The three key ingredients to a successful AMS implementation at your association

Tis the season of holiday parties, baking delicious treats, and preparing to implement association management software (AMS) in the new year! Is your association updating its software budget and attempting to get staff buy-in for your innovative AMS? 
 
We’re here to guide you through your AMS implementation with three key ingredients to ensure your association has a recipe for software success.

How to get staff buy-in for a successful AMS implementation 

After your association has completed an AMS RFP and has selected the best software vendor, you’ll be ready to implement your AMS. Implementing a new AMS at your member-based organization can take time and prove to be challenging, however, it is well worth your efforts.  
 
When you focus on getting staff buy-in across your organization, you’re more likely to have a successful AMS implementation. Here’s how to get started:

1. Select your core AMS leadership team 
The first vital ingredient in a successful AMS implementation is choosing the employees on your adoption team. Try choosing a diverse team of staff to ensure you get buy-in from a wide range of employees. Consider adding staff executives, IT leaders, and employees who work with your members, learning program, finances, or marketing initiatives.  
 
Including a diverse group of staff will ensure you have different perspectives for your AMS implementation. Additionally, as you begin to adopt your AMS, your core team can become software leaders and help staff in their divisions learn the new technology.  
 
When we finally decided we would look for a new AMS, we made everything a group effort to make it happen,” says Natasha Rocheleau, Nimble AMS Customer and the Associate Director of Operations at the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME). “We chose a core group of six staff members to meet weekly to discuss the AMS implementation process. We’re quite close and work well together, focusing on working as a team.”

2. Try focusing on teamwork during your AMS implementation  
The second important ingredient in your AMS adoption process is including your entire group during the implementation stage. When you emphasize the larger group as you adopt your AMS, your organization is more likely to experience a successful process. Here’s whyinitially, getting your staff on board to adopt new software can be a challenging prospect.  
 
To streamline this process, communicate early and often with all your association staff, to increase your chances of a successful AMS implementation. Consider including all employees in software demos with your new vendor so they can learn how to use your AMS before you completely implement it. Having all your staff work with your new vendor will establish trust with your new AMS and increase employee software understanding. 
 
“Every aspect of our implementation has been a group effort, says Rocheleau. It’s been a collaborative effort from day one. Every team member was part of every demo from the very beginning. And if you ask me that was the key to a successful implementation.”

3. Get your executive director on board
Finally, the last crucial ingredient to executing your AMS implementation is to ensure your executive director is ready to lead throughout the process. Obtaining executive leadership buy-in will guarantee a successful AMS implementation across all staff teams. Having your executive director’s support will also help you navigate the process of launching AMS access to your members.

Ideally, your executive director will join the AMS journey in its early stages, guiding your team efforts as you conduct a technology assessment, work to adopt a flexible tech budget, create an RFP, and finally make your new software selection. If your executive director has come into your AMS selection process later—that’s okay—you can get them caught up and trained with the rest of your association staff. Additionally, ensure they’re on the core AMS leadership team so they can listen to diverse staff perspectives as you implement the software.

Rocheleau explains the success of having an executive director paint a vision of teamwork during AMS implementation: “My boss, the executive director, never told our core AMS team what to do. He said, ‘we’re going to do this together as a team.’ He trusted us to take the lead in our AMS search. From day one our executive director was part of each selection demo and it’s been a collaborative effort each step of the way.”

In 2022, the Nimble AMS Team nominated Natasha Rocheleau for the Association Women Technology Champions award for doing outstanding work to advance technology in associations. Rocheleau has demonstrated her leadership and resolve throughout the Nimble AMS implementation at SAME.

“Natasha Rocheleau’s approach to transitioning SAME to Nimble AMS was the foundation of their successful launch. She put in the time to not only learn the product herself but also worked with her team to make sure they had the tools and knowledge they needed to succeed. She never stopped at understanding what the product could do – she wanted to know how and why. This curiosity and dedication to the notion that technology is only as strong as the user will benefit her organization for years to come,” says Nimble AMS Project Manager, Diana Thomlinson.

Are you looking for more tips to successfully implement an AMS at your association?

Learn from the success of one of Nimble AMS’ association customers—The Society of American Military Engineers—to discover more ways to adopt an AMS by having your entire staff embrace the software.

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