What associations can learn from a failed online learning launch

Outdated and poorly maintained technology can hurt your organization when you need it most. Here’s how to avoid trouble.

At Nimble AMS, we often talk about the struggles organizations have historically experienced with their association management software (AMS) upgrades. What we haven’t talked about as much are the real-life consequences of outdated software.

We recently heard about an unfortunate case in point in the news.

When in-person school was no longer possible, Fairfax County Public Schools, in Northern Virginia, launched virtual school for its 189,000 students. Troubles began immediately, with teachers and students having problems logging in to the online school system. Others who were able to log in experienced poor audio and frozen video. The challenges went on and on.

Why did this happen? A primary culprit was outdated software. Their online school system was seven (yes, seven) updates behind.

The painful consequences of outdated software

While Fairfax County Public Schools is not an association, their experience offers a valuable lesson for organizations: Outdated technology may seem relatively harmless, but it can leave you in an unfortunate and potentially damaging situation just when you need it the most.

On top of that, using outdated software can quickly lead to staff inefficiencies and a poor member experience. Even worse – you’ll miss important security updates. These can result in decreased member acquisition and retention rates, and ultimately threaten the long-term success of your association.

Moving to free, painless product updates

It’s not unusual for associations to neglect updates to their AMS. Reasons often include:

  • The cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars for each upgrade
  • The hassle of keeping up with updates
  • Getting staff on board with a change
  • The pain of dealing with broken integrations after upgrades, resulting in system downtime and requiring new, costly software customizations

One way to combat these problems is to start researching cloud-based AMS solutions. When doing your research, here are some items to consider:

  • What is the upgrade path of the solution?
  • Are upgrades included, or are they an additional cost for your organization?
  • Are you receiving upgrades for the platform and the AMS itself, or just one or the other?

That last question is tricky, but it’s one of the reasons we hear many associations choose Nimble AMS. It’s important to know that with, for example, a Salesforce-based solution, you are going to receive the three upgrades from Salesforce every year. That is guaranteed. But, are you going to receive upgrades to the AMS as well, or do those need to be considered as an extra cost?

Our customers not only receive the upgrades from Salesforce, but they also receive three Nimble AMS upgrades every year – and they are free and painless. (Yes, really.) We are pretty proud to say that we are the only enterprise-level AMS that offers this.

But, you don’t have to take our word for it – we recently heard from one of our customers about how it’s been to be a Nimble AMS user during this challenging time.

“We would not be functional at IHRSA today during this disruption had we not replaced our legacy AMS with Nimble AMS 2 years ago. We are able to stay connected to our team and our members like never before.”

-Anita Horne-Lawlor, Chief Operating Officer, International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association

Take the next step

As you consider AMS vendors, be sure to think about their approach to product upgrades. Don’t let the very software that’s supposed to help you manage your association end up being the thing that does the most damage.

Learn more about Nimble AMS and discover how customers have been liberated from painful and costly upgrades.