Purchasing new membership management software is an investment in your organization’s future.
All the signs were there that it was time to reevaluate your association management software. You successfully proposed new member management software to your board. Budget was approved and you’ve found the ideal solution for your organization, but how can you be sure the project stays on budget as you move into the implementation phase?
Here are three tips to help keep implementation costs in line and the project in scope:
1. Prepare for change.
The more you can commit to following best practices, the more predictable and the lower your implementation costs will be. Following best practices, though, is directly tied to being ready for change.
What you’ve always done in the past won’t necessarily be the best way forward. After all, if you’re looking to do what you’ve always done, can you really expect different results?
Be open to the idea of change when your implementation team suggests a best practice. Sometimes this might mean that you’ll need to prompt those in senior management to accept a new process. Other times you might need to have a conversation with the board about changing policies and bylaws to adopt a new process.
Just remember: The result will be a system that best helps you achieve your organization’s goals. There might be new paths to get there, but the outcome will be better – and less costly – in the end.
2. Work in phases.
Most mid-to-large organizations have complex needs, so when you set out to gather your requirements, the list can get very long, very quickly. The best way to tackle this while keeping costs down is to work in phases. For example, plan to implement half of the full requirements in the first phase, then in the next quarter the second, and remainder in the third.
This might sound like more of a cost-delay than a cost-reduction model, but it’s not.
Here’s why: Organizations that decide to implement in phases typically find that once they go live after phase one and get comfortable with working in their new system, their total requirements are actually reduced. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything will be taken care of in phase one, but you might see your list of original requirements start to shrink after go-live.
And here are three more benefits of working in phases:
- You’ll be able to stop paying maintenance fees to your outgoing vendor once you turn your new system on. A phased implementation will have you doing that much sooner
- After phase one, you and your team will be familiar with the system, and you’ll likely find that it’s easier to move forward in a system that’s already up and running.
- Releasing incremental functionality after you’re live will save more time and money than if you converted everything all at once.
3. Avoid scope creep.
Does this sound familiar: It’s halfway through a home renovation project and, while everything is ripped up and exposed, you think, “Why not add another bathroom or redo the floors?”
The same goes for membership software implementation. Once you get into the implementation, those seemingly “little” requests and add-ons start appearing and start to add up.
Managing scope creep is one of the best ways to stay within budget. And this management should take place right from the start. Spending time up front to stay on track, versus veering off on new things toward the middle or end of the project, will save a considerable amount in time and money.
To that end, talk with your vendor’s implementation team about exactly what you want and need. Here’s why:
- These discussions often reveal greater detail about requirements.
- The implementation team can bring to light the needs and best practices of similar clients.
- The team might be able to suggest a requirement you’ll need for processes that will save you time and dollars in the future.
Successful AMS implementation is a process> You need the right team in your corner to help you avoid some of the common pitfalls with membership software implementation. Download our guide and contact us today.
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