you’re not able to upgrade quickly, you’re 8 percent less likely to receive data in a timely enough manner to make intelligent business decisions.
How to Find the Right Cloud-based Association Technology for Your Organization
1 – Pick the Right Platform
For member-based organizations already harnessing the power of Office 365 — all of those other applications you’ve been using for decades, plus new tools like Microsoft Teams and OneDrive — choosing technology built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform is the obvious choice.
Here are a few reasons Microsoft has the edge over its cloud-based competition:
- “Dynamics is competitively priced and flexible in its licensing model, making it more cost-effective and accessible for smaller businesses.” — Nigel Frank International
- Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure is only beat by Amazon. — Bloomberg
- “Microsoft offers users a robust line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enable users to make important business decisions with greater confidence.” — SelectHub
2 – Pick the Right Vendor
It’s not just a choice between Microsoft and other platforms. After you’ve picked the platform, ask yourself which vendor offers the best association-focused functionality. Then, ask which vendor has the best reputation.
Still need some more ammunition to convince your board to join the cloud? Download our free resource, “Your Guide to Simple, Effortless Upgrades.”
About the Author: Robert has more than 4 years of experience helping member-based organizations secure and maintain all aspects of their membership database, as well as other association technology.