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Very often, it’s the nickels and dimes that matter
26 June 2014, by , in Executive, 2 comments

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.
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  • Hey Wes – totally agree with you and users about making their job easier to do rather than finding a fancy way to solve a technology problem but making the actual workflow more difficult in the end.

    I’m interested in your thoughts on reporting – one of the hardest things to do is to anticipate how users may want to visualize data in things like reports – so it’s difficult to create a one-size-fits-all set of reports. In your experience, is the preference to “just give me everything” and I’ll use some tool (Excel, Crystal, PowerPivot, etc) to come up with the report that I want? It’s definitely an easier approach if you have the technical experience…

    Jef

  • Hi Jeff,

    Re: reporting, you’re right, it’s nigh impossible to create all reports for all clients. What’s most important is that the product has a tool that allows the end-user (at the desktop) create, at the least, queries that can be exported into Excel. Short of that, yes, giving them everything is better than restricting access.

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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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