For a change of pace, Ive asked the AMS vendors to respond to a set of three questions, answers to which Ive summarized below. The conclusions Ive drawn from the answers to these three questions are:
When taken in totality, what the vendors are saying is that their customers need to get better at knowing how to use their software. This means that associations need to spend more time (and yes, probably more money) on training staff. And this isnt just training for staff new to the database, but providing updated training to staff who are veterans in the system. Because most vendors provide relatively frequent updates to their products, all staff need to be aware of what those changes are, how they might be used within their association, and what changes in process may occur as a result of these updates.
Beyond training, associations also need to periodically review their business processes to ensure that theyre doing the things they need to be doing, are NOT doing things they should no longer be doing, and are leveraging the software as effectively as possible.
Heres a sampling of the answers provided to each question, with some brief analysis from me.
Question 1: What is the single greatest challenge that your customers face right now, when dealing with their database?
While there were a broad range of answers, one answer that consistently rose to the top is that too many database users dont know how to use their database technology effectively. This could be due to poor training or an incomplete knowledge of what the software can actually do. Here are some representative responses:
In addition, several vendors pointed out that their clients are not leveraging the data that is being collected by the organization. Comments included:
Question 2: What’s the single greatest challenge your clients face when working on deployment of a new data management system?
The preponderance of responses her focused on processes, specifically the need for users to adopt new business processes to take advantage of the new software. Responses to this question included:
Question 3: What’s the biggest issue your clients face when it comes to support and maintenance of their database?
Far and away the most common answer to this question revolved around training. Clearly database users need to be more focused on system training, especially as this relates to staff turnover. Some of the comments included:
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