It's easy to collect; it's harder to manage
The beauty of today's highly configurable AMS products is that they make it very easy to collect and store data. But configuring the system is actually the easy part. The "hard" part is ensuring there is a process in place to collect and manage the data and that this process is executed consistently over time.
My experience with my clients is that very often good ideas are initiated but long-term follow-through is missing. For example, I once worked with a client who had about a dozen different demographic fields in their system with data that wasn't really being populated or used. When I asked why, the answer (three separate times) was a variation of "We had a marketing director who wanted to collect that data, and when she left, we stopped collecting it." (This was three different marketing directors!)
It's very easy to set up the system to gather data, and often it's even relatively easy to initially populate that data (e.g., use a survey to collect a member's area of expertise). But that data needs to be managed over time or it quickly loses its value. That's where the challenge lies.
So if you're tempted to start collecting some new data points, make sure you have a plan for not only collecting and storing that data, but managing that data for years to come.
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