AMS vendors often point out that, when considering the selection of a new AMS, the association needs to look at the big picture and consider things from a strategic level. This is true. But very often, it’s the little things, the nickels and dimes, that most directly affect user adoption. And it’s the nickels and dimes that most often irritate my clients.

For example, how easy or difficult is it to add fields and change screen layout? Even though this is relatively simple and doesn’t come up very often, this an example of a “nickel and dime” that makes users crazy when they are UNABLE do it.
Another common example is querying and report writing. The most common complaint I get from ALL of my clients is something along the lines of “I can’t get the data I want out of my database, even though it’s IN the database!” Very often the tools provided by the AMS providers will allow certain data to be pulled, but not all data. When the client wants that, they have to go back to the vendor for help. More nickels and dimes.
So while understanding the strategic goals of the association is important when selecting an AMS, it’s just as important to provide a tool that will allow staff to do their jobs with as little frustration as possible.