Making the change to a new association management system (AMS) is an exciting time for your organization. It represents the opportunity to move forward to a solution that better meets your association’s needs. It’s a chance for your organization to evolve.
Once you’ve chosen your new AMS, then it’s time to implement it. This is a critically important phase for your organization, and it’s often the most intimidating. Your AMS is the software you use to manage all aspects of your association, and you need to get the implementation right.
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So, what’s the secret?
There’s no doubt that choosing an AMS vendor that offers a thoughtful implementation approach will make a huge difference in the success of your new system. For example, the Nimble AMS team builds best practices into the implementation process to make sure you get the most out of your new system right away.
Still, there’s one key thing your organization can do that’s the secret to a successful AMS implementation: As a collective team, determine your number one goal for the project. For example:
- Is hitting a specific deadline most important?
- Or, is it meeting a specific budget number?
- Or, perhaps addressing staff and member needs for specific functionality?
Before you say, “duh,” consider that all of these goals are likely worthwhile to your organization to some degree, and the main goal will change depending on which team you ask.
But, once all stakeholders can pinpoint and agree on the single most significant goal for the organization, you can work the other goals around it. Zeroing in on a number one goal helps guide decisions and unify your organization throughout the implementation process.
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On the flip side, not understanding your top priority can make your AMS implementation much more difficult. Here’s a real-world example:
An association was implementing their new system. Their chief financial officer had an extremely aggressive deadline for implementation so that the organization could end contracts with their old systems as soon as possible and save money. However, business users were comfortable with the older systems and processes they’d been using for years. They were having a hard time moving forward.
As a result, the business users piled on more and more requirements to try to replicate the “old way” of doing business (even though the whole point of moving to the new system was to operate more efficiently). Meanwhile, the IT team was stuck in the middle – trying to balance the needs of leaders who wanted to move faster and business users who wanted to slow down. (Needless to say, it got a bit chaotic.)
The implementation team asked the key stakeholders to take a step back and see how their competing goals were making it difficult to make progress. Once everyone was in alignment, the association was able to roll out change management programs. These programs helped the organization unite around a common goal and move forward.
The moral of the story
Making sure key stakeholders in your organization are aligned and focused on one goal will help your AMS implementation project succeed. If needed, ask your AMS vendor to help align your team and create programs to overcome resistance to and improve satisfaction with the new technology.