Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

Budget for feature discovery and adoption

November 18, 2020

Budget for feature discovery and adoption When developing a budget for implementation of a new AMS, one recommendation I always make to my clients is to budget for things staff will discover they want to do once they’ve learned how to use the new system. In a nutshell, once staff has started using the new …

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Customize staff pages for better user adoption

November 11, 2020

Customize staff pages for better user adoption The single most important element to data management success, bar none, is user adoption of your technology. The very best technology, unused, is, well, useless! There are many aspects to user adoption, but one of the most important is the actual screens or pages that staff users see …

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Don’t ask questions for which you already know the answer

November 4, 2020

Don’t ask questions for which you already know the answer I was recently completing an online form to submit a proposal for speaking at a conference. I had to log in to the system for it to recognize me (which it did). One of the first questions it asked me was “Have you ever spoken …

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All decisions involve risk

October 28, 2020

All decisions involve risk Whether it’s choosing a new AMS or introducing a new product or service, every decision you make involves risk. There are two factors to risk: likelihood (probability of something bad happening) and seriousness. To illustrate: the likelihood of a plane crash is exceedingly small, but clearly, its seriousness is very high. On …

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Try flowcharting your processes

October 21, 2020

Try flowcharting your processes Working with a client recently on their membership join process reminded me of the tremendous value of putting your processes into a flowchart. In their case, a single membership join (organization) requires asking three questions before the correct “join path” is determined. Drawing a flowchart of this decision process will help provide them …

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“I just want a system I don’t have to fight with.”

October 14, 2020

“I just want a system I don’t have to fight with.” I asked my client: “What are you looking for in a new AMS?” She responded: “I just want a system I don’t have to fight with.” And it struck me that this is how A LOT of my clients feel about their data management systems; that …

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Inertia Contributes to Bad Data

October 7, 2020

Inertia Contributes to Bad Data Without knowing anything about your organization or its data, I’d be willing to bet you have data in your system that you are no longer actively managing/using (e.g., data that was collected long ago for some initiative at the time) or, worse yet, actively collecting data that you aren’t actually …

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What are you doing with new contacts?

September 30, 2020

What Are You Doing with New Contacts/ I was very interested to read in a recent report from McKinley Advisors that, with the shift to virtual events, many associations are reporting “up to 70% new participants in their ecosystem.” What that means is these associations are introducing new names to their databases. (Click here to …

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Be Aware of Selection Bias

September 23, 2020

Be Aware of Selection Bias I wrote recently about the mistaken perception of older members not being tech savvy. (You can read that here.) One of my astute readers, Will Slade at Protech, pointed out the following (I’m paraphrasing): “It’s possible that the reason many associations perceive older members to be not tech savvy is …

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Some Things Just Take Time

September 16, 2020

Some Things Just Take Time I learned recently that an elephant’s gestation period is 18 months. It takes 18 months for an elephant to have a baby elephant. It’s also a fact that three elephants can’t make a baby elephant in six months. There is no shortcut; it takes one elephant 18 months. The same is …

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Sometimes It’s the Least Bad Choice

September 7, 2020

Sometimes It’s the Least Bad Choice Just like in life, sometimes when we’re making technology or management decisions, we’re faced with few good choices. And very often I’ll tell my clients, what we’re looking to do is make the “least bad” choice. For example, during a new system implementation, the vendor will ask for “blackout” …

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Our Members Aren’t Tech Savvy

September 2, 2020

Our Members Aren’t Tech Savvy Having worked now in the association space for more than 30 years, I’ve heard my share of association executives utter the phrase “Our members aren’t very tech savvy.” This phrase is often followed with (or preceded by) “Our members are older.” (And this is typically related to the members not …

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Motion vs. Action

August 26, 2020

Motion vs. Action One key to successful data management is understanding the difference between motion and action. Simply put, motion = planning but action = doing. Too often we spend a lot of time planning out all the different ways we’ll improve our data management. We make plans to clean the data, to establish clear business rules, …

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There is ALWAYS a Trade-off

August 19, 2020

There is ALWAYS a Trade-off I’ve written many times about trade-offs (you can read a bunch here). In short, every decision you make, whether you realize it or not, involves a trade-off. And recent news reminded me once again, that not only are there always trade-offs, but often they are unseen. This article explains how …

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Little by little, a little becomes a lot

August 12, 2020

Little by little, a little becomes a lot “Little by little, a little becomes a lot.” I don’t know where I first read it (a google search says it’s a Tanzanian proverb; I’m dubious), but I love the phrase, especially as it relates to data management. One of the many challenges of data management is …

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Why do we treat data management differently?

August 5, 2020

Why do we treat data management differently? A recent post on ASAE’s community read: “Looking for recommendations for assistance with understanding how we can use our AMS more efficiently and effectively. Small international association, no in-house IT, and our staff AMS admin has left. Any suggestions?” On the surface there is nothing wrong with this request. …

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Don’t Forget Your Speakers!

July 29, 2020

Don’t Forget Your Speakers! A phenomenon I’ve noticed over the years is that my clients will manage speaker data outside of the primary AMS. Often this data is managed in spreadsheets or in a third-party event registration system. And too often, this data never makes its way back into the primary AMS. The key data point, that a …

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90% of your data is never touched a second time

July 22, 2020

90% of your data is never touched a second time I heard recently on a podcast that 95% of all the art New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art collects is never actually displayed in the museum. It’s stored in a warehouse in New Jersey! Which got me to thinking; how much of the data that we …

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Newton’s First Law

July 15, 2020

Newton’s First Law Part of Newton’s First Law states that “…an object in motion stays in motion…” What does this have to do with data management? Quite a bit, actually. One of the many challenges of data management is the constant grind of keeping data clean. (I refer to this as “weeding the garden.”) With most …

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No System is Perfect

July 7, 2020

No System is Perfect While it may sound trite, it bears repeating that no data management system is perfect. I have yet to meet an association executive who thinks their system works perfectly. And yet, very often we’ll spend hours trying to find “perfect” software or trying to design the “perfect” data management process. The reality is, if …

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