Over the course of the next couple of posts, I’m going to write about several things I heard at ASAE’s Tech Conference last month. These will be in no particular order, but all of them arose from discussions I had with attendees at the conference.

First item on the list is how and why to choose a consultant. During a session on general AMS issues, an attendee asked what’s the best way to choose and consultant, and why would I want to? I’ve written about how to choose a consultant here, so I won’t cover that ground again.

But one of the leaders of the session, Mike Guerrieri, of ASHA, made a very important point about why you would want to hire a consultant to help with selection and implementation of a new AMS. Of course, there are all the usual reasons (e.g., expertise your staff doesn’t have), but Mike pointed out that a good third party consultant is focused on the success of the project, not the politics of your organization. That means that a consultant can be blunt and honest about what is working and what is not. There is no tip-toeing around sacred cows, because the consultant doesn’t (shouldn’t!) have any turf to protect.

This is a very important point, and one often overlooked when associations are trying to determine whether or not to use a consultant. A “neutral” third party may be able to address issues that internal staff cannot (or won’t).