Association management software (AMS) has existed for over 20 years, so I think we can fairly say the market has matured. That’s good news for AMS consumers, because these days you can get more functionality for a lower price than ever before.

And what this means for associations selecting new AMS software is that an apples-to-apples comparison of product functionality alone is no longer sufficient. You have to go beyond product functionality and look at the company behind the product, and the service they can provide.

I’m finding this is becoming increasingly important to my clients. Many associations I wind up working with have an off-the-shelf product in place, but are struggling with using the product effectively. And in almost every case, it’s not a matter of the technology (the product), but rather the company behind the product (service).

I recently worked with an association that had invested in excess of $500,000 over the past five years in an AMS product that is technically a very sound product. But the association ultimately dumped that product for a new product (and company), to a great extent due to the poor service they received from their vendor. The reality is that product functionality alone will not guarantee success; only a strong relationship with a vendor that provide exceptional service will do that.

So when you’re considering new software (be it AMS software or something else), be sure to look beyond the bells and whistles of the functionality, and consider the company behind it. Service will often be far more important than product.