Sig VanDamme, Founder
The “Cloud” has many different interpretations.  Some think the cloud simply means that the application can be accessed thru a web browser.  

That simply isn’t the case.. ​

Hosting <> Cloud


The True Cloud embodies the following:

  • Born in the Cloud
    The True Cloud Association Management System (AMS) is built from the ground up as a cloud solution and not fiddle-fudged into a “Cloud AMS”.  If your AMS is more than 6 years old it is likely a legacy application that is hosted (we have even seen some that are delivered using Citrix or Terminal Services).   

    Most AMS systems that are billed as running “in the cloud” were originally designed to run on-premise. These vendors usually do not host, manage, or maintain these “cloud” AMS solutions.  Typically, they turn responsibility over to a local value-added reseller. This is reminiscent of how application service providers (ASPs) operated decades ago and most of them went out of business for good reason.

  • Multi Tenancy
    In the true cloud all customers access the same solution from the same cloud. This gives customers continuous and instantaneous access to the latest product upgrades.
  • Cost / Worry Free Upgrades
    Association Software in the true cloud ensures frequent, free, and automatic software upgrades that have minimal (like 5 minutes or less) downtime.  Without frequent upgrades your AMS will quickly become out of date (Related:  AMS of the Lost – 7 signs that your AMS may be a dinosaur)
  • Scalability
    Is the AMS built on a platform of thousands of servers or is it hosted on in a data center somewhere?  This matters – ask your AMS how many transactions they process per day and how fast they process each one.  Most enterprise cloud applications will make this available via a status panel.  For example here is what Salesforce shows on their trust site:  ​

  • Innovation
    What kind of R&D investment is your AMS Provider putting into your platform to make it better?  Enterprise cloud platforms are pouring hundreds of millions of dollar every year into making the product better and more innovative (Example – Salesforce is on track to spend $900 Million on R&D this year alone)
  • Low TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
    With the True Cloud AMS your organization gets more value for money. An enterprise cloud platform like Salesforce can achieve substantially better economies of scale and pass the savings onto you.
  • Security and Integrity
    No system can be entirely secure. But when you are part of a true cloud solution like one based on Salesforce there are many more resources to protect your data. Salesforce meets the highest standards set in the IT and audit practices in the US and overseas. Compliance at this level requires significant resources and effort that is simply out of reach of typical AMS providers.
  • Customization
    The True Cloud AMS provides a platform that allows you to  customize your application on their platform, AND ensure that all of your customizations continue to work when new versions are released.  This gives you the peace of mind that your organization is  getting to use the latest functionality without delay and that customizations do not need to be constantly re-implemented every time a new version of the AMS comes out.

    The best platforms also have an app store to extend your association software.  For example the Salesforce Appexchange has thousands of apps to empower your association to better meet member needs.  ​

How Can You Tell If Your AMS Is In The True Cloud?  Ask These Questions:

  • Is every customers on the same version?
    If the answer is no it is obvious they are not a multi-tenant application.
  • How long has your AMS been around?
    If it is more than 6 years old it is likely that it was not born in the cloud but somehow forced into what the vendor now markets as a cloud based application.
  • Are upgrades free, frequent and painless?
    If the answer is no this is an indicator that the AMS in question is in the fake cloud.
  • Is the word “Hosted” used?
    If the vendor says that the AMS is hosted on Amazon Web Services or in a Tier one data center it is likely that it is not a true cloud application.  The server(s) it runs on will still need patching and it will not have the scalability of a true cloud application.  ​

Two Huge Pitfalls of the False Cloud:


  1. Jaw Dropping Upgrade Costs / Pain
    Last week I talked with an organization that just spent $2 million dollars on an upgrade.  This upgrade came within 11 months of their $4 million dollar implementation.  To make matters worse the system was unavailable for 4 days and many of their customizations were not carried over or did not function correctly.
  2. Lack of Innovation
    The True Cloud make it much easier for vendors to release new and innovative features.   There is only one version to support / maintain so the vendor can concentrate on delivering features versus maintaining legacy versions.

Is Nimble AMS in the True Cloud?


Absolutely.  Nimble AMS is 100% on the Salesforce Platform and Salesforce is the poster child of cloud computing.  
Some Facts:

  • Nimble AMS and Salesforce were built from the ground up in the cloud.
  • Nimble AMS and Salesforce are multi-tenant applications (always have been and always will be).
  • Every Nimble AMS and Salesforce customer is on the same version.
  • Nimble AMS features no cost / no worry upgrades 3 times/year.

About NimbleUser/Nimble AMS:

NimbleUser has been helping associations and nonprofits become nimble through technology since 1992. Our flagship product, Nimble AMS, is an enterprise class association management system (AMS) built on the Salesforce App Cloud, the world’s leading and most innovative customer relationship management (CRM) system. Contact us today.