Your association management software (AMS) vendor’s implementation approach is as important as the software.
As you consider moving to new association management software, 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.
AMS vendor management requires an effective strategy to handle various applications. You need to know how your software vendor will help you move toward implementation and what processes they can help you manage throughout the project. Consider factors such as the project’s scope, the timelines your vendors can meet and the engagement they’ll ask of your team. It’s critical to know how they’ll be working with you and to what extent they’ll be able to assess your requirements.
If you’re wondering how implementing association management software will look for your organization, we have some essential steps to keep in mind during the process. Know what to expect from vendors so that you can ensure a smooth, efficient operation throughout each stage of software implementation.
How to implement your association management software successfully
Implementing your AMS requires putting the best systems in place and creating a careful strategy to maintain the proper timeline and resource allocations. It’s essential to ensure that you have the options you need to begin implementation, and you must have a vendor whose approach fulfills your operational needs.
Many AMS vendors use the same basic implementation phases: Onboarding, Discovery, Implementation, and Launch. You can evaluate how different vendors will fit with your organization’s requirements by learning about how they’ll approach these steps.
Your vendor will begin with the onboarding process to form an official partnership with your organization. They will engage with your team and get set up to collaborate throughout the next steps of the AMS process. You’ll need to collect the appropriate documents and data to set up your enterprise’s relationship with your selected vendor and help you optimize the process in the future.
During discovery, your vendor team will work with you to determine your operational requirements, business goals, current capabilities and desired changes. They’ll take time to carefully evaluate the system you currently have in place and identify your pain points. This stage gains a complete picture of your requirements, workflow and any capabilities you currently lack and want to achieve with your new AMS.
In this step, it’s essential to know how your vendor will approach the discovery process. Your vendor needs to take an in-depth look at what you need, what you currently have and how you can fill any technological and operational gaps to help you implement the best solution for your systems.
Implementation moves your organization toward launching the new software. It’s the step where you integrate the software in place and prepare it to work with your current systems. Any changes to your workflow, new automated processes and other considerations will be a part of this stage. Your vendor will work with you to set up your AMS and ensure that it can deliver the capabilities you need as you move forward.
As the final step in the AMS process, you will now be ready to launch the new software. Your vendor will work with you to launch your AMS and make sure your operations work smoothly with the new software. The vendor’s team can address and find solutions for any potential challenges as you get started. Their effort helps you integrate your new program seamlessly.
You need a vendor who will help you set up a system that will grow with you, allowing for easy upgrades and scaling in the future if you require it. Depending on the vendor you choose, their approach to implementing association management software may differ, but it should follow this general outline.
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 the “Discovery” phase of implementation 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 for a high ROI
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.
AMS tutorials: 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.
Recommended read: Salesforce Einstein and Artificial Intelligence
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.
Keep your AMS project 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.
Work With Nimble AMS for Seamless AMS Implementation
At Nimble AMS, we’re here to provide trusted software solutions and an intuitive user experience for each of our customers. We’ve built our AMS on the Salesforce platform, and we’re committed to following Salesforce best practices and delivering optimal performance for your requirements. With built-in innovation and painless upgrades, we ensure your systems keep up with the latest technology for years to come.
Whatever your requirements are, we’re here to improve your processes and make the AMS process simpler for you. Our expert team can help you through each step and ensure you get a system that works seamlessly with your operations. From maintaining your current workflow to achieving your future goals, we’ll help you meet your business’s objectives and empower your entire organization with intuitive management tools. When you work with us, your association experiences customized, purpose-built solutions.
If you’re interested in learning about what we offer and how we can serve you as your AMS vendor, we’re ready to help. Reach out to us today for more information.