When we analyzed our Nucleus data across all our clients, we discovered that, on average, the Association Management System (AMS) or Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) comprises less than 20% of our client’s data – and that only includes the systems our clients have asked us to manage. What’s more is that this percentage is falling as data in solutions such as email marketing, web analytics, and social communities grow at a rapid pace.
The shrinking footprint of the AMS is not surprising. Marketing Technology Insights reports that “the average small business uses 14.3 systems— and that number keeps getting higher as the businesses get bigger.” I admit that that number might be a bit high for an average association, but I could easily identify more than a 1/2 dozen solutions in my prior association, 340B Health, and it’s AMS only constitutes a measly 3% of its overall data managed in Nucleus.
Member usage continues to grow and proliferate as well. The IDC predicts that “the average person will have nearly 5,000 digital interactions per day by 2025, up from the 700 to 800 or so that people average today.”
Why do these two trends matter? Because if your organization is only evaluating activity being recorded in your AMS, you are missing a lot of potential trends and insights - and your vision is becoming narrower as other solutions generate volumes of data and your members become more active online.
The old answer was to integrate your AMS to other solutions and capture all the data in your AMS. This approach was viable when you had a financial system, a website, and an email system to integrate, but it is a failed strategy for modern associations with a proliferation of industry solutions. As Redpoint Global reports, “treating a CRM as a source and holding all the other non-CRM sources falls woefully short in unlocking cross-channel insights possible by leveraging customer data in an always-on, omni-channel environment. The key difference is that ingesting data is not the same thing as making it actionable everywhere.”
The modern approach to solving this challenge is to treat your AMS/CRM as just another data contributor and to import and blend all your data sources into a data analytics solution like Nucleus. This provides the following immediate and long-term benefits:
- It allows you to analyze data across all your platforms even when it is not structured the same;
- It allows you to share insights with everyone without worrying about licensing restrictions in your AMS;
- It allows you to create snap shots of data for historical reporting;
- It allows you to take the resource intensive reporting component off your AMS;
- It reduces vendor-lock as you can more easily unplug and replace solutions, including the AMS, within your technology ecosystem; and,
- It allows you to leverage your data as a strategic asset and monetize it to increase non-dues revenue.
And maybe most importantly, it finally enables secure data access to your entire constituency (staff, members and industry partners), regardless of their knowledge or skills with the underlying systems, or the system’s license restrictions.
The association technology market continues to evolve rapidly but association executives have an opportunity to be more in control of their data than they have since the early days of the 90’s when the AMS was the only solution that mattered.