Association Technology Trends That Will Drive Innovation in the 2020s

Which association technology trends should you be aware of in the 2020s? Protech’s Charlie Sapienza has the answers.

By Charlie Sapienza, Account Executive     

Conversations surrounding software used to focus on the importance of “powerful” solutionsExecutives needed to know if a system could handle the entire organization’s administrative processes – from accounting and email marketing, to event management and e-commerce. 

Today, many enterprise technology platforms have incorporated innovative tools to scale automation and coordinate workflows between applicationsmaking power less of a priority. 

So, if we’re not focusing as much on overall functionality of software, what are we focusing on? Here are three association technology trends for 2020 and beyond that will keep you ahead of the curb in the digital transformation economy. 

Association Technology Trends to Watch in the 2020s

Ease-of-Use 

Sure, your association has a robust system that centralizes data and automates tedious activities in your day-to-day operations, but what good is it if none of your staff knows how to utilize it properly?  

The user experience should be simple. Modern software should be easy to navigate. Like an app on your phone, association technology needs to be intuitive enough for staff to inherently understand how to navigate and interact with it.  

One of the best places to start shopping for user-friendly association technology is Association TRENDS AMS Fest. Hosted twice per year, it is the go-to event for association executives, vendors, consultants and other professionals to talk about everything AMS. You will also find a similar experience at ASAE TEC at the end of the year. (We discussed themes of the last TEC event here) 

At either of these events, ask your colleagues which platforms, services and frameworks they are familiar with so that you can align their skills and experience with software that they can easily navigate. 

Collaboration 

Digital transformation for professional and trade associations is nearly impossible without clear communication with your entire staff. Your colleagues need to understand the strategic goals and focus on how their work impacts other departments. 

That’s why collaboration tools — like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Twist — are a hot commodity in the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. Some teammates may prefer Slack to improve inter-departmental work flowsThe Protech team has noticed the fast-growing popularity of Microsoft Teams. 

But where can you go this year to learn more on collaboration apps? 

If you’re looking for a big party atmosphere, then the 2020 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition in Las Vegas is just the ticket. For something more intimate and focused, head out to Higher Logic’s Super Forum. 

Just like finding tools that are easy to use, take time to review and evaluate the various options available in order to find one that will optimize communication between your departments. Some tools might have higher quality video-chat functionalities, while others are better at sharing different document styles and presentations. Prioritize those needs and you’ll be well on your way to a more cohesive association. 

Analysis 

Data is only useful if it can be analyzed and drive decision-making.  

Nonprofit professionals are looking to gain deeper insights about their members. They are segmenting their data by demographics, transaction history and member types. Business intelligence capabilities will clarify why members retain their membership or leave, or why they purchase certain products. 

Enterprise platforms are investing heavily in business intelligence. For Microsoft, that can be seen in their development of the Power Platform which allows non-developers to create their own apps with “low-code” capabilities. 

Solutions Day from .orgCommunity is a great event for manager-level attendees to discover creative projects and programs that are giving associations unique datasetsLast year, it was interesting to see the development of digital wallets and how event managers organized game-show style award programs. 

Closing Thoughts 

Along with being “powerful,” your database system now needs to be easy to use, allow for clear communication between staff and be intuitive by automating advanced analytics reports. 

Trends in technology change far more quickly than trends in other industries. Just think about how far AMS functionalities have come in less than a decade. So we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for how these trends develop throughout the year.  

Lastly, for all the associations and nonprofits out there in Washington D.C., head on out to DCA Live events and connect with your peers! 

Watch our webinar 2020 Association Trends: Where to Go to Stay Ahead to learn more on these upcoming association trends and events.