Subscribe to my newsletter EDM News
Another reason I prefer off-the-shelf software
22 November 2013, by , in Data Management, 2 comments

I’ve written several items in the past about why associations are better off with off-the-shelf association management software rather than trying to build their own. Another reason that I prefer off-the-shelf association management software is that when software is already designed, by definition it creates restraints. And restraints are good things.

I was working with a client recently, as we prepared to go live with their new AMS. We talked about how they originally (prior to hiring me) had decided to build a custom system from the ground up, but just in the nick of time they realized an off-the-shelf system would be cheaper and easier to implement than a custom system.

With nearly two dozen staff people having some type of input into how the system is to be used, they realized that the scope would be forever widening, since there was nothing but their imagination to limit what they could do.

But with their new off-the-shelf AMS, they had built-in constraints. Sure, the system could technically be customized to do anything they wanted to do, but customizations would be costly and time-consuming, and the vendor wasn’t very interested in doing them.

These constraints help staff to focus on the processes and objectives that are the most important, without getting side-tracked by trying to build a perfect system and managing to the exception.

Sometimes it’s good to be constrained.

About author:

2 Comments on "Another reason I prefer off-the-shelf software"

Peter Cromwell - 16 December 2013 Reply

Which companies do you stand behind, Wes ?

Wes Trochlil - 16 December 2013 Reply

My own, naturally.

Leave a Reply

Archives

Sign-up for EDM News

 

 

Testimonials

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
%d bloggers like this: