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Attending Protech’s First Customer Conference

Protech held their first annual users group conference last week in DC. I thought it was a pretty good effort, but I hate attending conferences at the Reagan Building. That building was designed to confuse me.

At any rate, once I was able to find the conference and the meeting rooms, I was pleased with what I saw and heard. Protech did a nice job of developing a cross-section of break-out sessions covering both technical and non-technical topics. They also announced that they will be working on developing a CRM for Members users group, which is great news. I’m constantly harping on my clients (and at the AMS vendors) to get active in their users group, and if there isn’t a users group, start one! (Here’s a short rant from several years ago: http://effectivedatabase.com/join_users_group.shtml).

CRM4M is  very promising product, but it will be much better served if the customers can get organized and communicate to Protech what their needs are.

One cool thing I learned: The link from CRM4M to Excel can be dynamic. That is, you can create a query, export it to Excel, and make the link dynamic to the website so that every time the Excel sheet is opened, it checks the database to see if data has been updated. Very cool!

A less cool note was that the Word merge capabilities in CRM4M only work through Outlook. That is, you have to be using Outlook as your database view (which is very cool in its own right) to use the Word merge capabilities. This is less cool because many users work from the web browser rather than from Outlook.

UPDATE: Full disclosure: EDM is an independent third-party consulting firm. This means we have no financial relationship with any of the vendors mentioned in this blog. We provide unbiased opinions on what we see.

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“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.”

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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
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