That’s what one of the AMS vendors said to me when describing the flexibility of their system. Sure, it’s hyperbole, but there’s a lot of truth in the statement.

Today’s AMS products (here’s a list of over 50) are incredibly flexible and configurable. That’s what makes them so powerful. But that great flexibility also means that these systems can be very complicated to set up. And just to mix metaphors, if there are too many cooks in the kitchen (i.e., too many people on staff who can make significant changes to the database setup), the opportunity for mayhem (or danger) is high.

What this means for associations is that you need to work closely with your AMS vendor to ensure you set up your AMS correctly when you start, and that you aren’t doing anything to break it as time goes on. Your best bet is to always confer with your vendor when you plan to make any significant changes (e.g., adding new functionality through workflows).

Working closely with your vendor can be the difference between having a powerful database and a dangerous one!