“You need to upgrade.” Has there ever been four words that evoke more fear in association executives and IT staff everywhere?
There’s an uncanny distaste to upgrading AMS software, similar to the response engendered when you find out it’s time to renew your driver’s license. You’ll put off that trip to the DMV indefinitely (or if you’re similar to me, until you need to board a flight). There are many causes for this irrational fear.
Some of it is general risk-aversion, but much is fed by trumped-up horror stories about exorbitant costs, ever-extending timelines, and complete-and-utter monopolization of staff time. Adding to the fear is the lingering thought that that once you move forward with an AMS upgrade, a newer version will be released, rendering all the hard work irrelevant.
While these horror stories were very real considerations at one point in time, they are grounded in an early 2000s software mentality, and no longer relevant or productive in the current software market. However, the fear they produce can still be crippling, and cause competing options on the table—especially the “do nothing” option–to seem rather appealing. While the status quo might seem like the safe choice, it can do irreparable harm to your organization and turn upgrade fears into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
At Aptify, we don’t believe upgrades should be feared – they should be easy – which is why having a guaranteed upgrade path has always been part of our brand promise and is a critical component of our 2017 painted picture. Although not every organization needs to be on the bleeding edge, there are three key reasons everyone should consider upgrading, regardless of what AMS they use:
1. Business Evolves…and You Need to Evolve with It!
Think back to when your organization implemented its AMS. How many years has it been? How many of your staff have turned over since then? How has your business changed? Your industry changed? Associations are constantly striving to find new revenue sources to diversify away from the traditional reliance on membership dues. Upgrading ensures that these new revenue streams can be accommodated, and the system is relevant in the context of the current business climate rather than an outdated model.
2. Technology Changes
Implementations are difficult and intense. Decisions whether or not to configure the system are made for a variety of reasons, but those decisions don’t always stand up to the test of time. Oftentimes, these decisions were made because of a gap, or perceived gap, in the product that has since been fixed. Upgrades provide a great opportunity to take stock in what you have, and make sure that business processes are conducted by the best possible way given the current state of technology. A great example of this is the introduction of web clients, which didn’t exist ten years ago but are revolutionizing the way associations engage with their members.
Security isn’t sexy. It’s not pretty, and is something that few people, if any, appreciate in an AMS. In fact, security is something that you hope to never hear about. It’s only mentioned when something goes terribly wrong. The best way to make sure security becomes an issue is to stay running on older technologies, which are not always supported and easier to exploit. Upgrading will help minimize the risk of attack and keep your member data protected.
We can all think of many reasons to not upgrade. It’s not a risk-free proposition, and something could go wrong. These thoughts make inaction seem like a seductive option. However, the risk of not upgrading is far greater and the benefits will ensure our businesses keep moving forward.
If your plans do involve an AMS upgrade, knowing the difference between configuration and customization can greatly save you both time and money.