New Technology Requires Additional Attention

One of the more common mistakes I see is organizations assuming that they can add new technology without considering what changes in workload the new technology will require.

For example, one of my clients was considering developing a lockbox process for their AMS. Through this process, their bank would accept all of their incoming payments and develop an electronic file that could be uploaded into the AMS, thus minimizing the need for manual data entry on the part of staff. This is a great idea, and many associations have executed it successfully. But what my client hadn’t considered was how the lockbox process would change how they do things.

From my client’s point of view, this new process would save staff time. But what they hadn’t discussed was who would manage the new process, what skills that would require, and what additional work that would add to some staff person’s plate.

As I note here, data management is a process, not an event. And even when we add new technology to make our lives easier, we have to consider the “unintended consequences” that any new technology brings. There will be changes in process. There may be changes in workload. And new technology may require new skill sets that we don’t have on staff. All of this needs to be considered and discussed when new technologies are introduced.

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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