Making Sense of Association Management Systems

 In Association Management

Wouldn’t it be great if shopping for an association management system were as simple as buying a new shirt? You find one, try it on and – if it fits – you buy it.

Unfortunately, finding the right AMS is a much bigger headache than a trip to the mall. There are many vendors to wade through; a significant financial investment to consider; and, the uncertainty that you will be able to find and implement a system that your team will actually be able to use. Each AMS seems more complex and confusing than the last.

AMS satisfaction

It’s interesting–no one really seems to like the AMS they end up with. Click over to ReviewMyAMS.com and browse the critiques. The site offers user rundowns of dozens of AMS tools. What’s more, you can sort by type or organization they fit best, cost to implement and annual outlay. Still, if you dig in there, you’ll notice there are tons of unhappy AMS users for most products listed and few glowing reviews.

When choosing our AMS, we had the same struggle. Nothing checked all the boxes.  We tried several systems that all under delivered, and we struggled to find the right solution. We finally found the one that clicked. iMIS, offered by Advanced Solutions International, has been around for more than 20 years. Frontline has relied on it for more than 10 years.  In our experience, iMIS proves to be a useful, efficient AMS. It performs as promised, and it integrates well with other software and systems.

But keep in mind, all AMS systems have their challenges. A commitment to staff training on your new system is the key to success. I think we were probably working on it for two years before we were fully proficient in it. We could afford the time to ramp up; your association may not be able to.

Shortcut to AMS success

How, then, do you increase the chances of picking the proper AMS for you? Here’s a handy checklist to guide you:

  • Program features: Not every AMS will offer everything you want. Some might have more robust reporting. Others will offer better event management functionality, and so on. Know what you are willing to give on and what you must have.
  • Upgrades and updates: Many vendors do their darnedest to charge extra for every update, upgrade and add-on. Look for ones that provide those without nickel and diming you at every opportunity.
  • Training and support: It can take a long time to get up to speed. You might want to find an AMS provider with broad training and technical support, to shorten the time it takes you to implement.

Ask an expert

Considering the cost, complexity and time investment in acquiring an AMS, it’s a good idea to turn to expert advice. At Frontline, we’ve done a lot of groundwork and research into AMS tools – what they do and don’t do, time it takes to implement, and how they fit for different organizations. Not only can we save you the digging, but we also can make sense of the information out there. Our knowledge can steer you toward an AMS that hits all your marks – performance, price, support and more.

Need more information? That’s why we’re here! Reach out to Frontline–we’d love to answer all your AMS concerns and questions. You also might find our data systems selection guide helpful – access it for free here.

 

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