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Don’t get hung up on exceptions
16 July 2014, by , in Data Management, IT, No comments

I was once working with a client during implementation of a new association management system. At one point we got into a lengthy discussion of how to use the database to automate, as much as possible, the collection of application information from a certain type of member.

After discussing how we could use the software to do what the client needed to do, and getting a sense of how much work (meaning $) this would require to make it work correctly, it dawned on me to ask the most important question: “How many transactions are we talking about?” The answer: roughly 75.

A quick look at the math suggested a solution to this problem was going to wind up costing about $250 per application.

So before you go too far down the road discussing how your database can help address a problem, make sure the problem is big enough to merit the discussion at all. Start by asking, “How many people/customers/transactions/staff does this affect?” If the number is small, it will likely be just as easy to process data manually as it will be to program the database to do it automatically.

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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.”

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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