I had the opportunity to attend the Abila Users and Developers Conference (AUDC) last week in Austin. During the roadmap session on future enhancements to their netFORUM product, Abila outlined that they would be enhancing the user interface for staff, as well as focusing on a better user experience for customers. This is all good news.

But the discussion of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) got me to thinking: this focus on UI and UX by many of the AMS vendors reflects the fact that the AMS market is now quite mature in terms of its functionality. That is, the core things that any AMS must be able to do (e.g., membership management, events registration, committee management, product sales, etc.) is now present in most of the AMS offerings on the market today, regardless of price point. Sure, they each do these things a little differently, but the reality is that functionality is now becoming far less of a differentiator. That is to say, it’s becoming commoditized, which is a sign of a mature market.

This is a good thing, for a couple of reasons.

  1. Commoditization brings prices down.
  2. A focus on UI and UX improves the experience of both staff and customer, which increases user adoption, which increases the value of the AMS and its data.

I welcome this focus on UI and UX and expect to see it continue.