How many times have you heard someone say that they want to make a difference?
Nurses, doctors, teachers, charity workers, and professionals from all generations long to love their work and make a difference in other people’s lives. It’s one of the most pervasive aspirations in our society, and its one that many people struggle to fulfill.
That brings us to the topic of you. How lucky are you?
As an association professional, what you do makes a difference every day. You’re working to improve your members’ lives or make meaningful social and legislative changes. Your work really does make a difference.
Association professionals dedicate themselves to making a difference every day and they’re often very passionate about their work. So to be as effective as possible, they buy association-specific software systems.
The problem is that most association technology only does one thing really well. Event software plans and manages events, but it won’t take care of your membership dues, for example. To take care of all your needs, you need to make multiple technology purchases.
Each association software system you purchase comes with its own price tag and often needs to be hooked to your other systems through integrations, which can cause problems with data and support. What you end up with is not just best-of-breed functionality, but a hodgepodge of systems loosely strung together.
In most cases, a hodgepodge of systems is not the more effective way for associations to carry out their missions. Consolidating your technology systems until you have as few as possible can clean up your association’s technology, budget, and improve staff efficiency. It can save you time, money, and headaches so you can focus on what’s really important: making a difference for your members.
6 Benefits of Consolidating Your Association Software
You know it is a good idea to streamline your workflow and save money, but you might not know exactly how you’ll make that happen. Here are six of the top benefits that associations see when they consolidate their technology.
These benefits are usually greatest when you consolidate into a single all-in-one membership management platform, but you’ll likely see improvements even if you just consolidate one or two systems.
Benefit #1) Improve Your Budget
Budgetary advantages and disadvantages always depend on the association, but many organizations save money when they switch to an all-in-one AMS solution.
With an all-in-one system you can eliminate implementation and monthly fees from all your separate systems including your survey engine, online community platform, and event software. You only have one system to pay for and it usually includes every module in a single price. This often ends up being much cheaper, sometimes even to the tune of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per year.
Benefit #2) Simplify Training
Each of your technology systems has a different user interface and toolset, so you have to train your staff separately on every system. Your staff may even need to go through additional training any time the system is updated in the future.
With three, four, or five technology systems, that training adds up fast.
If you have fewer systems, then you have fewer toolsets that you need to teach your staff to use. That helps you cut down on training both now and in the future when rollouts and updates occur.
If you choose to consolidate your technology into an all-in-one association management system, then you may also get cross-training benefits. Since your entire staff will be working on the same system, membership managers will have an easier time using event tools, and vice versa.
Benefit #3) Provide a Seamless Member Experience
No one enjoys jumping from system to system inputting their information multiple times just to make a purchase or register for events. In a single system, this isn’t a problem. Updated information from your membership database will automatically pull through to events, community, and other online areas, ensuring that your members only need to update their information once.
A single system can also help with logins. Members only need to log in to one system to have all the tools and activities they want at their disposal. There’s no hassle with extra passwords or disconnected systems.
Benefit #4) Better Data Flow
All technology has its errors and introducing outside connections, like integrations with other systems, increases the likelihood of error messages and lost data.
- What if your systems have trouble connecting one day?
- What if some of your data doesn’t transfer correctly?
Fewer systems means fewer data flow paths where errors can occur. An all-in-one system, for instance, keeps all its data in a single location so there are no information transfer or integration headaches.
Benefit #5) Faster Customer Service
This is one of the most important hidden benefits of decreasing the number of software platforms your association uses. It’s also one with financial implications that are often overlooked by association executives.
Even if you love every one of your technology systems’ customer service option, troubleshooting problems will go faster if you only have one system. You won’t waste time calling your event software provider when the problem is actually with your membership management system, for instance.
With just one number to call you know you’re getting to the right place the first time, so you can spend your conversation getting to the root of the issue and finding a solution. That not only saves time, it saves money because your employees get back to more productive tasks more quickly.
Benefit #6) Fewer Update Issues
When you have separate systems that are integrated together, updates to one system can affect the others. For example, an update with your event software could affect data flow to your online community platform. Your association then has to go through troubleshooting steps or additional training to learn how to use updates and integrations correctly.
That takes time and energy that would be better devoted to other tasks, like member acquisition and retention campaigns.
All-in-one association management software contains all the tools you need and is updated as a single piece. There’s no extra work required to figure out how an update to one system affected another. It’s seamless, so you can focus on more important responsibilities.
Consolidating Association Technology Takeaway
While you’ll get the biggest consolidation benefits from all-in-one AMS software, anytime you reduce the number of systems you have, even by one or two, you’ll see improvements.
That’s because whenever you have more than one system you either have to integrate it or manually transfer data between disconnected systems. Both these options can result in lower data quality due to integration or human error, and require more maintenance and training.
With fewer technology systems you’ll reduce or even completely eliminate these issues. You’ll also provide a smoother experience for your staff and your members.