When should you reevaluate your AMS and other enterprise-wide systems?

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Recently in ASAE’s Collaborate community, an association executive asked about best practices or recommended timelines for reevaluating association management systems (AMS). In case you missed that discussion, here’s the advice I shared. 

Although I don’t have any hard data on the average timeframe for associations reevaluating their AMS, 5 years seems to be the magic number based on anecdotal evidence.

However, there are other times when it’s important to evaluate the current state of the market in light of your organization’s IT governance and management plan and your existing enterprise-wide systems – your AMS, customer relationship management system (CRM), content management system (CMS), and other mission-critical systems. Here are a few.

Change in business objectives.

If your organization embarks on a new business adventure, is your technology capable of supporting your new business objectives? For example, what if your organization creates a for-profit subsidiary or shifts its focus from events to education – is your existing technology up to the job?

Change in technology.

You’ll want to evaluate your existing technology in the context of today’s technology market. Are there new options available that will substantially increase your organization’s capability to fulfill your mission, vision, and business objectives? Is your existing technology holding you back from reaching your potential?

Change in your data management and related needs.

It’s time to look at new technology if your organization’s business intelligence and data analysis needs can’t be met effectively by your current platform. 

Substantial change in business processes.

Are you working inefficiently – for example, using workarounds and adopting redundant practices – because you’re trying to make an old system fit new business processes? 

Acquisition or merger.

Can your existing technology handle new demands resulting from an acquisition or merger?

Unavoidable system upgrade.

If your current platform is no longer supported by the vendor, that’s a good reason to look at alternatives. 

In addition to regularly scheduled reviews – for example, every 5 years – these event- and industry-based catalysts should prompt a comprehensive evaluation of your IT governance and management model. Don’t let your technology hold your organization back from fulfilling its mission.

Flickr photo by Bill Brooks