Technology is intended to make our daily activities easier and more efficient.
From collaborating with team members to communicating with constituents, developing technologies continuously introduce new ways to approach work in every industry. For associations, technology success requires that it effectively support the organizational mission. Given the dynamic nature of technology development, associations must consider how it can support their work more effectively while also meeting evolving member needs and expectations and adhering to tight budgets. That’s not an easy task.
Here are six things to keep in mind to make the most of that all-important technology investment.
- Integration is the key.
A primary goal for your technology should be to create a remarkable, seamless member journey. That can’t truly happen if you’re working with disjointed technologies operating in silos. You may have lots of wonderful tools at your disposal but if you aren’t integrating them, you’re not getting the value from them. So for example, if you have a great Association Management Software (AMS), a sophisticated marketing automation tool, and a state-of-the-art Learning Management System (LMS) but aren’t seeing the results you hoped for, it’s probably because they’re not fully sharing that all-important member data. Before investing in additional technologies, assess your current level of integration. Is each system fully cooperating with the other? Are existing integrations built with newer technologies to ensure a viable upgrade path, whether cloud or on-premise? Sometimes upgrading existing technologies to facilitate integration is vital.
- Don’t try to follow the tech trends.
Organizations in all industries are guilty of buying new software simply because they don’t want to miss out on emerging trends. Before any IT investment, you should first examine your goals and determine what technology is needed to help you meet them. Only after you have fully assessed your organizational needs and identified the best tech solutions for achieving them should you invest in additional software.
- Keep your eye on the prize.
Your AMS will take up a large portion of your IT budget. That’s a fact in the membership organization landscape and there’s no getting around it. In addition to the initial cost of implementation, there are annual maintenance and subscription costs to consider. But despite the expense, skimping on a business-critical system is never a good idea because it will ultimately impact your membership’s level of satisfaction. Don’t make the mistake of valuing short-term savings over long-term benefits. This holds true for all fundamental technologies.
- Flexibility matters.
Have you considered what will happen to the cost of your existing technologies if your membership suddenly increases or declines dramatically? Will you be faced with substantial costs for additional capacity or left paying for space you no longer need? It’s best to consider solutions that can readily be scaled according to your usage. Cloud-based systems typically allow users to easily move across subscription levels to meet changing needs.
- Don’t make technology choices in a bubble.
Your members expect technology to support and enhance all aspects of their experience. To address that effectively, technology decision-making and strategic decision-making must go hand-in-hand. Ideally, that means projecting two to three years out when planning technology investments, having a process for reviewing technology projects, and a forum in place to discuss technology issues or initiatives.
- Move beyond the ‘same old, same old’.
In general, associations need to move away from being reactive and merely investing in tech when it’s needed to replace or upgrade outdated infrastructure. Instead, take the opportunity to be transformative and make shrewd technology investments that have the power to propel your organization to the forefront in the future.
Technology is increasingly becoming the face of the association for members and stakeholders around the world. To maintain a competitive edge in the future, it will be necessary to focus on rigorous decision-making processes and taking a proactive approach to investments.
Are the right technology solutions in place for your membership organization? If you are unsure, IBC can help. Our team of tech experts will answer your questions and guide you through every step of the process. Please contact IBC’s friendly professionals to get started.
About IBC: At IBC, we have a deep understanding of the critical business needs and processes specific to associations, non-profits, and unions. We ‘get’ your culture, your goals, and what drives you, too. Focused exclusively on and dedicated to delivering the most effective AMS, LMS, and Virtual Event Solutions for our clients, we’re well-versed in identifying and applying the integration techniques that will save you time and money. Since 2001, our cutting-edge products, unparalleled responsiveness, and award-winning services have helped organizations like yours increase their operational and financial performance by leveraging best practices and proven solutions. For more information about IBC, please visit the website at www.ibconcepts.com or call 443.603.0215.