60 staff but only six users; and that's OK

I was working with an association recently, helping them select a new association management system. The association has 60 FTEs, working on a wide variety of issues including regulatory and government affairs.

As we worked through the process of identifying their functional needs, it became apparent that although they have a relatively large staff, the number of staff that would actually use the AMS on a regular basis was only six. Six out of 60. How is this possible?

In my experience, this is not that unusual. In this association’s case, many of the staff are doing research on behalf of the association or its members. Others are subject matter experts creating content for the industry, and still others are performing government relations activities at the local, state, and federal level. In all of these cases, the staff are either not touching the data at all, or only need to pull lists of individuals on a periodic basis. These staff simply have no need to use the AMS on a regular basis.

And that’s OK.

Very often, my clients will get hung up on the idea that “everyone should use the system.” That is a sentiment I generally agree with, but I would modify that statement by saying “Everyone who can get value from the system should use it.”

So don’t get too concerned if not everyone is using the system. They may not need to.

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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