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Does your technology have a single point of failure?

If you read my work, you know that I have a strong bias for off-the-shelf (OTS) software for managing an association. I’ve written extensively about why that is, but one the most important reasons for using OTS software is that the software is supported by a company rather than a single person.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to help hundreds of associations select new AMS software. One of the more common reasons I hear from associations who are switching systems is something along these lines:

“We have a custom-built system that is supported by a lone contractor, a guy we hired to do this ten years ago. He’s getting ready to retire, so now we need to find a new system, since our current system will no longer be supported.”

This is a single point of failure. And it’s very risky.

A similar situation is when an association has only one staff person who actually knows how to use the AMS. While the AMS may be supported by an outside company, with only one staff person knowing how to use the AMS, you still have a single point of failure.

So consider your organization’s situation; do you have a single point of failure? And if so, what can you do to change that?

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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
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