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“It’s like a loaded gun; very powerful and very dangerous.”
24 June 2014, by , in Data Management, No comments

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!

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Testimonials

“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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