Which is better: an AMS system built on a CRM platform or one built on a proprietary platform?

When you’re looking for the right association management software (AMS) for your organization, you have multiple options. For large membership-based organizations, one of the primary AMS choices is between systems that are built on top of a customer relationship management (CRM) platform and those that are built on a proprietary platform.

Both types of AMS systems have their own benefits. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Benefits of CRM platform-based AMS systems
The two most common CRM platforms that these types of systems are based on is Salesforce and Microsoft CRM. Some benefits of AMS systems built on these platforms include:

  • The platforms are part of a greater ecosystem of third-party apps that have built-in integrations with the platform. This makes it easy to extend the capabilities of the AMS through apps.
  • The CRM platforms focus on all industries, not just the association industry, so they are continuously investing in their CRM functionality.
  • These systems typically follow a true software as a service (SaaS), multi-tenant model.

If you’re looking for more of an off-the-shelf solution with automated upgrades that your organization doesn’t have to plan for or think about, then this type of system might be right for you.

Benefits of an AMS system on a proprietary platform
AMS systems build on a proprietary platform, like Aptify AMS, are built from the ground up specifically for membership management, versus being built on top of a CRM platform.

AMS systems built on proprietary platforms are built on common programming languages like SQL Server and .NET. These are languages that are already familiar to many IT professionals. In contrast, with a CRM platform-based system, the platform’s underlying programming language might be proprietary. This means that your IT staff would need to be trained on the programming language for the platform.

One of the key benefits of a proprietary AMS system like Aptify AMS is that it gives you greater control over and flexibility with the system. Your IT team can build, develop, and configure on top of it. So, it’s an ideal choice for organizations with complex needs.

TECH TIP: Aptify AMS is unique from other AMS systems in that it was built as a development platform, with an AMS built on top. This approach focuses on flexibility and control, allowing membership-based organizations to easily build new apps, modules, and integrations as they need them.

Considerations for your choice of AMS system
In addition to considering the benefits of CRM versus proprietary platform for your AMS system, there are other factors to weigh in your decision. For example:

  • Cost of integrations – Some CRM platforms charge for data exchanges between the platform and third-party applications. So, if your organization will be passing lots of data back and forth, it could get pricey over time.

TECH TIP: Aptify AMS does not charge for data exchanges between Aptify AMS and third-party applications.

  • Licensing – The two types of platform-based systems typically follow the SaaS-based licensing model which is based on number of users. It’s important to ask the vendors you’re considering how they handle things like member and chapter access to the member-facing portal in your system to ensure you understand how they are counted in the user-based licensing model.
  • Implementation – It’s important to have a well-defined scope of needs for your AMS system so you can be sure to receive accurate pricing from each vendor for implementation of the system.

Learn more
This article includes just some of the differences and considerations of CRM versus proprietary platforms for your AMS system. Watch the on-demand webinar, Which AMS Platform is Right For You?: CRM-Built vs. Flexible Solutions to find out more. In this Q&A-style webinar hosted by ReviewMyAMS, the Aptify team helps you navigate the different types of solutions on the market today.


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