The end of 2009 marked the end of my first decade as a consultant. In that time I’ve consulted with over 100 associations, ranging in size from 1 staff to over 700 staff.

Ten years is a long time, especially in the technology realm. As I look back over those ten years, I see there have been many significant changes in technology, but two really stand out for me:

  1. Web-based databases. Of course, the ubiquity of the internet is no longer a big story. But consider that when I began consulting only 10 years ago, there was only one (or maybe two) companies in the AMS market that was offering a 100% web-based solution. Now, if you look at the list of AMS companies I track, more than half offer solutions that are 100% web-based. That’s a pretty amazing transformation.
  2. Outsourcing infrastructure management. Again, looking back 10 years, almost all of my clients, regardless of size, had all of their technology infrastructure (e.g., servers, telephones) housed internally, and often had a full-time employee supporting that infrastructure. (I even had one client hosting their own website, much to their chagrin when their internet connection to the building was cut by construction and their site was down for almost a week!) Now regardless of size, many of my clients have outsourced most or all of their infrastructure and focus on what they should focus on: serving their members and customers.

Of course, there have been many other changes as well (e.g., social media, the rise and fall of verticalnet, etc.), but these two stand out for me as the most significant.

How about you? What changes have you seen over the past decade in technology that have had a huge impact on association management?