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Focus on User Experience Demonstrates Maturity of Industry

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.

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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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