What is the single biggest problem associations face when implementing AMS software? Is it having trouble training workers on the system? Paying for the software? The process of installing the software onto the systems? In our experience, the single biggest problem associations face is failing to define what issues and problems the software is supposed to solve in the first place. It’s like reading a map—if you don’t start out from the right position, you’ll never end up in the right place.
Failing to Define the Problems You’re Trying to Solve
It’s not always easy to candidly define the problems that your software needs to address. Part of the reason why this is difficult is the “forest for the trees” issue. Most of your staff are so used to the current processes and procedures that it’s difficult for them to visualize what’s wrong or how things could be different. The other part of the problem is that employees, as well as executives and managers, don’t want to openly criticize the current system or processes. But it’s important to get all of the negative thoughts and feelings about the current situation out there and realistically define what needs to be different in a new system. It’s OK to outline the negative, especially when the object of the exercise is to find a better way.
Failing to Identify the Metrics to Measure Success
Once you identify what needs to be improved, you need to establish metrics to measure when it has improved. Goals need to be tangible as well as realistic. For instance, “we want to improve re-enrollment” isn’t a real goal, because how do you tell when you’ve reached it? Theoretically, a re-enrollment improvement of just 1percent would meet this goal. Instead, establish clear objectives, like “we want to improve re-enrollment rates by 5 percent by end-of-year.”
Failing to Come to an Organizational Consensus
It’s also common for a select group of staff or even a small inner circle of executives to decide what the association needs and choose software on its own. This simply doesn’t lead to choosing software that reflects the association’s true needs. Input from across the organization is essential, because each team and department has different needs, processes, and problems to be addressed. Get input from everyone, and then allow an informed committee to make an educated decision, keeping everyone’s issues in mind.
Trying to Find a Magic Cure Instead of a Viable Solution
Software isn’t a magic cure that can fix all the world’s problems. It’s a remedy for automating well-designed processes and making
the work more efficient.
Don’t go into association management software selection thinking that it’s going to be an elixir to fix all woes. Automation can only improve processes to the extent that those processes are defined and automated. In other words, if the processes are poor to begin with, automation can’t fix that. Realize that the first step is to identify what needs to be improved and what the best way of going about it is. Then you can select an association management system that does that, and implement automated processes that are measurably improved.
To find out more about setting expectations and managing change during an implementation, download the eBook today.