"It's like a loaded gun; very powerful and very dangerous."

That’s what one of the AMS vendors said to me when describing the flexibility of their system. Sure, it’s hyperbole, but there’s a lot of truth in the statement.

Today’s AMS products (here’s a list of over 50) are incredibly flexible and configurable. That’s what makes them so powerful. But that great flexibility also means that these systems can be very complicated to set up. And just to mix metaphors, if there are too many cooks in the kitchen (i.e., too many people on staff who can make significant changes to the database setup), the opportunity for mayhem (or danger) is high.

What this means for associations is that you need to work closely with your AMS vendor to ensure you set up your AMS correctly when you start, and that you aren’t doing anything to break it as time goes on. Your best bet is to always confer with your vendor when you plan to make any significant changes (e.g., adding new functionality through workflows).

Working closely with your vendor can be the difference between having a powerful database and a dangerous one!

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.

Scroll to Top