We’ve all heard the phrase “There’s no I in team.” Sometimes we think it’s easier to tackle projects alone, but often times, that can lead to feeling overwhelmed, a lack of transparency, and only a single perspective to make important decisions. But when it’s a project as large-scale as a membership software implementation, it impacts all levels of your organization and requires a group of people to oversee it.
A software implementation is one of the most time-consuming projects your team will face and assembling a strong team to play a part in this process will put your organization on a path for success and growth.
Typically, during an AMS software implementation, there are 5 phases.
- The Discovery and Design Phase
- The Building Phase
- The Validation Phase
- The Deployment Phase
- The Post-Production Phase
Depending on the size of your organization, it’s likely that many of your staff members will be focusing a significant portion of their time toward the implementation process. And, they’ll be juggling their day-to-day tasks. That’s a lot to accomplish each day!
When assembling your internal team, you want a broad representation from your organization—preferably at least one to two people from each department. However, you also want to be cognizant of how large the group is—having too many people can actually impede the implementation from staying on track. With a diverse group comes different opinions, feelings, and approaches to how things should be handled. You have to strike a balance, and that is something your team will have to determine since it varies with every organization.
So what else should you consider when reviewing a vendor consulting team and the estimated implementation costs?
Membership Software Vendors
If you choose to work with your software vendor during the implementation, then be aware of implementation costs that appear to be too good to be true.
When evaluating member management system providers, it’s best to take into consideration their experience level with implementations, especially ones that are similar to your organization and the industry that you work in. And, generally, if the providers have that experience, they’re able to deliver faster and also provide you more realistic estimates on implementation. They can even re-leverage prior work.
Exercise some degree of caution when dealing with software vendors that don’t implement the software themselves or have control over the underlying platform. If they don’t do the implementation, then sometimes it’s difficult to determine which party should be held accountable at the end of the day when there are support issues or system issues. It’s good to set those guidelines and expectations from the beginning.
With you and your team having to juggle your day-to-day jobs and the impending implementation process, it can be tempting to consider using a third-party implementation party to assist you. If you opt to do this, be sure to do your research. Make sure they are following best practices in the AMS software industry regarding implementation practices and that they aren’t endangering your upgrade path. The downside to having a third-party implementer is that they may not follow the software developer’s toolkit and might do what they feel is best practices and what they are most familiar with.
However, depending on your organization’s needs and your team’s bandwidth, it might make the most sense to work with a third-party. They can provide you with a structure to the implementation process and can help you move things alone. Just because one organization chooses not to go that route doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Research your options thoroughly before you proceed.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your partnership with your membership software vendor is akin to a long-term relationship. And like any serious partnership you enter in, you do a lot of research on the person. At least, I hope that’s the case!
Consider these questions as a start:
- Is the company privately owned?
- Are they Evergreen-certified?
- Is it public?
- Is it owned by a 3rd party PE firm?
- Are they investing their money into R&D and the customer base?
- Where do they see themselves in the future?
- Are they looking to sell in a couple of years?
- What is their financial position?
It’s better to be thorough rather than going in with a blind eye and regretting the partnership later on.
At the end of the day, you know your team members best of all so you can identify who are the right people to be involved in the implementation process from inside your organization. Maintain an open mind regarding whether you want to involve consultants from your AMS software vendor or a third-party implementer. And, most importantly, do your homework. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because the more you know, the better off you and your organization will be.
Wondering what else goes into member management system pricing besides people? Download our AMS Pricing Toolkit to learn more!