Your AMS vendor’s implementation approach is as important as the software

As you consider moving to new association management software (AMS), you likely think about what types of product functionality and best practices are built into the system. But equally important is your software vendor’s approach to implementing the system.

Many AMS vendors use the same basic implementation phases: Onboarding, Discovery, Implementation, and Launch. What’s important, and where the difference lies, is how they approach those phases. For example, you may hear a vendor talk about “Discovery,” but are they simply asking you a few questions or are they taking the time needed to fully understand your business goals and processes so they can implement your new AMS system in a way that truly meets your needs?

The Nimble AMS implementation team takes a unique approach to project implementation. We build best practices into the implementation process to make sure you get the most out of your new system from day one. Here are some of the best practices and guiding principles that we use for Nimble AMS implementations:

Getting “Discovery” right

You’re moving to a new AMS system for a reason: to operate more efficiently and more effectively. Simply re-building your same old processes the same old way in a new system likely won’t bring about those goals. Instead, we dig in to understand your goals, and then implement Nimble AMS in ways that best meet your needs. The way we look at it, you’re the expert on your business, and we’re the expert on our product. The more information we get about how your business works, the better we can figure out how to best configure the system for you. Not every Salesforce-based AMS vendor takes this deep approach to the Discovery phase of the implementation process, but after 25 years of experience using and implementing software for associations, I believe it’s critical to a successful AMS implementation.

Simply re-building your same old processes the same old way in a new system likely won’t bring about those goals.

Putting efficiency first

It’s important that you have a good return on your investment (ROI) in your new AMS system. That’s why we continually look for ways to configure Nimble AMS to support each of our customer’s most common processes, and steer clear of time – and cost- intensive customizations for less common processes.

Communicating clearly and frequently, whether it’s a 15-minute meeting or a weeks-long phase of implementation, it’s important that both your team and our team understand each other’s expectations. We make sure you know what’s happening with your project and that you see the project as it develops so there are no surprises and everything stays on track.

Using Salesforce Trailhead

Learning the Salesforce platform is important for any association using a Salesforce-based AMS like Nimble AMS. Trailhead is a series of online tutorials provided by Salesforce on beginner and intermediate developer topics related to the Salesforce platform. We provide our customers with a custom, written list of Trailheads that we recommend for each of our customers.

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Facilitating comprehensive user acceptance testing (UAT)

UAT is your opportunity to thoroughly vet your new system once configurations and development have been completed, but before your system goes “live”. This is such a critically important step that we work closely with each of our clients during UAT, offering a list of scenarios to test so you have the chance to thoroughly check that the system works the way you expect and need it to.

Staying flexible

The timing and circumstances of your AMS project will be unique to your organization. That’s why we’ve built our product implementation phases as a blueprint for Nimble AMS implementations, but keep it flexible enough to ensure we meet your specific business goals and work within any time constraints you may have.

Understanding how to use the AMS

The launch of your AMS is not the end of your project. It’s actually the beginning – the moment you begin using the product in your day-to-day world. It’s important that when you reach your “go-live” date, you understand your new AMS and feel self-sufficient with it. That’s why we offer the following resources:

  • Training built into each phase of the implementation process, so you’re prepared to manage your Nimble AMS system when it launches
  • A detailed Customer Success Guide, which includes step-by-step documentation on how to use your Nimble AMS system
  • Additional classroom and online training on Nimble AMS administration

The launch of your AMS is not the end of your project… it’s the beginning

As you narrow your list of potential AMS vendors, be sure to consider their approach to project implementation in addition to their product functionality. A thorough, collaborative approach to implementation will make all the difference between a project that falls flat and one that meets and exceeds your association’s goals today and for years to come.

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