Last month in Dallas I had the opportunity to speak at the AMC Institute on Technology Issues Facing Association Management Companies. As part of the presentation, I offered my philosophy on technology, which I’ll share with you over the course of these next seven blog posts
#1: Technology should make us more effective not just more efficient
One thing that technology can be very useful for is making us more efficient. In this instance, efficiency means using technology will allow us to complete a task in a shorter amount of time than without technology. For example, using the telephone to call my neighbor is more efficient than walking over and talking to him.
But efficiency and effectiveness are not the same thing. And we have to be careful about ensuring the technology we’re applying is actually making us more effective, not just more efficient. As one of my esteemed colleagues is fond of saying, if we have a process that produces crap, and we apply technology to it to make it more efficient, all we are doing is creating crap more quickly.
So before you spend a lot of time implementing new technology to make you more efficient, make sure the technology is also going to make you more effective. And often effectiveness is not about the technology, but rather about our business processes. Does what we’re doing make sense? Does it help the customer? Does it advance our organization’s mission? And if the answer is yes, then will the application of technology make us more effective doing those things?
These are the questions we have to ask when it comes to new technology.
“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.”
“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.”
Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
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