The American Foundry Society (AFS) is a non-profit association serving members of the metalcasting supply chain both in the United States and abroad. AFS serves more than 700 corporate members and close to 8,000 individual members including metalcasting suppliers and OEM facilities in more than 41 countries worldwide, covering all metalcasting processes and materials.
NimbleUser sat down with Mike Lakas, Senior IT Director for AFS, to hear about their customer journey that lead them to Nimble AMS.
Challenges AFS Faced
- AFS was no longer on a supported AMS platform. This posed a significant challenge as there was no future path or help for their AMS.
- Association technology industry lacked future-forward AMS options. The Senior IT Director had over 15 years of experience in the association technology space. He was looking to take AFS to the next level and had “been there, done that” with many of the Association Management Systems on the market. He knew he wanted a cloud-based solution and had already moved other organizational tools to the cloud.
- AFS was updating many aspects of their organization and their AMS troubles became the “elephant in the room.” Leadership recognized that changes were needed across the organization and the AMS was a cornerstone piece of that. Mike commented, “The AMS is every piece of the organization--you can’t get that wrong.”
AFS on Choosing Nimble AMS
“We went with platform and people. At the end of the day, you need both of those to succeed.”
- Mike had prior exposure to Salesforce and began his search for a Salesforce-based AMS. “Other vendors were structured like a private equity target and we did not want to hitch our wagon to that. At the end of the day, I knew Nimble AMS was a newer product. However it was built on a future-forward platform."
AFS was interested in a true partnership. Mike recalled his first impression of NimbleUser, “I remember thinking, ‘These people are really interested and want to make associations better. They understand all of the technical underpinnings.’ The people at NimbleUser struck me as above and beyond. They are definitely striving to be better than the status quo.”
- Not just another vendor. Mike commented, “I’ve worked with several AMS companies. By far, NimbleUser staff and culture is amazing. They have a start-up atmosphere with an experienced mentality. People on the project were Grade A experts, enthusiastic and wanted to see the project succeed. From implementation through to post-project support, I still feel like we are getting world-class service.”
“I feel like we went from circa 2008 technology to the leading edge of technology”
- Pain-free upgrades and always on the latest version. AFS no longer wanted to worry about costly upgrades or runaway projects like they had to with their old system.
- Empower staff and free up IT. Staff wanted to take control of their own data to create list views, run and create reports as well as produce exports of data without going through IT for simple information. The intuitive nature of Nimble AMS makes this possible. Mike remarked, “Staff are very excited over the ability to do point and click configurations to meet their requirements, a clear sign that Nimble AMS can evolve and grow with AFS to meet future needs.”
- Platform is power. AFS wanted to extend, connect and integrate the AMS data with various other systems without intensive manual work to make it happen. Nimble AMS, by virtue of the Salesforce App Cloud, is an innovation machine unmatched by legacy systems in this regard.
- Performance. AFS needed a system that maintained a high level of online performance for both the staff user and constituent. There are redundancies at all levels of the Salesforce infrastructure including power, internet service providers, networks, hardware, and software ensuring 24/7 performance and security.
- True technology partnership. AFS is a forward-thinking, innovative association and technology is not just a tool for them. It is a strategy. AFS became a first-mover and pioneer of the Nimble Integration Framework and recognized some cost savings by doing so. By partnering with NimbleUser and leveraging the Nimble Integration, AFS was able to reduce the overall cost of their implementation and integrate with several solutions, including:
- High Road Solutions (eMarketing)
- Results Direct (Content Management)
- Higher Logic (Community)
- Learning Management System
Cost Savings with the Nimble Integration Framework
What is the Nimble Integration Framework? In a nutshell, the framework simplifies these integrations so that inbound and outbound data is accessible to outside vendors without complicated architecture and without touching code. Because of the the Salesforce platform and powerful API, AFS didn’t have to spend valuable project dollars on integrating with other systems.
As Teri Carden of ReviewMyAMS.com said in an interview with Nimble AMS, “The ability to easily integrate middleware and have the systems play nicely with other tech solutions is SO important. If the API for the AMS is not open and reputable then integrations are tough and expensive."