We sat down with ReviewMyAMS.com founder, Teri Carden, to pick her brain about the Association Management Software (AMS) Industry. ReviewMyAMS.com gives association executives a space to speak openly and honestly about their AMS experiences.

Describe the future of Association Management Software (AMS). What trends do you see?
For associations looking to make a change in the near future, there’s no doubt that they’re asking the CRM question. They know they have options between CRM-based solutions or traditional AMSs. Associations are getting smarter and the options are becoming much more diverse. 

The ability to easily integrate middleware and have the systems play nicely with other tech solutions is SO important. If the API for the AMS is not open and reputable then integrations are tough and expensive. I am noticing that existing AMS vendors in the space understand the importance of this and am hopeful that universally AMSs are getting smarter and opening their APIs.

Associations are looking for an AMS that has a reputable API and can play well with other tech systems.
There’s another interesting dichotomy surfacing in the AMS world right now. Some AMS vendors are acquiring ancillary systems (job boards, Learning Management Systems, etc.) to offer a suite of services and products. Other AMS vendors are sticking with their core competency as an association management system. This shift is giving associations a lot of choices and creating a really interesting landscape in our technology world.
What themes do you hear time and time again?
At about 325+ reviews (we have 400 now!), we pulled a word cloud of all the titles and narratives of the reviews. Three of the top words included: customer, service and support. ReviewMyAMS.com is revealing those vendors that are doing support really well and those that are doing it poorly. It seems that support and customer service are what associations care about the most.
Associations care most about customer service and support.
Contrary to perception, nearly 60% of reviewers would recommend their AMS. That statistic has made a lot of heads tilt. I think the common perception is that everyone hates their AMS.
I have an existing hypothesis regarding the correlation between the amount of time that a user has been using the product and how satisfied they are. It appears that the longer someone uses a product, the more satisfied they are. I think we can interpret that to mean “give your system a chance.” Even if you’ve been an end user for a year, you still need more time on the system to get a handle of all its capabilities. Stay tuned as I pull together the research on that.
What do association executives wish they had known before selecting an AMS?
One of the reasons I built ReviewMyAMS.com is that the AMS selection process depends so much on what the sales teams are saying. In each of my 4 vendor selection processes, it was without fail that the AMS wasn’t able to deliver on what they said at the price they quoted. There were a lot of surprises. The more information you can get upfront about the system the better. Selecting and AMS is a big decision and I highly encourage associations to not go at it alone. Working with a consultant is a smart decision as they know the pitfalls of this process. This is the biggest, most expensive decision an association can make. It’s really important to get it right.
“Selecting an AMS is the biggest, most expensive decision an association can make. It’s really important to get it right.”
-Teri Carden
What tops the list of evaluation criteria that you see associations using?
There are an abundance of features available within the systems today. Reporting and Business Intelligence have been a hot topic lately. Another biggie is how the AMS is structured to handle the type of associations (professional, trade, hybrid). Each association is different so associations must do a needs assessment before even starting the search.
Catch up with Teri Carden and the ReviewMyAMS community at the upcoming AMS Fest in Crystal City on September 17th.  
Who should attend AMS Fest?
The ideal attendee for AMS Fest will be one who is looking to expand capabilities with their organization’s existing data OR one who is considering an AMS change for their organization in the next 24 months. Ultimately we need to understand what makes our members tick, what concerns them and then serve them better. Our AMS and our data is the foundation to do that. Association executives – register before August 15th for $125, space is limited.
About Nimble AMS
Nimble AMS is a CRM-based Association Management System built on the Salesforce CRM platform, the world’s leading CRM. By virtue of the AppExchange and the robust API, associations are able to hand-pick those third party applications (Email, Learning Management etc) that best suit their trade or professional association’s needs.

Nimble AMS will be at AMS Fest as a supporting sponsor and we’d love to talk with you. Contact us today.