I’m often asked what the major success factors are for an AMS (or any system) implementation. There are many, of course, but based on my 18 years of consulting, the primary success factor is how much effort the association puts into the project.
I’ve worked on over 200 AMS implementations, and I can say unequivocally the most successful have been those where the association has been fully engaged, from start to finish, and has committed the time and resources necessary to get the job done.
For example, I’m working with an association currently who has one of the most complex set of of membership rules I’ve ever encountered. On paper this is the kind of implementation that should be fraught with potholes, danger signs, and delays. And yet the project has gone incredibly smoothly. Yes, they’re working with a good vendor and a good product, but the primary reason the project has gone so well is because the staff has been so committed to doing the work.
When the vendor provides prototypes to test, the association staff tests it, quickly and thoroughly. When decisions have to be made, the association reviews their options and makes a decision, quickly. When the vendor presents alternatives that don’t match the exact needs of the association, rather than complaining and fighting, the association finds ways to work with the vendor (thus keeping costs down and keeping the project on track).
No project will be perfect. But this is how success is achieved. By doing the work.
“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.”
“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.”
Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
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