I recently had a client ask me to help them find a new association management software system. They were very interested in premise-based solutions (i.e., a database they could install and run on their own servers). As I reviewed their functional needs and budget, and started comparing that to the list of off-the-shelf AMS vendors in the market today, it struck me that there are very few AMS vendors left that offer a premise-based solution. Almost all of the AMS vendors (with some exceptions) are now offering only web-based “cloud” options (meaning rather than buying the software, you rent it).

Only a few short years ago, most of off-the-shelf solutions were premise-based only. Then as the internet became more ubiquitous, and more importantly, internet speeds increased dramatically, the move to cloud-based solutions overtook the premise-based offerings. Now as I review the list of 40+ AMS vendors, I note that more than half are web-based and “rental” only.

On the whole, I think this is a good thing for the association market. The vast majority of associations should not be managing their database in-house. That’s not a skill set that’s necessary for most associations to have on-staff full-time. So if you’re going to be in the market for a new AMS soon, you can expect to rent rather than buy.