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Baseline Reports

While attending a users group meeting yesterday, I asked how many people in the room were using the baseline reports provided by the vendor. (Mind you, this is a system with literally hundreds of baseline reports.) Out of 40 attendees, three raised their hands. Fewer than 10% of the vendor's customers were using the baseline reports. Why? I have three theories:

  1. The reports are never complete. That is, the baseline reports tend to show very simple information, and staff tends to want more information than what is being displayed. So the baseline reports are a good start, but they're not useful standalone.
  2. The reports don't look like our reports. The baseline reports are, by definition, generic. And even though we can easily add our association's logo to the reports, they still don't look like the reports we've been using for years. And so, even if the report has essentially the same information as my old report, I want it to look like my old report.
  3. I don't trust the vendor's reports. If I have the reports built for me, or if I build them myself, I know what data the report is pulling. But I'm never really sure what the report is pulling in a baseline report.

Are any of these theories fairor reasonable? Probably not. But they are reality. And the message you can take is that regardless of how many baseline reports a vendor provides, your staff is probably going to ask for a lot more "custom" reports than you've budgeted for.

 

About author:
  • You’re Blog is very interesting, so forgive me for the multiple comments. I would also caution associations to be very strategic in the planning phase regarding the AMS reports they will actually need.

    With such busy schedules, association executives when asked what reports they need, tend to dump their entire list of report onto the list. Never mind the fact that many of them were created by predecessors and haven’t been accessed for several years.

    The problem – AMS providers budget both time and cost to create these reports. If it’s on the list, they’re assuming you need it. This means that the association is paying for reports that will never be used.

    Answer some important questions:

    What reports do I actually need to be successful in my job? Are any of the reports obsolete? Are there some reports that can be reduced to a single report in the new system? Can I live and work the new standard format?

    I also think AMS providers need to get better at explaining the baseline reports. Many times, users don’t even know that a report already exists.

    Taking the extra initiative on the front end to answer these important questions will spare everyone additional time and money – two very precious commodities!

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Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

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Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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