Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

Don’t be a hoarder!

April 3, 2024

Don’t be a hoarder! The simple truth is that it’s almost “free” to collect data. Or at least that’s how it seems. Set up a field in the database, send out an email and ask for the data, and voila, you’re collecting new data. The problem is that, in many (most?) cases, the data that we […]

With data analytics (as with most things), keep it simple!

March 27, 2024

With data analytics (as with most things), keep it simple! Over the past several years I’ve spoken with many clients and other associations about their experience with data analytics. I have been surprised to learn that many associations have implemented fairly expensive analytics tools but have not had great success with them. So I was pleasantly surprised to […]

Don’t forget about periodic maintenance

March 20, 2024

Don’t forget about periodic maintenance Just as most automobiles need periodic maintenance, keeping your data as up to date as possible requires maintenance, as well. And while most cars have a “typical” maintenance schedule, they are not all exactly the same (all-electric cars, for example, don’t need oil changes!). The same is true for the data […]

Users Groups are ALWAYS Valuable

March 13, 2024

Users Groups are ALWAYS Valuable I am a huge fan of users groups. (Here’s a bunch of stuff I’ve written in the past.) A client of mine recently attended their users group meeting, and I was reminded once again of one of the key values of the users group: peer assistance and validation. As I like […]

But will you DO anything with that data?

February 28, 2024

But will you DO anything with that data? I frequently exhort my clients to always answer the question “What will you do with that information?” when they talk about collecting new data or creating new reports, queries, and dashboards. Because it’s “easy” to do these things, we often want to collect or report on data without […]

It’s not what happens, but how you react…

February 21, 2024

It’s not what happens, but how you react… “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus I confess, I did not know this quote came from Epictetus, but it’s one I’ve known for a very long time. It’s applicable to all of life, but so very useful […]

Saying it and doing it are two different things

February 14, 2024

Saying it and doing it are two different things When I work with my clients on a new AMS selection and implementation, one thing I focus on heavily is business rules and business process. This is an area most associations have total control over and is also an area that can bring dramatic improvements to data […]

Benefits downstream are difficult to implement

February 7, 2024

Benefits downstream are difficult to implement In my 25 years of consulting, one of the biggest challenges I’ve seen organizations face is implementing a process change that is initially “difficult” but has significant downstream benefits (i.e., hard now, but beneficial later) . For example, a client of mine explained that it would be very helpful to her […]

Your first answer may NOT be the right answer!

January 31, 2024

Your first answer may NOT be the right answer! I’m a big believer in “go with your gut,” especially if it’s something that you have a lot of experience with. I’m in my 25th year of consulting with associations on all things data management, and my first response to most issues is usually correct. But not always! […]

You don’t have to automate EVERYTHING to be successful

January 25, 2024

You don’t have to automate EVERYTHING to be successful I was discussing a data management process with a client recently. We were trying to determine the best path for automating a particular process, and at one point the client said “I feel like it’s a failure if we can’t automate this process.” And then it […]

Technology won’t solve your process problems

January 17, 2024

Technology won’t solve your process problems Over the past few years I’ve watched as many more associations have taken to adopting project management (PM) software. On its face, this is a good thing. But my experience with my clients is that many of them are struggling to have much success with their PM software and […]

“Screen noise” is a real thing. You might be able to fix it.

January 10, 2024

“Screen noise” is a real thing. You might be able to fix it. One of the most common complaints I hear from my clients about their AMS is something along the lines of “There are all these fields on the screen we never use. They just get in the way and are annoying.” This is […]

Success Starts at the Top

December 20, 2023

Success Starts at the Top I recently had a conversation with an association staffer who was asking for ideas on how she could increase staff adoption of a certain enterprise-wide technology. As she put it, “Only half the staff uses it. The rest seem to have no interest, no matter what I do.” In the course […]

Who are you bringing along?

December 13, 2023

Who are you bringing along? Last week I had the opportunity to attend the AWTC Advance, an in-person event sponsored by AWTC, the Association Women Technology Champions. As their website states, AWTC “is a networking and educational group, providing knowledge and support to advance women in association technology.” (Click here to learn more.) I was really impressed […]

Write it down!

December 6, 2023

Write it down! If you’re in the market for a new AMS (or any new technology that has a breadth of functionality, e.g., LMS, marketing platform), before you start shopping and looking at products, you need to write down what you want out of the system. I’m surprised at the number of organizations I’ve spoken with over the […]

Why “weeding the garden” is so important

November 30, 2023

Why “weeding the garden” is so important One of the most important activities for maintaining quality data in your database is what I call “weeding the garden.” Simply put, weeding the garden means proactively managing your data, consistently, over time, rather than trying to clean up the data in one big effort once every couple of […]

It’s time to stop excusing association professionals

November 15, 2023

It’s time to stop excusing association professionals I worked in associations for nearly 10 years, and have worked with associations for over 25 years now. And over that time, I’ve heard some variation of the following thought (I’ve even expressed it myself): “You can’t expect the membership director to learn how to use the AMS; she’s not […]

More demos is not better

November 8, 2023

More demos is not better When I work with clients on selecting a new system, I try very hard to limit to three the number of systems that make it to the demo stage. (We’ll typically consider five or six systems prior to demos, but here I’m talking about demos specifically.) My clients will sometimes […]

The database owner should be “passionate”

November 1, 2023

The database owner should be “passionate” I’m frequently asked by my clients: “Who should we put in charge of the database?” And my first answer is “The person who is most passionate about the accuracy of the data.” I’ve written before about how there is no stasis in data management and that associations must be proactive when it […]

Discipline is required

October 25, 2023

Discipline is required Last week I discussed the importance of taking action. To manage data effectively, it takes more than just wanting to do something; you have to take action on your ideas. A corollary to that is that good data management also requires discipline. Put another way, once the idea is put into action, […]

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