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9 November 2010, by , in Data Management, No comments

I was speaking with Mike Murphy at the American Sociological Association about our upcoming session at the 2010 ASAE Technology Conference. (You’re attending, right? Our session is on the AMS selection process.) During our discussion of his experience with selecting and implementing an AMS, Mike raised a great point: It’s critical to have some type of “translation tool” (Mike called it a Rosetta Stone) available to both staff and the new vendor, to help them communicate more clearly and effectively. What we’re looking for is a way for staff to be able to understand that Item A in the legacy system is the same as Item B in the new system.

For example, if your legacy system uses the term “buyer codes” as a way of identifying product pricing, and the new system calls these “product prices,” then your Rosetta Stone shows “buyers codes” = “product prices.” You should do this for any and all nomenclature that is not 100% equivalent between the two systems. This way, when staff discusses how they do something in the current system, it’s easy to communicate to the vendor exactly what staff is saying, and staff can start to see how what they do in the old system may look in the new system.

The Project Management Institute says that communication skills are the most important skills for a project manager to have. Developing a Rosetta Stone can go a long way toward making those communications work.

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“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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